Sunday, May 27, 2018

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Saturday, May 26, 2018

Well, the NBA got their game sevens. Hope they're happy.

Let's play two in the Quad Cities!

El Paso 4, Fresno 3

W- T.J. Weir (2-0)
L- Mike Hauschild (2-5)
S- Robert Stock (1)

Fresno home runs: A.J. Reed (10, solo in 8th)

The Grizzlies got their bats going in the late stages of this game and very nearly erased a 4-0 deficit. The operative words being "very nearly."

Mike Hauschild threw seven innings and allowed four runs (three earned) on four hits, walked one, and struck out nine. Kent Emanuel allowed two hits over two scoreless innings.

Fresno loaded the bases to start off the 7th, but they could only manage to get one run across... when Nick Tanielu scored while Alejandro Garcia grounded into a double play. In the 8th, A.J. Reed launched a solo homer and Tanielu hit an RBI single.

Tanielu finished 2-3 on the night, while Tim Federowicz hit two doubles in his four trips to the plate.

Tyler White failed to reach base for the first time this season. He had an evening to forget as he went 0-4 with a couple of strikeouts. The second strikeout led off the 8th and he was not satisfied with the ruling, and his dissent resulted in getting him the heave-ho.

Trent Thornton will face Chris Huffman in game three. First pitch is at 1:05 Pacific.

Corpus Christi 7, Tulsa 2

W- Framber Valdez (2-1)
L- Logan Bawcom (0-2)
S- Carlos Sierra (1, 3 season)

CC home runs: Alex De Goti (2, 3-run in 8th)

The Drillers got two in the 1st and nothing more. Meanwhile, Corpus got a run back in their half of the 1st and scored the remainder of the runs in this game.

Ryne Birk put the Hooks on the board with a sac fly in the bottom of the 1st and grounded into a force out that allowed Myles Straw to score in the 3rd inning. Randy César and Taylor Jones hit RBI singles in the 5th and the 7th, respectively, and Alex De Goti iced this game with a three-run blast in the 8th.

Straw went 5-5 with a couple of doubles, scored three runs, and stole a base (31). César finished 3-4 and extended his hitting streak to 19 games.

Framber Valdez shook off a two-run 1st inning (one of the runs was unearned) and went on to throw six innings. He allowed four hits, walked two, and struck out six during his time on the hill. Sean Stutzman allowed a hit and walked three in 1.2 scoreless, and Carlos Sierra allowed a hit, walked one, and struck out two in the final 1.1 innings.

Alex Winkelman faces Mitchell White in the series finale. First pitch is at 6:05.

Lynchburg 3, Buies Creek 1

W- Eli Morgan (1-0)
L- Jorge Alcala (1-4)
S- James Karinchak (3)

BC home runs: Ronnie Dawson (5, solo in 4th)

The Hillcats scored in three innings, the Carolina Stros scored in one. My math is a bit rusty, but I'm highly confident that three is greater than one.

Ronnie Dawson went 2-4 and his solo homer in the 4th was Buies Creek's only scoring play.

Jorge Alcala didn't do terribly as he allowed two runs on a couple of solo homers, one other hit, and struck out two in his five innings, but he didn't get much help from his offense. Abdiel Saldaña allowed a run on six hits and struck out two over the last four innings.

Brandon Bielak takes on Justin Garza in game three of this series. First pitch is at 2:00 Eastern.

Game 1: Quad Cities 12, Peoria 0

W- Yohan Ramirez (4-3)
L- Paul Balestrieri (1-2)

QC home runs: Miguelangel Sierra (2, 2-run in 2nd)

The first game of the doubleheader was pretty fun for the Banditos as everyone in the lineup scored a run. Miguelangel Sierra and Jonathan Arauz both went 3-4 in game one.


Yohan Ramirez allowed two hits, walked one, and struck out four over six shutout frames and Dariel Aquino walked one and struck out the side in the 7th to complete the shutout.

Game 2: Peoria 5, Quad Cities 1 in 8 innings

W- Bryan Dobzanski (3-1)
L- Luis Garcia (1-2)

QC home runs: None.

The Banditos held the Chiefs for 14 innings on Saturday before they finally cracked. All of the scoring was done in one inning, and Peoria scored more in their half of the 8th.

Colton Shaver started the 8th at second and scored Quad Cities' only run of game two on a wild pitch. Jake Meyers went 3-4, which accounted for all of their hits in game two.

Cristian Javier allowed one hit, hit a batter, and struck out nine over six shutout innings. Luis Garcia threw the last two innings. He got through the 7th scot-free, but Peoria got him in the 8th. Garcia allowed five runs (four earned) on four hits, walked one, and struck out one.

Parker Mushinski will go up against Alvaro Seijas in game four of this series. First pitch is at 5:15.

Saturday's Stars

All photos are from Jayne unless stated otherwise.

Photo from Chris Creamer's SportsLogos.Net
Quad Cities River Bandits: W 12-0, L 5-1 vs. Peoria
All players scored a run in game one of doubleheader.
Jonathan Arauz: 3-4, RBI, R in game one
Miguelangel Sierra: 3-4, 2-R HR (2), 4 RBI, 3 R in game one
Bryan de la Cruz: 2-2, 2 2B, 3 RBI, R in game one
Jake Meyers: 3-4, 2B in game two; had all of Quad Cities' hits in game two
Yohan Ramirez: W (4-3), 6 IP, 2 H, BB, 4 K in game one
Dariel Aquino: IP, BB, 3 K in game one
Cristian Javier: 6 IP, H, hit batter, 9 K in game two

Ronnie Dawson, OF, Buies Creek
2-4, solo HR (5)

Myles Straw, OF, Randy César, 3B, and Framber Valdez: LHP, Corpus Christi
Straw: 5-5, 2 2B, 3 R, SB (31)
César: 3-4, RBI; 19-game hitting streak
Valdez: W (2-1), 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 6 K

Saturday, May 26, 2018

2018 Season Ongoing Astros Minor League Transactions

Keeping track of the Astros minor league transactions for the 2018 season (releases, retirements, trades and signings) ...

