January 2012

Astros get Martinez from Mets

The Astros have won a waiver claim on former Mets top prospect Fernando Martinez, a source confirmed for MLB.com.

Widely considered one of the Mets’ top prospects from 2006-10, Martinez was billed as a power-hitting outfielder expected to be a cornerstone of the Mets’ lineup throughout this decade. But multiple injuries and an arthritic right knee have prevented Martinez from appearing in more than 82 games in any of the past three seasons.

The Astros would have to clear a spot on the 40-man roster to make room for Martinez.

Forty-seven of those appearances have come with the Major League club, though almost exclusively as a reserve. Martinez hit .183 with two home runs during those stints. He hit .260 with eight home runs in 63 games for Triple-A Buffalo last season.

Astros busy in the Dominican

The Astros have signed a pair of teenagers out of the Dominican Republic, pitcher Carlos Vasquez and outfielder Edward Santana, and have reached an agreement with pitcher Tomas Lopez, whose signing isn’t yet official.

Vasquez, 16, is a 6-2, 180-pound right-hander with an extra large frame and someone who Astros director of Latin American scouting Felix Francisco believes will be a power pitcher. He throws between 88 and 90 mph now, but Francisco said the ball jumps out of his hands and he has a good breaking ball.

“We feel this guy is going to be really strong in the future,” Francisco said.

Santana, 17, was the best position player left on the market, Francisco said. He can play center field, but the Astros like more in right field. There are many things Francisco likes about Santana, whose older brother used to play in the Rangers system.

“He runs 60 yards in 6.75 seconds and has a good arm,” Francisco said. “He can hit and has a real nice balance. He stays inside the baseball and uses the whole field. He’s not a big power guy right now and more of a guy you can project will hit 15-20 home runs. His power will come with time, but he does have good bat speed and good extension.”

Francisco likes that Santana hits the ball to the opposite field, which you don’t usually see in young players in the Dominican.

Lopez, 17, is a right-handed pitcher with nice arm action. He recently established himself in the Dominican Prospect League and began to draw interest from several teams, including the Astros.

All three players will report to the Astros academy in the Dominican Republic and will play there this summer.

Will Hall call Bagwell?

Jeff Bagwell will find out today if he’s received enough votes to make the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The results of the voting by eligible members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America will be revealed during an MLB.com simulcast of the announcement on MLB Network live at 1 p.m. CT.

The vote was conducted by the BBWAA this past December. Because of the least-imposing first-year group of eligible players in recent memory, former Reds shortstop Barry Larkin seems to be the lone possibility for election.

Bagwell appeared on 41.7 percent of the ballots in his first year of eligibility last year and will need to get 75 percent to get elected. It’s unlikely he’ll make that kind of jump this year.

Bagwell probably would have been a slam dunk to make the Hall of Fame had he reached 500 home runs. He fell just 51 shy of that mark when a degenerative shoulder ended his career early, but his numbers across the board appear Hall of Fame worthy. Sure, there will be those who will hold it against him that he played in era when many sluggers were under the suspicion of performance-enhancing drugs, but Bagwell has been clean of any allegations. There’s no reason to believe he didn’t do everything the right way.

Those same voters who are inclined to take into account such intangibles should remember Bagwell played most of his career in the cavernous Astrodome, which surely took several home runs away from him. And if you look beyond the gaudy numbers, the voters should remember Bagwell was a terrific defensive player and base runner.

“I’m pulling for him,” long-time Astros teammate Craig Biggio said. “You know my feelings about him. To me, he’s a Hall of Famer. He had 40-something percent last year and you hope the number keeps climbing and gets to that 75 percent. He was a tremendous player and did a lot of great things on the baseball field. To me, there’s no doubt about it – he’s definitely a Hall of Fame baseball player.”

Of course, Biggio will be on the Hall of Fame ballot next year as part of a star-studded class that includes former Astros pitchers Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling, along with Mike Piazza, Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa.

“It’s kind of crazy,” Biggio said. “These last four years went by super-fast.”

Biggio, of course, seems to be a lock to reach Cooperstown, considering he reached 3,060 hits and has more doubles than any right-handed hitter in history. Bagwell didn’t play as long as Biggio, but his numbers are equally as impressive.

During Bagwell’s 15 seasons, the Astros had their most successful run in franchise history, qualifying for the postseason six times while finishing at .500 or above 13 times. The Astros had the third-best winning percentage (.531) in the NL from 1991-2005.

In 1994, Bagwell became just the third player in history to win the NL Most Valuable Player Award by a unanimous vote after hitting .368 with 39 home runs, 116 RBIs, a .750 slugging percentage, .451 on-base percentage and a career-high 1.201 OPS.

