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Houston Astros Minor League Recap: 8/1/13

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Thirty-one runs score in Lancaster, including twenty-six for the Jethawks, who set season highs for walks and HBPs drawn. Meanwhile, Philip Humber continues to look solid out of the pen, and Nick Tropeano records a strikeout while throwing just a single pitch.

Jim Rogash

Will It Go 'Round In Circles

Post-deadline, a few minor leaguers are on the move, including:

  • Bobby Doran has been assigned to Oklahoma City
  • Rene Garcia has been assigned to Oklahoma City
  • Ryan McCurdy has been assigned to Corpus Christi
  • David Rollins has been assigned to Corpus Christi
  • Kyle Smith has been assigned to Lancaster
  • Luis Alvarez has been assigned to Lancaster
  • Jamaine Cotton has been activated from the 7-day Disabled List
Call 'em Hall of Famers

Jose Altuve, Carlos Gonzalez, and current coaches Rodney Linares, Donnie Alexander, and Darryl Robinson will be inducted into the Jethawks Hall of Fame prior to today's game.

We're Number One... In Something

Danny Wild has a piece on declaring the Astros the trade deadline champions - in terms of adding talent to the minors, at least. Wild seems particularly bullish on L.J. Hoes, and spends much of the article on him.

Mascot Mania

The finalists have been named for's Mascot Mania, and no Astros affiliates' mascots made the list. I blame Bud Selig.


Tonight, the Hooks began their longest homestand of the season, playing ten games in eleven days against Midland, Northwest Arkansas, and Arkansas. But don't take my word for it. Here's Amanda Pruett:

Grounds For Approval

Groundskeeper. Now there's a job that no one talks about unless it's something bad. If a ball takes an odd hop or the dirt around home plate is loose, people go looking for the groundskeeper to blame. But hardly anyone ever takes time out to talk about them when there isn't a problem - which makes this Quad Cities Online piece about Scott Blanchette, the groundskeeper for Modern Woodmen Park, so nice. With shiny toys like Mark Appel, Carlos Correa, Lance McCullers, Danry Vasquez, and Rio Ruiz depending on Blanchette's skills, it's good to take a minute to learn about the man and his obsession for perfection.

Speaking of Vasquez...

Steve Batterson of the QC Times has been killing it on Astros coverage this season, and this article on River Bandits who've been traded is another excellent piece. Colton Cain, Jobduan Morales, Vasquez, Bobby Borchering, Chris Devenski. It's an awesome read all around.

Cain was assigned by Houston to its Lancaster club in the California League, where he suddenly found himself as teammates with a few players who had been involved on the other side of a bench-clearing brawl the previous year in the South Atlantic League.

“I was playing then for West Virginia, they were at Lexington, so we had a lot to talk about when I got there,’’ Cain said. “It gave us something in common, and I think it probably helped me adjust to being around an entirely new team.’’

What Happened Was...

Oklahoma City RedHawks (AAA) - Phil Humber has looked pretty good out of the bullpen over his last five appearances, and while pitcher wins aren't much of a stat, he collected his second in eight days. The last time he collected two wins in as many weeks was July of 2012. After Paul Clemens left the game in the fourth inning with a 3-0 lead, Humber pitched two innings of scoreless ball before Eric Berger allowed a two-spot in the sixth. But the rest of the bullpen held on as the RedHawks beat the Reno Aces (ARI), 3-2. The RedHawks have won seven in a row to tie Albuquerque (LAD) for 1st in the division.

Oklahoma City: 63-50, t-1st - Pacific Coast League American Southern

  • 2B Jose Martinez - 2/4, 2B
  • RF George Springer - 0/3, BB, K, SB
  • 1B Jonathan Singleton - 1/3, R, 2 K
  • RHP Paul Clemens - 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 K
  • RHP Philip Humber - 2.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
  • LHP Eric Berger - 1.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 K
  • RHP Rhiner Cruz - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
  • LHP Kevin Chapman - 0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K
  • RHP Hector Ambriz - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, WP

Corpus Christi Hooks (AA) - Nick Tropeano came out for the sixth inning, having thrown 95 pitches. Vinnie Catricala helped him out, as Tropeano struck him out with just one pitch. Catricala took a strike, argued it, stepped out of the box, and had two strikes called on him for not stepping back in. Catricala was then tossed from the game. The inning prior, a Catricala error had allowed Domingo Santana to reach, and the Hooks to tie the game at 4. Santana came around to score, as well, giving Corpus Christi a 5-4 lead. It was that kind of night for Vinnie Catricala as the Hooks went on to beat the Midland Rockhounds (OAK), 5-4.

Corpus Christi: 24-17, t-1st - Texas League South

  • 2B Ronald Torreyes - 2/3, 2 R, HBP
  • RF Preston Tucker - 1/4, HR, R, 2 RBI
  • C Max Stassi - 2/4, R, K
  • 1B Erik Castro - 1/3, RBI, BB, 2 K
  • RHP Nick Tropeano - 6.0 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 10 K
  • RHP Carlos Quevedo - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
  • RHP Jonas Dufek - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

Lancaster Jethawks (A+) - Where do you even start with a game like this? The Jethawks drew a season-high thirteen walks, and a season-high five HBPs. They scored runs in every inning but the first. The Lake Elsinore Storm (SDP) carted out not one, but two position players to finish the game. Nolan Fontana drew five walks, which is better than a Goldsteinian Fedora. I don't even know WHAT to call it. Tyler Heineman hit two home runs, including a grand slam, and drew the attention of Robert Emrich. It was just one of those nights. Quite an eye-opening experience for the newest Jethawk, Kyle Smith, I'm sure. Lancaster wins, 26-5.