NOTE: I'm currently showing 254 players in the Astros system. Since the Astros eliminated one of the Dominican Summer League teams and the Greeneville team, there will be approximately 25 more players than there are roster spots once the three short season teams start play in June (even after backing out those currently listed on the DL). And that doesn't count the approximately 35 players that the Astros will likely sign in the 2018 draft. So, there will probably be quite a few more releases to come over the next month to make room for the new draft picks. 
  • 5/21: RHP Hecduar Barcenas (DSL) released (signed out of Venezuela in July 2017 for $10,000)
  • 5/21: OF Leonardo Gonzalez (DSL) released (signed out of Venezuela in July 2016)
  • 5/21: LHP Antonio Pujols (DSL) released (signed out of the Dominican Republic in September 2016)
  • 5/21: 1B Jon Singleton (Corpus Christi restricted list) released (8th round 2009 Phillies draft; came to Houston in the July 2011 Hunter Pence trade)
  • 5/11: OF Wilson Amador (Greeneville in 2017) released (signed out of the Dominican Republic in July 2013 for $400,000)
  • 5/11: RHP Juan Corniel (Greeneville in 2017) released (signed out of the Dominican Republic in October 2015)
  • 5/11: DH Randy Vasquez (Quad Cities) released (signed out of the Dominican Republic in February 2015)
  • 5/11: 1B Angel Tejeda (Gulf Coast League) released (signed out of the Dominican Republic in November 2014)
  • 5/11: RHP Chauncey Nunez (Gulf Coast League) released (NDFA signed June 2017)
  • 5/11: OF Ronny Rafael (Gulf Coast League) released (signed out of the Dominican Republic for $1.5 million in July 2014)
  • 5/11: RHP Matthew Merrill (Gulf Coast League) released (37th round 2017 draft)
  • 5/10: LHP Cole Watts (Quad Cities) released (31st round 2017 draft)
  • 5/10: 2B Marcos Almonte (Quad Cities) released (signed out of the Dominican Republic for $35,000 in February 2014); signed by Braves sometime between May 12 and May 18
  • 5/10: C Gabriel Bracamonte (Quad Cities) released (signed out of Venezuela for $7500 in March 2014)
  • 5/1: IF Arturo Michelena (Corpus Christi) released (signed out of Venezuela for $220,000 in July 2011)
  • 4/23: C/1B Kelvin Perez (Dominican Summer League) released (signed out of Venezuela in June 2016
  • 4/4: RHP Ronaldo Marrero (GCL) released (originally signed by the Phillies in 2013 as an infielder; picked up by the Astros as a MiLB free agent in January 2017 and converted to pitching)
  • 4/?: LHP Noel Pinto (Greeneville in 2017) released (34th round 2017 draft)

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Friday, May 26, 2018

Fresno 5, El Paso 0

W- Cy Sneed (5-2)
L- Walker Lockett (2-5)

Fresno home runs: Garrett Stubbs (1, solo in 1st), A.J. Reed (9, 2-run in 1st)

Cy Sneed and Reymin Guduan joined forces on a two-hit shutout on Friday.

Sneed allowed just two hits and struck out seven in eight innings of work while Guduan got a strikeout in a 1-2-3 9th inning. Sneed completed eight innings in a start for the second time in his career; he also threw eight shutout innings against Kane County on May 22, 2015, when he was a member of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.

A couple of early homers boosted the Grizzlies: Garrett Stubbs led off the 1st by launching a homer and A.J. Reed smacked a two-run shot later in the inning. Stubbs added a sac fly to his ledger in the 2nd, and Drew Ferguson ripped an RBI double in the 6th. Both of Ferguson's hits on Friday were doubles.

Mike Hauschild takes on Miguel Diaz in game two. First pitch is at 7:05 Pacific.

Tulsa 2, Corpus Christi 1 in 10 innings

W- Dylan Baker (3-2)
L- Riley Ferrell (1-2)
S- Brian Moran (2)

CC home runs: None.

The Hooks held the Drillers to four hits and tied the game with a run in the 8th... only to see Tulsa push their leadoff runner in the extra inning across. Corpus has dropped an extra-inning game for the second consecutive night. They had the bases loaded in the 10th but could not capitalize.

Josh Rojas ripped a double to lead off the 8th and Taylor Jones took his place at second after Jones brought him in for what turned out to be Corpus Christi's only run of the evening. Randy César finished 3-5 to extend his hitting streak to 18 games. Aníbal Sierra went 2-4 with a double out of the bottom of the order. Myles Straw singled and stole a base, his 30th of the season.

Cionel Perez went 4.2 innings and allowed a run on three hits, walked two, and struck out a career-high tying ten. It's the second time that Cionel has recorded double-digit strikeouts in an outing; he struck out ten for Quad Cities on May 22 last year.

The Ferrells tagged in to take over the rest of the way. Oklahoma Ferrell (Justin) allowed a hit and struck out five over 4.1 scoreless. Texas Ferrell (Riley) allowed the go-ahead run on a sac fly and struck out one in the 10th.

Framber Valdez gets the start for Corpus on Saturday. He'll face Logan Bawcom at 7:05.

Buies Creek 5, Lynchburg 1

W- Brandon Bailey (1-4)
L- Tanner Tully (2-4)

BC home runs: None.

The Carolina Stros got three runs in the 6th to gain some separation and got a nice outing from Brandon Bailey.

Bailey allowed four hits, walked two, and struck out four over six shutout innings. Kit Scheetz tagged in to throw two scoreless, allowing four hits and striking out two. The Hillcats spoiled the shutout in the 9th when they got a run off Ronel Blanco on an error following a single. Blanco allowed that one single, walked one, and struck out one in the final inning.

J.J. Matijevic, who was one of three Buies Creek players profiled by Jayne during her first visit with the club since they moved to North Carolina, opened the scoring with a sac fly in the 1st inning. This was the only scoring play of the game until the 6th; in the meantime, Lynchburg... remained stuck on zero runs.

Osvaldo Duarte and Ronnie Dawson led off the 6th with singles and Abraham Toro ripped a double to bring Duarte in. Dawson tried to score as well, but he was thrown out at the plate. Chas McCormick moved Toro over to third with a single and he moved into scoring position himself following a wild pitch. Luis Payano followed with a two-run single. Kristian Trompiz doubled to lead off the 7th and scored Buies Creek's final run of the night on a wild pitch. Dawson and Toro both went 2-4 on the night.

Jorge Alcala gets the start for Buies Creek in game two of this four-game weekend set. He'll go against Wes Morgan at 5:00 Eastern.

Quad Cities 3, Peoria 2

W- Peter Solomon (2-1)
L- Evan Guillory (4-3)
S- Tyler Ivey (2)

QC home runs: None.

Neither team scored more than one run in an inning, so Quad Cities won in the simplest method possible: by scoring in more innings than Peoria.

Jonathan Arauz hit a single with one out in the 1st and scored the first run of the night on Miguelangel Sierra's triple. Mike Papierski walked to lead off the 2nd and scored on a single from Roman Garcia. Arauz led off the 6th with a triple and scored on a single from Sierra.