Bagwell was a four-time All-Star, earned three Silver Slugger Awards, a Rawlings Gold Glove Award and remains as the only first baseman in NL history to reach the 30-30 club in home runs and stolen bases in a season, which he did twice in his career.

Here are some of Bagwell’s accomplishments (entering 2011 season):


  • .948 career OPS ranks 22nd in Major League history and 10th among right-handed hitters. Four of the nine right-handed hitters ranked ahead of him are in the Hall of Fame, while four others are not yet eligible for induction.
  • .408 career on-base percentage ranks 15th all-time among right-handed hitters and ninth all-time among first basemen (3rd among RH first basemen).
  • is one of just 12 players in baseball history to hit at least 400 home runs while compiling a .408-or-higher onbase percentage.
  • is the only first baseman in NL history to reach the 30-30 club in home runs and stolen bases, and the only first baseman in ML history to reach this milestone twice in a career.
  • is the just the eighth player in ML history to win both the Rookie of the Year (1991) and Most Valuable Player (1994) awards.
  • is the only first baseman in ML history and one of 12 players all-time to reach 400 home runs and 200 stolen bases.
  • is one of five players in history to collect 30 home runs, 100 RBIs and 100 runs scored in six consecutive seasons (1996-2001). Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth and Albert Pujols are the others.
  • is the only player in history to record 30 home runs, 100 RBIs, 100 runs scored and 100 walks in six consecutive seasons (1996-2001).
  • .297 career average ranks 18th all-time among players with 400 home runs, and 10th all-time among righthanded hitters with 400 home runs.

AMONG HIS PEERS (1991-2005)

  • 1,529 RBIs ranked second in the Majors and first among right-handed hitters.
  • 1,517 runs scored ranked third in the Majors.
  • ranked third in the Majors in hits (2,314), walks (1,401) and extra-base hits (969).
  • ranked fifth in the Majors in home runs (449) and games played (2,150).
  • reached 100 RBI eight times, 100 runs scored nine times, 30 home runs eight times, 100 walks seven times, 1.000 OPS four times, .300 batting average six times.
  • finished in the top 10 of the MVP voting five times.


  • from 1994-2003, led all first basemen in hits, runs, walks, extra-base hits, doubles and stolen bases, ranked second in games and RBIs and third in home runs.

Astros announce 2012 Minor League staff



Field Coordinator                            Paul Runge

Pitching Coordinator                     Jon Matlack

Hitting Coordinator                       Ty Van Burkleo

Roving Infield Instructor              Tom Lawless

Roving OF / Base Running           Milt Thompson

Roving Catching Instructor         Danny Sheaffer

Strength & Conditioning              Frank Renner

Medical Coordinator                     Jamey Snodgrass

Rehab Coordinator                         Daniel Roberts



Manager                                              Tony DeFrancesco

Pitching Coach                                 Burt Hooton

Hitting Coach                                   Leon Roberts

Athletic Trainer                                Mike Freer

Strength & Conditioning              Gary McCoy



Manager                                              Keith Bodie

Pitching Coach                                 Gary Ruby

Hitting Coach                                   Joel Chimelis

Athletic Trainer                                Eric Montague



Manager                                              Rodney Linares

Pitching Coach                                 Don Alexander

Hitting Coach                                   Darryl Robinson

Athletic Trainer                                Bryan Baca



Manager                                              Ivan De Jesus

Pitching Coach                                 Dave Borkowski

Hitting Coach                                   Josh Bonifay

Athletic Trainer                                Grant Hufford



Manager                                              Stubby Clapp

Pitching Coach                                 Rick Aponte

Hitting Coach                                   Mark Bailey

Athletic Trainer                                Michael Rendon



Manager                                              Omar Lopez

Pitching Coach                                 Hector Mercado

Hitting Coach                                   Cesar Cedeno

Athletic Trainer                                Corey O’Brien



Manager                                              Ed Romero

Pitching Coach                                 Jaime Garcia

Pitching Coach                                 Charley Taylor

Hitting Coach                                   Edgar Alfonzo

Assistant Coach                               Gordy MacKenzie

Athletic Trainer                                Steve Miller



Manager                                              Luis Martinez

Pitching Coach                                 Jose Martinez

Bullpen Coach                                  Joel Santo

Hitting Coach                                   Luis Mateo

Infield Instructor                             Johan Maya

Assistant Coach                               Ramon Garcia

Outfield Instructor                          Juan Zapata

Catching Instructor                        Sixto Ortega

Athletic Trainer                                Ambiorix Reyes

Assistant Trainer                              Edwin Garcia

Strength & Conditioning              Geremias Guzman