Lancaster: 25-16, 1st - California League South

  • 2B Delino DeShields - 3/5, 3B, R, RBI, BB, K
  • 2B Carlos Perdomo - 0/0, R, BB
  • SS Nolan Fontana - 1/2, 2 R, RBI, 5 BB, 2 SB
  • CF Andrew Aplin - 3/5, 2 R, 4 RBI, BB, SB
  • LF MP Cokinos - 2/6, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, BB
  • 1B Jesse Wierzbicki - 1/5, 2 R, BB, K, HBP
  • C Tyler Heineman - 3/4, 2 HR, 2B, 5 R, 7 RBI, 2 BB, CS, HBP
  • RF Brandon Meredith - 3/4, 4 R, RBI, BB, 2 HBP
  • 3B Joe Sclafani - 3/7, 3B, 4 R, 3 RBI
  • DH Chris Epps - 2/4, 2 2B, 2 R, 4 RBI
  • DH Luis Alvarez - 0/0, R, HBP
  • RHP Brady Rodgers - 7.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, WP
  • RHP Tyson Perez - 2.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 K

Quad Cities River Bandits (A) - While Rio Ruiz's Twitter was hacked by someone really into weight loss, Ruiz himself was having a day, hitting his eighth home run of the season in the first game and a double in the second game of the double header. All told, Quad Cities swept the twin bill - 5-3 and 2-1 - with the Peoria Chiefs (STL), and have won five in a row to move into second place in the Midwest League Western Division.

Quad Cities: 23-15, 2nd (2.5 GB) - Midwest League Western

Game 1

  • CF Teoscar Hernandez - 2/4, 3B, R, 2 RBI, K
  • LF Danry Vasquez - 1/4, R, RBI, SB
  • SS Carlos Correa - 0/3, 3 K
  • 3B Rio Ruiz - 2/3, HR, R, RBI, K
  • 2B Brian Blasik - 1/2, R, BB
  • RHP Lance McCullers - 6.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K
  • RHP Jordan Jankowski - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
Game 2
  • CF Teoscar Hernandez - 1/3, K
  • LF Danry Vasquez - 1/3, RBI
  • SS Carlos Correa - 1/3, 2B, R
  • DH Dan Gulbransen - 1/3, 2B, RBI, K
  • 3B Rio Ruiz - 1/2, 2B, BB, K
  • 2B Catfish Elkins - 1/2, 3B, R, K
  • RHP Vincent Velasquez - 6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 7 K
  • RHP Juan Minaya - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K

Tri-City ValleyCats (A-) - After grabbing a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning, the ValleyCats sent Tanner Bushue to the mound in the bottom of the frame against the State College Spikes (STL). After building an enormous lead in the Stedler Division, Tri-City was looking at the prospect of falling to just a share of first place, with Lowell already winning their game for the day. Bushue looked solid to start the game, facing the minimum through four. Though Jimmy Bosco singled to lead the game off for State College, Bushue eliminated him on a double play. But that's when things got rough for Bushue - a walk, a hit by pitch, and a single in the fifth scored one and put two runners on for Brett Wiley, who tripled them both home. It was more than Tri-City's offense could overcome as they fell, 4-1.

Tri-City ValleyCats: 26-19, t-1st, New York-Penn League Stedler

  • 2B Tony Kemp - 1/4, 3B, R
  • 1B Conrad Gregor - 1/4, 2 K
  • DH Michael Martinez - 1/4, 2B, K
  • RHP Tanner Bushue - 5.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
  • RHP Pat Christensen - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
  • RHP Adrian Houser - 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

Greeneville Astros (Rk) - Postponed: Rain

Greeneville: 26-13, 1st - Appalachian League West

GCL Astros (Rk) - After going two innings in his first outing and three in his second, Austin Nicely took the mound for this one against the GCL Pirates (PIT) and went four solid innings, allowing two hits and a walk while striking out two. He got six groundouts and three flyouts, and thus far in his early career, he's doing well at generating weak contact, with a 1.40 GO/AO and a .103 average against. The two strikeouts were the first two of his career. There's plenty of time before anything is anything with him, of course, but the initial results look good. Unfortunately, Devonte German didn't fare quite as well in his professional debut. The righty lasted just two-thirds of an inning, allowing four runs on two hits and three walks, striking out none. Meanwhile, Reese McGuire is now hitting .379/.438/.483 in the Gulf Coast League, and he threw out all four attempted steals by the Astros. Astros lose, 5-0.

GCL Astros: 17-17, 3rd (4.0 GB) - Gulf Coast League Northeast

  • CF Jason Martin - 1/4, K, CS
  • RF Ydarqui Marte - 1/3, 2B, BB, K
  • DH Jacob Nottingham - 2/4, 2 2B, 2 CS
  • LF Mesac Laguna - 1/4, 3B
  • LHP Austin Nicely - 4.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
  • RHP Devonte German - 0.2 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 0 K, WP

DSL Astros (Rk) - Astros win, 4-2, over the DSL Rays (TBR).

DSL Astros: 27-24, 3rd (6.0 GB) - Dominican Summer League Boca Chica Northwest

  • SS Kristian Trompiz - 2/4, 2 2B, RBI, CS
  • 1B Hector Roa - 1/4, 2B, R, K
  • C Marlon Avea - 1/4, HR, R, 2 RBI
  • 2B Jean Estrella - 2/3, CS
  • LHP Edwin Villarroel - 5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
  • RHP Juan Hernandez - 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
  • LHP Starlyng Sanchez - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K