Sierra's two hits drove in Arauz each time. After going hitless for the fourth straight game on May 20 against Beloit, which dropped his triple slash line to .252/.362/.435, Arauz has responded with a five-game hitting streak and has improved that line to .287/.388/.485 after this 3-4 performance.

Peter Solomon allowed a run on four hits, walked two, and struck out five in five innings of work. Tyler Ivey brought the Banditos home; he allowed an unearned run on three hits and struck out four over the last four innings.

The Banditos and Chiefs will play a doubleheader on Saturday, with game one beginning at 5:35. Yohan Ramirez will take on Paul Balestrieri in game one, while Cristian Javier takes the mound in game two against TBA.

Friday's Stars

All photos are from Jayne unless stated otherwise.

Fresno Grizzlies pitchers: W 5-0 vs. El Paso
9 IP, 2 H, 8 K
Cy Sneed: W (5-2), 8 IP, 2 H, 7 K
Reymin Guduan: IP, K

Drew Ferguson, OF, Fresno
2-3, 2 2B, RBI, R


Corpus Christi Hooks pitchers: L 2-1 vs. Tulsa (10 innings)
10 IP, 4 H, 2 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 16 K
Cionel Perez: 4.2 IP, 3 H, ER, 2 BB, 10 K; tied career high in K
Justin Ferrell: 4.1 IP, H, 5 K
Riley Ferrell: L (1-2), IP, unearned run, K

Buies Creek Astros pitchers: W 5-1 vs. Lynchburg
9 IP, 9 H, unearned run, 3 BB, 7 K
Brandon Bailey: W (1-4), 6 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 4 K
Kit Scheetz: 2 IP, 4 H, 2 K
Ronel Blanco: IP, H, unearned run, BB, K

Miguelangel Sierra's photo taken by Bryan Green.
Jonathan Arauz, IF, and Miguelangel Sierra, IF, Quad Cities
Arauz: 3-4, 3B, 2 R
Sierra: 2-4, 3B, 2 RBI

These are their mugshots on MiLB.com.
Quad Cities River Bandits pitchers: W 3-2 vs. Peoria
9 IP, 7 H, 2 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 9 K
Peter Solomon: W (2-1), 5 IP, 4 H, ER, 2 BB, 5 K
Tyler Ivey: Save (2), 4 IP, 3 H, unearned run, 4 K

Friday, May 25, 2018

Getting to Know Astros OF J.J. Matijevic

When I first set eyes on a top draft pick, I try to size up the player through observation before talking to him. However, when I saw OF J.J. Matijevic in Myrtle Beach earlier this month, it was only his third game following his promotion to Buies Creek and it was hard to tell whether or not his somewhat reserved demeanor was due more to his nature or his reluctance to draw too much attention to himself as he acclimated to his new team. In any event, personality-wise, Matijevic reminded me somewhat of when I first met Derek Fisher, appearing to be someone who is more reserved in a group setting and more open and engaging one-on-one, and someone who is very confident of his abilities.

J.J. Matijevic - May 2018
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Matijevic was drafted 75th overall in 2017 out of the University of Arizona as one of two compensation picks received from those cheatin' Cardinals. According to Matijevic, he was a little surprised at getting selected by the Astros as there were other teams that had actually seemed to show more interest in him. "There were a lot more teams that were talking to me a lot more (than the Astros). It didn't really matter what team I got drafted by. I wasn't trying to go to a particular team. Just the ability to be drafted and the chance that any team has given you is a blessing. You've just got to go to work," said Matijevic.

With that said, Matijevic is certainly enjoying his time with the Astros so far. "It's amazing. Everyone is the best at (their) job. The best organization in baseball. Everything they do, they just do it (so) well.  I love talking to other organizations and seeing how much better we are than them. It's good. It's really good."

Asked to give a scouting report on himself, Matijevic told me, "I'm definitely good at hitting. That was my main tool coming out of college. In college, power-wise and putting balls in play, things like that. Intangibles -- good leader, act like a professional, always work hard and play hard. That's one of the things that they're always talking about. Always play hard, stay on top of my teammates to try to lead them the best I can. Work on? Defense. I've been working in left field. It's getting better and better. Now I've just got to keep working at it."

Buies Creek Hitting Coach Ben Rosenthal also weighed in with his thoughts on Matijevic, "He's good. He's fun. He's got some crazy power. I think the biggest thing for him is just making sure that he's swinging at pitches he can handle consistently. He can be late and still hit a ball 90-something miles an hour opposite field. When he gets everything timed up and synced up, he can hit a ball over that shed out there. He's got high power potential. Defensively, a couple things to work on but it's going to be fun to watch him grow. He's open to learn and get better and wants to get better and wants to be better and for me that's all I can ask."

Matijevic was unfazed by his promotion to High A, "Hitting's hitting. It's hard whatever level you're at. The pitching's always going to be good. You've just got to keep working at it, the reps. You get better the more you play and the more ABs you get." In his first 14 games with Buies Creek, he is hitting .328/.344/.655 (.340/.393/.679 in 27 games so far for the season).

And he is similarly unfazed by the road ahead for him in a system as deep with talent as the Astros system is. "They have everything. They have outstanding players up there. I've just got to keep working hard. Maybe a couple of years, I'll get the call. But one step at a time. One day at a time. And just try to get better down here and try to improve as a baseball player and a person. Just keep going. The more talent, the harder you work. And you play against them so you learn from those players as well. You learn from them. You watch them. You just push yourself more and more everyday and try to be better than them. It's good that there's a lot of talent in the system," said Matijevic.

Similarly Matijevic watches and learns from his current teammates, "Everybody's a really good player. I love watching people and learning from them. My best friend up there in Quad Cities is Papierski, Michael Papierski, and I just love watching how hard he works. I feed off of that whenever we work out or hitting or defense, anything. He works so hard and I feed off that stuff. Ronnie here, hitting-wise, he's such a great hitter and I watch him too and just see tendencies of what he does and everything. Basically, we just learn from each other and no one really sticks out. We're all really good or else we wouldn't be here."

Off the field, Matijevic said of himself, "I'm a very chill person. I like to have fun with friends, play a lot of golf, big movie guy. I go to the movies a lot. I just like to chill and hang around people, have fun and stuff like that."

Whether my assessment of Matijevic being on the reserved side is correct or not, there are a couple of things I am reasonably sure of just through my observations of him. The tattoos on his arms suggest a deep faith in a higher power and his self-assured swagger suggests a deep faith in his own power. It is a compelling combination.

Thank you for your time, J.J., and best of luck as your season continues to unfold.

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Thursday, May 24, 2018

Swept. No matter... the Houston Rockets are one win away from the NBA Finals.

Reno 4, Fresno 3 in 10 innings

W- Jake Barrett (2-0)
L- James Hoyt (0-2)

Fresno home runs: None.

Fresno and Reno both traded innings in which they either scored one run or two runs. But... the Aces managed to get their, um... leadoff runner home in the first extra frame.

The Grizz got two in the 4th on an Alejandro Garcia RBI single and a sac fly from Cody Bohanek. Drew Ferguson also hit a sac fly in the 7th.

In his AAA debut, Brock Dykxhoorn went six innings and allowed a run on four hits while striking out five. Matt Ramsey allowed two runs on four hits (solo homer), walked two, and struck out three in 1.1 innings. Brendan McCurry followed with 1.2 perfect innings, striking out one. James Hoyt allowed the go-ahead run on a sac fly, walked one, and struck out one in the 10th.

The Grizzlies welcome El Paso to the Central Valley this weekend. Cy Sneed will get the start in game one and he'll face Walker Lockett at 7:05 Pacific.

Springfield 4, Corpus Christi 0 in 10 innings


W- Landon Beck (2-1)
L- Erasmo Pinales (0-2)

CC home runs: None.

A forgettable night for the Hooks as they were kept off the scoreboard for ten innings.

It was not a forgettable night for Corbin Martin, however. He allowed just two singles and struck out nine over 7.2 shutout innings. Unfortunately, the Corpus bullpen cracked. Erasmo Pinales pitched 1.2 innings and allowed four runs (one earned, two inherited runners charged to him) on five hits, walked one, and struck out one. Carlos Sierra got the last two outs of the 10th via strikeout, but he also allowed a couple of RBI singles.

Randy César went 3-4 with a double to extend his hitting streak to 17 games. Josh Rojas finished 2-4.

This weekend, it's a World Series rematch... in the Texas League. Corpus welcomes the Tulsa Drillers to Whataburger Field for the weekend.  First pitch is 7:05.

Winston-Salem 3, Buies Creek 1

W- Dylan Cease (6-2)
L- Brett Adcock (3-2)
S- Kyle Kubat (1)

BC home runs: None.

Both teams had four hits, but the Dash had more in the column that matters most.

Brett Adcock went 3.2 innings and allowed three runs on four hits, walked three and struck out two. Jesús Balaguer was the first man out of the Buies Creek bullpen and inherited a bases-loaded situation, which he extracted Adcock from without any damage. Balaguer and Colin McKee combined to throw 4.1 perfect innings out of the bullpen; Balaguer struck out two in 3.1 innings and McKee struck out one in a 1-2-3 8th.

Abraham Toro scored the Carolina Stros' only run when Troy Sieber grounded out in the 4th.

Buies Creek welcomes the Lynchburg Hillcats to Campbell U for a weekend series. First pitch is at 6:00 Eastern.

Wisconsin 11, Quad Cities 1

W- Alec Bettinger (4-3)
L- Enoli Paredes (0-2)
S- Gabe Friese (4)

QC home runs: Colton Shaver (4, solo in 5th)

The Banditos got buried by a nine-run 8th inning.

Colton Shaver's solo blast in the 5th was Quad Cities' only scoring play. Jonathan Arauz finished 2-4 and he has turned a four-game hitless streak into a four-game hitting streak.

César Rosado went five innings and allowed a run on six hits, walked one, and struck out four. The Banditos bullpen struggled... and I think I'll leave it at that.

Peter Solomon will start the first game in a four-game series against Peoria at 6:35. He'll take on Evan Guillory.

Thursday's Stars

All photos are from Jayne unless stated otherwise.

Photo by Don Carson
Corbin Martin, RHP, Corpus Christi
7.2 IP, 2 H, 9 K; career highs in IP and strikeouts

Randy César, 3B, Corpus Christi
3-4, 2B; 17-game hitting streak

Brock Dykxhoorn, RHP, Fresno
6 IP, 4 H, ER, 5 K; AAA debut

Buies Creek Astros bullpen
4.1 IP, 3 K; perfect outing
Jesús Balaguer: 3.1 IP, 2 K
Colin McKee: IP, K

César Rosado, RHP, Quad Cities
5 IP, 6 H, ER, BB, 4 K

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Let's play two in Winston-Salem!

Reno 5, Fresno 2

W- Taylor Clarke (5-5)
L- Josh James (0-2)
S- Jimmie Sherfy (8)

Fresno home runs: Kyle Tucker (5, 2-run in 8th)

The Grizzlies were held in check, but they were also left to rue some missed opportunities as they finished 0-9 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday afternoon.

Kyle Tucker's two-run blast in the 8th represented Fresno's only scoring play in this game. Tyler White went 2-3.

Josh James threw 4.1 innings and allowed two runs on three hits (solo homer), walked two, and struck out three. Kent Emanuel was the first man out of the Grizzlies bullpen and allowed three runs on four hits and walked two in 1.1 innings. Andrew Thome tagged in for two scoreless innings, allowing a hit, walking two, and striking out two. Buddy Boshers retired all four Reno hitters he faced, striking out two of them.

Fresno and Reno will wrap up their series at 7:05 Pacific. The Grizzlies have not announced a starter; whoever he is, he'll face Troy Scribner.

Corpus Christi 4, Springfield 2

W- Yoanys Quiala (4-4)
L- Conner Greene (4-3)
S- Riley Ferrell (2)

CC home runs: None.

Four Hooks pitchers combined to hold the Cardinals to three hits as they came away with a series win in Missouri.

The one hit that Yoanys Quiala allowed in his five innings was a solo homer to Tommy Edman. Quiala also walked one and struck out five. Sean Stutzman issued two walks over two scoreless innings. The Ferrells both pitched an inning; the Oklahoma Ferrell, Justin, allowed a run on two hits and struck out one in the 8th, while the Texas Ferrell, Riley, closed it out by striking out two in a 1-2-3 9th.

Corpus got two in the 1st on a sac fly from Josh Rojas and an RBI groundout from Randy César. Stephen Wrenn hit an RBI single in the 2nd, and Lorenzo Quintana scored on an error as Aníbal Sierra stole second base in the 7th inning. Sierra got a bit greedy and was thrown out at third. César went 2-4 and extended his hitting streak to 16 games. Rojas was the only man in the lineup to go hitless, but he did drive in the first run of the evening.

Brock Dykxhoorn will face Jake Woodford, a former high school teammate of Kyle Tucker's, in the series finale. First pitch is at 7:05.

Game 1: Winston-Salem 3, Buies Creek 1

W- Tanner Banks (2-2)
L- Carson LaRue (2-2)

BC home runs: None.

The Dash scored in more innings than the Carolina Stros in game one.

Carson LaRue went 5.1 innings and allowed three runs on five hits (solo homer) and struck out four. Robert Corniel walked two in the 6th but was able to get the last two outs of the frame without any further incident. He struck out one.

Abraham Toro scored Buies Creek's only run of game one on a sac fly from Chas McCormick in the 4th inning.

Game 2: Buies Creek 10, Winston-Salem 4

W- Gabriel Valdez (1-1)
L- Danny Dopico (0-3)

BC home runs: J.J. Matijevic 2 (3, 6 season; solo in 2nd, solo in 5th), Abraham Toro (7, 2-run in 1st), Ronnie Dawson (4, 3-run in 3rd)

Buies Creek stormed out to an 8-0 lead after three innings and cruised to a split in the twinbill. They were the home team in this game because it was originally scheduled to take place in Buies Creek.

Osvaldo Duarte tripled to lead off the bottom of the 1st and scored the first run of game two on a double from Ronnie Dawson. One batter later, Abraham Toro launched a home run. Alfredo Angarita added a two-run single. J.J. Matijevic smacked his first solo homer of the game in the 2nd inning. Dawson tacked on three more in the 3rd with his homer, and Matijevic capped off the onslaught in the 5th with his second solo home run.

Gabriel Valdez went five innings and allowed two runs on four hits (solo homer),walked two, and struck out three. Tanner Duncan allowed a two-run homer to Joel Booker in the 7th, which was the only scoring play he allowed in his two innings. Duncan allowed four other hits, walked one, and struck out three.

Brett Adcock will face Dylan Cease in the series finale. First pitch is at 7:00 Eastern.

Quad Cities 8, Wisconsin 4

W- Juan Robles (1-0)
L- Cody Beckman (1-2)

QC home runs: None.

The Banditos trailed 4-1 through five innings, but fortunately, their bats came alive and they blew the Timber Rattlers away.

Jake Meyers drew a two-out walk in the 3rd inning and scored Quad Cities' first run when Jonathan Arauz ripped a triple. They cut the deficit to one with a couple of runs in the 6th inning. Corey Julks led off by drawing a walk and scored on a Miguelangel Sierra double. Sierra advanced to third on a wild pitch that was also ball four to Jake Adams. Adams got caught stealing, but Sierra took advantage and scored while everyone else was preoccupied with Adams.

Quad Cities loaded the bases with one out in the 7th and they wound up scoring four runs. Julks put them in the lead with a two-run single and Adams ripped a two-run double. Meyers capped off the evening with an RBI triple in the 8th inning.

Patrick Sandoval went 4.2 innings and allowed four runs on five hits (three-run homer), walked two, and struck out four. Juan Robles tagged in to throw 3.1 scoreless innings, allowing two hits, walking one, and striking out three. Carlos Sanabria worked around a hit to throw a scoreless 9th, striking out two.

César Rosado will face Alec Bettinger in the series finale. First pitch is at 6:35.

Wednesday's Stars

All photos are from Jayne unless stated otherwise.

J.J. Matijevic, LF, Ronnie Dawson, OF, and Abraham Toro, 3B, Buies Creek
*Stats from game two of doubleheader*
Matijevic: 3-4, 2 solo HR (3, 6 season)
Dawson: 2-4, 2B, 3-R HR (4), 4 RBI, 2 R
Toro: 2-4, 2-R HR (7)

Yoanys Quiala, RHP, Corpus Christi
5 IP, H (solo HR), ER, BB, 5 K

Randy César, 3B, Corpus Christi
2-4, 2B, RBI; 16-game hitting streak

Jonathan Arauz, IF, Quad Cities
3-5, 3B, RBI, R

Juan Robles, RHP, Quad Cities
W (1-0), 3.1 IP, 2 H, BB, 3 K

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Getting to Know Astros RHP Brandon Bielak

RHP Brandon Bielak absolutely dominated in his first season in 2017 after being drafted by the Astros out of Notre Dame in the 11th round, going 2-1 with a save, a 0.80 ERA, a 0.772 WHIP and five walks to 42 strikeouts in 33.2 innings for rookie league Greeneville (two games) and short season A Tri-City (8 games). Although he hasn't been quite that dominant in 2018, he has more than held his own with a 2.95 ERA and a 1.200 WHIP in his first nine appearances for High A Buies Creek. And the fact that he skipped directly to High A in his first full season (bypassing Low A Quad Cities) speaks volumes about what Bielak brings to the table. I sat down with Bielak earlier this month.

Brandon Bielak - May 2018
Photo by Jayne Hansen

One of the things that Bielak brings to the table is a fully developed pitch repertoire, "I've got a 4-seam fastball, a spike curveball, a slider and circle changeup. Fastball anywhere from 90-94." As far as his offspeed goes, he is partial to the changeup, "It's just something I have a really good feel for. Something that's my go-to pitch when I need to throw it for a strike," said Bielak.

Bielak credits the Astros organization for his early success, "I learned a lot my first season with the Astros. They changed a few things with my pitches and I kind of just took off from there. I had a good feel for it from the beginning and I just got really good help from managers and coaches. They just helped me out to get where I am today honestly. They helped transform two of my pitches. I just threw a regular curveball and now I throw a spiked and before I threw a slurve and now I throw an actual slider so they definitely know how to develop pitchers in this organization. Just from the first two years with the Astros, I've learned so much about baseball, about pitching, just the overall game. It's clearly been helping me."

One thing that Bielak feels that he does well is to maintain a good game tempo, but there are other aspects of his game that he is working on improving, such as tweaking his changeup to make it more effective against right-handed hitters. And one of his biggest focuses right now is tunneling his pitches in order to keep hitters guessing. "That's one of the biggest things I'm working on now is throwing all my pitches out of the same slot and just working off my previous pitch to get to my next pitch."

As far as getting to the next level developmentally, Bielak knows what he needs to do. "Mainly just building off my previous outing and attacking the zone even more than what I'm doing now. Trusting myself and my pitches. I can't be too perfect all the time. Just throwing my stuff in the zone is going to help me a lot," said Bielak.

Bielak enjoyed watching the Astros in the World Series, but there's something else he enjoyed even more. "(The World Series) was a lot of fun. Those guys are fun to watch and it's even better to see them in Spring Training, just to get that feel. It gives you a feeling like that's where you want to be, that's what you want to work towards. That's where you want to be eventually. That's why we're here right now and that's how we're going to get there when we get there." Acknowledging the depth of talent in the Astros system left Bielak unfazed, "That's the best part. It's about competing with one another and also having fun."

I also reached out to Buies Creek Pitching Coach Drew French to get his take on Bielak. French said, "He's got four pretty close to major league pitches. He has to learn how to locate them better, sequence them better and his pitch selection throughout a game needs to improve. But with it being his first full season in pro ball ... a lot of this stuff is taken away from them in college. These are not decisions they're having to make on their own in college; whereas, now the career is in his own hands. So he's got to do some of these things in game a little bit better, but he's really really bright and intelligent and he's come a long long way in just a short amount of time. I think most of the stuff with him is just getting his reps in, making sure that he's staying on the right track in his delivery. The pitches are ready and now it's just how he uses them and where he uses them is the most important thing. It's been pretty easy for him, but we know, especially here, we need to get these guys ready for AA which is the biggest jump that any of them is ever going to make."

It's exciting for me to watch a pitcher with Bielak's upside. Not only does he have a strong pitch arsenal, he has shown the ability to learn and adapt rapidly, he has a strong pitcher's frame, he has a plan for maximizing his talent, and he possesses a mature, calm demeanor. That skillset should play well going forward in the Astros system and I look forward to watching his journey.

Thank you for your time, Brandon, and best of luck as the season continues to unfold.

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Rockets won. It's a series now, ladies and gentlemen. I'm not sure how I'm alive after that game, but since I'm still breathing... let's check in on how the Astros farm did on Tuesday.

In the interest of time, because I'm still amped from watching the Rockets somehow win a game in the toughest arena in the NBA despite going down 12-0 to start and having to claw back from multiple double-digit deficits during the course of the game, I'll keep it short and sweet, because I most definitely did not get any sleep.

Sweep! Houston's major-league teams took care of the Bay Area and the Astros' minor league affiliates handled their business too.


Fresno 4, Reno 3

W- Brendan McCurry (1-2)
L- Braden Shipley (2-4)

Fresno home runs: None.

The Tacos walked off with a win thanks to Alejandro Garcia's two-run single in the 9th. A.J. Reed ripped a two-run double in the 4th.

Rogelio Armenteros went five innings and the three runs he surrendered all came on two home runs; a solo to Kevin Cron, and a two-run shot from Anthony Recker. Armenteros allowed two other hits, walked two, and struck out eight. Ralph Garza threw three scoreless in his AAA debut, walking two and striking out three. Brendan McCurry got a strikeout in a 1-2-3 9th inning.

Josh James will get the start in game three. First pitch is at 11:05 AM Pacific.

Corpus Christi 9, Springfield 3


W- Ryan Hartman (4-1)
L- Anthony Shew (0-1)

CC home runs: Lorenzo Quintana (3, solo in 5th)

Corpus came alive with six runs in the 5th to take control.

Ryan Hartman struck out a career-high 11 over 6.1 shutout innings in his last start and followed it up with a bare minimum quality start, allowing six hits (solo homer), walking one, and striking out seven. Chris Nunn allowed two hits and fanned three in two scoreless innings of work, and Riley Ferrell worked around a hit to throw a scoreless 9th, striking out two.

Everyone in the Hooks lineup recorded a hit and Stephen Wrenn led the way in that department as he finished 3-5 with a pair of RBI singles, two runs scored, and two stolen bases (15). Josh Rojas' two hits both resulted in runs; he had an RBI single in that big 5th inning and capped off the evening with an RBI triple in the 8th. Rojas also stole a base (7, 19 season); he's 19-20 on stolen base attempts this year. Lorenzo Quintana opened the scoring with an RBI single in the 2nd and smacked a homer to lead off the 5th. Alex De Goti went 2-4 with a double and an RBI single in the 5th, and Taylor Jones and Carmen Benedetti had RBI singles in the 5th.

Yoanys Quiala will take on former actor Connor Greene in the series finale. First pitch is at 7:05.

Buies Creek 12, Winston-Salem 4

W- Hector Perez (1-1)
L- Jimmy Lambert (3-4)

BC home runs: Luis Payano (2, 2-run in 9th)

The Carolina Stros wreaked havoc on the bases and pounded out 17 hits. They actually failed to draw a walk in this game and struck out 12 times... but that probably matters a little less when a team scores 12 runs.

Buies Creek went 7-7 in stolen base attempts; Osvaldo Duarte had four of those steals, including a steal of home in the 5th inning.

Poor Carlos Canelón.


Hector Perez went five innings and the one run he allowed came on a solo homer hit by Gavin Sheets in the 2nd. He allowed one other hit, walked one, and struck out four. Brandon Bielak tagged in for 2.2 innings and the three runs he allowed came on a homer hit by former Astros draft pick Zach Remillard in the 8th inning. Bielak allowed two other hits, walked two, and struck out four. Ronel Blanco got the last four outs of the evening and issued a walk during his time on the mound.

The Carolina Stros and Dash will play a doubleheader on Wednesday, with game one starting at 11:00 AM Eastern. Carson LaRue will face Tanner Banks in the morning session. Brandon Bielak is listed as the starter for game two, but I'm highly sure that he's not going to be physically capable of making that start.

Quad Cities 8, Wisconsin 0

W- Leovanny Rodriguez (1-0)
L- Dylan File (5-3)

QC home runs: Jake Adams 2 (6; solo in 4th, 2-run in 7th)

The Banditos administered a beating on Tuesday afternoon with some kids having to bear witness. This was a field trip game, right? Hope that doesn't scar them.

Leovanny Rodriguez, Parker Mushinski, and Luis Garcia joined forces to keep the Timber Rattlers off the board for nine innings. Leovanny allowed two hits and struck out a career-high nine in five innings of work. Mushinski tagged in for three innings allowed three hits, walked two, and struck out one. Garcia worked around a hit and a walk in the 9th to complete the shutout.

Quad Cities went scoreless for the first three frames, but they found the offense and scored in each of the last five innings of the day. Corey Julks went 4-4 with a pair of RBI singles and a stolen base (13). Jake Adams clubbed two home runs; his first blast opened the scoring in the 4th inning... and the floodgates, it turns out. He also sent one out in the 7th for a two-run shot. Jake Meyers went 2-5 with a two-run double in the 6th, and Miguelangel Sierra hit an RBI single in the 5th.

Patrick Sandoval faces Christian Taugner at 6:35.

Tuesday's Stars

They all won. Everybody gets a star!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Astros Minor League Recaps

Results for Monday, May 21, 2018

Reno 4, Fresno 2

W- Jake Buchanan (3-3)
L- Mike Hauschild (2-4)
S- Silvino Bracho (3)

Fresno home runs: None.

The Grizzlies scored twice in the opening inning, but unfortunately, that was all the offensive output they could muster up on Monday.

A.J. Reed hit an RBI single to open the scoring and one batter later, Kyle Tucker scored when Nick Tanielu grounded into a force out. Drew Ferguson finished 3-4 and scored the game's first run, while Jon Kemmer went 2-4.

Mike Hauschild went seven innings and allowed four runs on nine hits, walked two, and struck out three. Reymin Guduan allowed a hit, walked one, and struck out three over two scoreless innings.

Rogelio Armenteros will take on Kris Medlen in game two of this series. First pitch is at 6:35 Pacific.

Frisco 7, Corpus Christi 3

W- Wes Benjamin (3-3)
L- Alex Winkelman (1-2)

CC home runs: None.

The latest iteration of the Lone Star Series in the Texas League went to Frisco.

Jamie Ritchie drove in all three Corpus Christi runs in this game; he ripped an RBI double in the 5th and added a two-run triple to his ledger in the 9th. Stephen Wrenn went 2-3 with a double, a stolen base (13), and scored twice.

Alex Winkelman and Framber Valdez both pitched four innings. Winkelman allowed five runs on seven hits (three-run homer), walked two, and struck out six. Framber allowed two runs on a double, one other hit, walked two, and struck out five.

The Hooks are back home and they'll begin a three-game series with Springfield at 7:05. Ryan Hartman is scheduled to get the start for Corpus.

Buies Creek 4, Winston-Salem 1

W- Abdiel Saldaña (5-0)
L- Bernardo Flores (3-3)
S- Jorge Alcala (2)

BC home runs: None.

It was a two-man game at the plate and on the mound for the Carolina Stros. Troy Sieber and Kristian Trompiz were responsible for the offensive production, while Abdiel Saldaña and Jorge Alcala were locked in on the mound.

Abraham Toro (2B, 2 R), Sieber, and Trompiz all finished with two hits on the evening. Sieber hit RBI singles in the 1st and the 5th, while Trompiz had a two-run single in the 3rd. Everyone in the Buies Creek lineup recorded a hit.

Abdiel Saldaña allowed a run on two hits and struck out four in five innings. Jorge Alcala finished it off by allowing a hit, walking one, and striking out seven over the last four innings.

Hector Perez will start game two for Buies Creek and he'll go up against Jimmy Lambert at 7:00 Eastern.

Wisconsin 2, Quad Cities 1

W- Nelson Hernandez (6-2)
L- Yohan Ramirez (3-3)
S- Rodrigo Benoit (4)

QC home runs: None.

Both teams scored in one inning, but the Timber Rattlers scored more in the inning in which they scored.

Quad Cities' lone scoring play came in the 5th when Jake Meyers ripped an RBI double. Meyers and Jonathan Arauz both had two hits out of the top of the order and both of them had a double. Arauz snapped a string of four straight hitless games, so he's looking to get himself back on track.

Yohan Ramirez went five innings and allowed two runs, both coming on solo home runs, six hits, and struck out three in five innings. Cristian Javier mowed down the Rattlers over the last four innings as he allowed three hits, walked one, and struck out nine.

Game two of this series features Leovanny Rodriguez on the mound as he'll be making his first start of 2018. He'll face Dylan File at 11:00 AM.

Monday's Stars

All photos are from Jayne unless stated otherwise.

Buies Creek Astros pitchers: W 4-1 @ Winston-Salem
9 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, 11 K
Abdiel Saldaña: W (5-0), 5 IP, 2 H, ER, 4 K
Jorge Alcala: Save (2), 4 IP, H, BB, 7 K

Troy Sieber, 1B, and Kristian Trompiz, IF, Buies Creek
They both went 2-4 with 2 RBI.

Jamie Ritchie, C, and Stephen Wrenn, OF, Corpus Christi
Ritchie: 2-4, 2B, 3B, 3 RBI; drove in all three runs for CC
Wrenn: 2-3, 2B, 2 R, SB (13)

Cristian Javier, RHP, Quad Cities
4 IP, 3 H, BB, 9 K

Reymin Guduan, LHP, Fresno
2 IP, H, BB, 3 K

Monday, May 21, 2018

Astros Farm Report: 5/21

Catching you up on the latest Astros MiLB news ...

WISHING A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO

Garrett Stubbs - April 2017
Photo by Jayne Hansen

5/26: C Garrett Stubbs (25)
5/27: OF Leonardo González (18)

ROSTER MOVES/TRANSACTIONS

5/20: IF J.D. Davis recalled to Houston from Fresno
5/20: IF Cody Bohanek assigned to Fresno from Quad Cities
Note: This is undoubtedly a short-term assignment to fill in at Fresno, but speaks volumes about the Astros faith in Bohanek handling himself well and providing solid defense.
5/20: RHP Juan Robles assigned to Quad Cities from extended spring training
5/19: C Chuckie Robinson (Buies Creek) activated from the DL
5/18: 1B Roman Garcia (Quad Cities) activated from the DL (since 4/25)
5/18: RHP Tanner Duncan assigned to Buies Creek from Quad Cities
5/17: LHP Chris Nunn assigned to Corpus Christi from Fresno
5/17: IF Nick Tanielu assigned to Fresno from Corpus Christi
5/17: SS Anibal Sierra assigned to Corpus Christi from Buies Creek
5/16: OF Jake Marisnick optioned to Fresno from Houston
5/16: IF/OF Tony Kemp recalled to Houston from Fresno

ASTROS MILB DISABLED LIST

5/16: LF Yordan Alvarez (Corpus Christi) placed on the 7-day DL
5/12: RHP Akeem Bostick (Corpus Christi) placed on the 7-day DL
5/12: 3B Adrian Tovalin (Quad Cities) placed on the 7-day DL
5/11: C Garrett Stubbs (Fresno) placed on the 7-day DL
5/9: IF Jack Mayfield (Fresno) placed on the 7-day DL
5/8: RHP Kevin Hill (Corpus Christi) placed on the 7-day DL
5/4: RHP Francis Martes (Fresno) placed on the 7-day DL
5/3+/-: RHP Gerardo Bojorquez had TJ surgery per Instagram post
5/2+/-: OF Patrick Mathis out for approx. 6 weeks per Instagram post
4/26: RHP J.B. Bukauskas (Quad Cities) placed on the 7-day DL
4/5: RHP Ryan Thompson assigned to Fresno (starting the season on the 7-day DL); according to Instagram Ryan has had surgery, but I don't know whether or not it was TJ
4/5: RHP Edgardo Sandoval (Quad Cities) placed on the 7-day DL
4/5: RHP Matt Ruppenthal assigned to Quad Cities (starting the season on the 7-day DL)
4/5: RHP Ángel Heredia (Corpus Christi) placed on the 7-day DL
4/5: RHP Nick Hernandez (Corpus Christi) placed on the 7-day DL (Tommy John)
4/5: RHP Jose Luis Hernández (Buies Creek) placed on the 7-day DL

TWEET OF THE WEEK



ASTROS MILB STANDINGS
Up and down arrows represent increase/decrease in win percentage over the prior week.

FRESNO (Pacific Coast League)
🠉1st 27-17 .614 -.-GB W2

CORPUS CHRISTI (Texas League)
🠉2nd 25-18 .581 2.0GB W1

BUIES CREEK (Carolina League)
🠋T2nd 23-19 .548 1.5GB L4

QUAD CITIES (Midwest League)
🠋2nd 23-19 .548 -.-GB L2

ASTROS MILB STANDOUTS FOR THE WEEK

FRESNO

SS Antonio Nunez: 5 games, .438/.471/.500
3B J.D. Davis: 4 games, .400/.471/.800, hit for the cycle
C Tim Federowicz: 5 games, .333/.474/.800
3B Tyler White: 6 games, .333/.429/.542
OF Jon Kemmer: 6 games, .304/.385/.696
OF Kyle Tucker: 5 games, .286/.375/.571
1B A.J. Reed: 6 games, .263/.462/.737, 3 HR, 7 BB

RHP Rogelio Armenteros: 1 start, 1.59 ERA/0.882 WHIP, 5.2 IP
RHP Trent Thornton: 1 start, 0.00 ERA/0.545 WHIP, 3.2 IP
RHP Matt Ramsey: 3 bullpen appearances, win, 0.00 ERA/0.500 WHIP, 6 IP, 1 BB:11 K
LHP Reymin Guduan: 2 bullpen appearances, 0.00 ERA/0.500 WHIP, 2 IP

CORPUS CHRISTI

IF Josh Rojas: 6 games, .480/.500/.680, 3 SB
3B Randy Cesar: 6 games, .462/.481/.731, 11 RBI
OF Myles Straw: 7 games, .391/.481/.435, 6 SB
1B Taylor Jones: 7 games, .333/.400/.519

LHP Cionel Perez: 2 games (1 start), 2 wins, 1.93 ERA/0.536 WHIP, 2 BB:14 K, 9.1 IP
LHP Ryan Hartman: 1 start, win, 0.00 ERA/0.790 WHIP, 1 BB:11 K, 6.1 IP
RHP Justin Ferrell: 2 bullpen appearances, win, 0.00 ERA/0.900 WHIP, 3.1 IP

BUIES CREEK

OF/IF Osvaldo Duarte: 5 games, .389/.450/.444
IF Alfredo Angarita: 5 games, .300/.364/.350

RHP Hector Perez: 1 game, 0.00 ERA/0.250 WHIP, 4 IP
RHP Abdiel Saldana: 1 game, win, 0.00 ERA/1.000 WHIP, 4 IP
RHP Jorge Alcala: 1 start, 1.80 ERA/0.600 WHIP, 5 IP

QUAD CITIES

IF Miguelangel Sierra: 8 games, .355/.412/.516

RHP Carlos Sanabria: 3 bullpen appearances, win, save, 0.00 ERA/0.429 WHIP, 2.1 IP, 5 of 7 inherited runners stranded
LHP Parker Mushinski: 1 start, 0.00 ERA/0.600 WHIP, 5 IP
RHP Leovanny Rodrigruez: 1 game, win, 2.25 ERA/0.750 WHIP, 4 IP (Quad Cities debut)
LHP Patrick Sandoval: 1 game, win, 0.00 ERA/1.154 WHIP, 4.1 IP

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Osvaldo Duarte - May 2018
Photo by Jayne Hansen

OF/IF Osvaldo Duarte is another player I neglected to include in my offseason series on players beyond the top 30 that bear watching, the reason for that being Duarte had a really awful season in 2017, starting with his 28 games with High A Buies Creek and for another 47 games after being demoted to Low A Quad Cities in mid-May. Granted he did miss almost a month in the middle of the season on the DL (reportedly for a hand issue) and had his season cut short in early August as well, but a .192/.282/.308 batting line makes it hard to see a way forward for any player. Fast forward to 2018 and a healthy Duarte is getting into a groove with High A Buies Creek. After a somewhat lackluster April, Duarte is hitting .304/.347/.464 in 18 games in May. Even more importantly, Duarte is once again enjoying baseball and it shows both on and off the field. Duarte was originally signed by the Astros for $110,000 in July 2013 out of the Dominican Republic. At the time of his signing, he was cited for his speed, quick twitch athleticism, strong arm and quick simple swing.

NEWS AND LINKS

In case you were wondering, if RHP Forrest Whitley reports to Corpus Christi as expected following his 50-game suspension, that will make the game on Tuesday, May 29th (at Springfield) the first game for which Whitley will be eligible to pitch. The first home stand he will be eligible for will start June 5th.

Steve Batterson with a nice piece on Quad Cities LHP Parker Mushinski.

It was getting kinda hard to ignore just how hot J.D. Davis has been, huh, Houston?

The Grizzlies new ownership group isn't going to wait until the offseason to make park improvements.

Hooks OF Myles Straw talks base stealing.

And in case you missed any of these, here are my recent interviews (three more to come soon!):

LHP Brett Adcock (Buies Creek)
SS Alex De Goti (Corpus Christi)
1B Taylor Jones (Corpus Christi)
RHP Brock Dykxhoorn (Corpus Christi)

FORMER ASTROS UPDATE


Kevin Comer - June 2014
Photo by Jayne Hansen

RHP Kevin Comer, orginally drafted by the Blue Jays out of Senaca High School (NJ) in the first round in 2011, came to the Astros in August 2012 as the PTBNL in the huge 10-player July 2012 trade between the Astros and the Blue Jays and spent five years playing in the Astros system before becoming a minor league free agent in November 2017. Later that month he was signed to a minor league contract with the Tigers and given an invitation to spring training. Following spring training, Comer was assigned to the AAA Toledo Mud Hens where he has appeared in 15 games (one start), going 1-0 with three saves, a 2.21 ERA and a 1.082 WHIP and six walks to 22 strikeouts in 20.1 innings. The Mud Hens did this interview with Comer recently for Mother's Day.


WE'RE COMING TO TAKE YOUR JOBS (WOMEN IN BASEBALL