September 2012

Gottfried not returning to Astros

Astros assistant general manager David Gottfried, who has worked for the club in various capacities the last 14 years, will not have his contract renewed by the club.

Gottfried was in his sixth season as assistant general manager for player relations, a position he took in 2006. He was previously the club’s senior director of baseball operations and earlier the director of Minor League administration.

He joined the Astros in 1998 as a baseball operations assistant.

“I really enjoyed my time there and am proud of the contributions I’ve made over the last 14 years,” Gottfried said. They’ve decided to go in another direction and I’m looking forward to my next opportunity.”

Gottfried’s departure is the latest in a series of front office moves by the Astros that included assistant general manager/director of scouting Bobby Heck and director of professional scouting Ricky Bennett not having their contracts renewed.

Prior to joining the Astros, Gottfried spent five years with the Oakland A’s Class A affiliate in Modesto, Calif., serving as GM for two years. He also worked for the Arizona Fall League.

Biggio integral in Astros manageral search

Craig Biggio might not be ready to throw his name into the team’s managerial search, but he’s certainly going to have a say in finding the Astros’ next skipper. Biggio, a special assistant to general manager Jeff Luhnow, is involved in the interview process to find a full-time manager.

“I’m honored and excited about it,” he said. “I’ve been part of this organization for a long period of time and they trust my judgment and my decision-making. I’m honored to be part of this process.”

With the Astros still undergoing a large-scale overhaul in their on-field talent, Biggio recognizes the importance of finding the right man for the job.

“It’s an exciting time for this organization,” he said. “You’re looking at getting a guy, a baseball man that’s going to lead these kids in the right direction and get them back to where we were before. Whenever you’re looking for a manager, you’re looking for somebody who’s hopefully going to be around here for the  next 10 years. That’s the type of personality you’re trying to look it.”

Of course, Biggio played for seven different managers – Hal Lanier, Art Howe, Terry Collins, Larry Dierker, Jimy Williams, Phil Garner and Cecil Cooper – during his 20-year Astros career, so he knows a little bit about what it takes to be a successful manager.

“There’s no doubt about it,” he said. “There’s a lot of things that go on when you’re with the manager and coaching staff and players and the relationships you have with them and relationships you have in the clubhouse and in the airplane. There’s a lot of things that go on, and we’ve had some really good ones over the years, and we’re trying to find a lot more.”

Biggio endured a rebuilding phase early in his career, with the club losing 97 games in 1991. They improved to 81-81 in 1992, 85-77 in 1993 and had a 66-49 record in the strike-shortened season of 1994. Beginning in 1997, the Astros won four division titles in five years.

“That’s how quickly it turns around when you have the right personnel and the right people and right leadership involved,” Biggio said. “It doesn’t happen overnight, but when you have the right people in the right situations it can turn around quicker than the players think it could.”

Biggio has become a trusted adviser to Luhnow, and his presence is the interview room during the managerial search is much more than window dressing.

“I like this side of it,” Biggio said. “You’re a part of a team down here [on the field] and part of a team up there [in the GM’s box], but as an organization you all work together. When we all work together we’re going to be pretty successful, and that’s the reason why the years we had here when we had the second-best record over a 10-year period is because your ownership group and front-office group and field personnel and the team were all on the same page, and once you get back to that we’ll start winning a lot more baseball games.”

Astros set instructional league roster

Astros set instructional league roster:

Report date: Sept. 18, 2012

First workout: Sept. 19, 2012

First game: Sept. 24, 2012

Final game: Oct. 10, 2012

13 Cain, Colton LHP L/L 6’3″ 255 02/05/1991 21 2009 United States
17 Comer, Kevin RHP R/R 6’3″ 205 08/01/1992 20 2011 United States
39 Devenski, Chris RHP R/R 6’3″ 195 11/13/1990 21 2011 United States
1 Diaz, Dayan RHP R/R 5’10” 156 02/10/1989 23 2006 Colombia
47 Feliz, Michael RHP R/R 6’4” 199 06/28/1993 19 2010 Dominican Republic
19 Grimmett, Zach RHP R/R 6’3” 205 02/05/1990 22 2008 United States
44 Lee, Christopher LHP L/L 6’3” 175 08/17/1992 20 2011 United States
26 McCullers, Lance RHP L/R 6’1″ 190 10/02/1993 18 2012 United States
43 Musgrove, Joe RHP R/R 6’5″ 230 12/04/1992 19 2011 United States
35 Ramirez, Francis RHP R/R 6’5” 215 01/12/1992 20 2009 Dominican Republic
50 Rivera, Raul RHP R/R 6’3″ 185 02/05/1991 21 2009 Puerto Rico
14 Rollins, David LHP L/L 6’1″ 195 12/21/1989 22 2011 United States
54 Walters, Blair LHP L/L 6’0″ 200 11/08/1989 22 2011 United States
20 Heineman, Tyler C S/R 5’11” 205 06/19/1991 21 2012 United States
56 Morales, Jobduan C S/R 5’10” 180 06/07/1991 21 2009 Puerto Rico
51 Pena, Roberto C S/R 6’0” 180 06/08/1992 20 2010 Puerto Rico
22 Perez, Carlos C R/R 6’0″ 195 10/27/1990 21 2008 Venezuela
4 DeShields, Delino 2B R/R 5’9” 188 08/16/1992 20 2010 United States
10 Elkins, Austin IF S/R 5’11” 185 12/21/1990 21 2012 United States
64 Fernandez, Jose SS R/R 6’1” 170 05/20/1993 19 2010 Dominican Republic
29 Fontana, Nolan SS L/R 5’11” 190 06/06/1991 21 2012 United States
16 Correa, Carlos SS R/R 6’4″ 190 09/22/1994 17 2012 Puerto Rico
37 Ibanez, Angel 3B L/R 6’2″ 220 09/10/1990 22 2012 United States
66 Meyer, Jonathan 3B R/R 6’1” 195 11/01/1990 21 2009 United States
96 Nash, Telvin 1B R/R 6’1” 220 02/20/1991 21 2009 United States
28 Ruiz, Rio 3B L/R 6’1″ 180 05/22/1994 18 2012 United States
3 Aplin, Andrew OF L/L 6’0″ 190 03/21/1991 21 2012 United States
88 Joyce, Terrell OF R/R 6’3″ 230 05/29/1992 20 2012 United States
92 Meredith, Brandon RF R/R 6’2” 225 12/19/1989 22 2011 United States
97 Muren, Andrew OF L/R 6’6″ 195 11/22/1988 23 2011 United States
78 Ovando, Ariel RF L/L 6’4” 190 09/15/1993 19 2011 Dominican Republic
58 Santana, Domingo OF R/R 6’5” 200 08/05/1992 20 2009 Dominican Republic
53 Tucker, Preston OF L/L 6’0″ 217 07/06/1990 22 2012 United States

Astros’ all-time 25-man roster

Here is the Astros’ all-time 25-man roster, as voted on by fans and a panel of experts. What do you think? Any glaring omissions?

As part of the ballclub’s season-long celebration of its 50th anniversary, an All-Time Astros 25-man roster has been selected by a combination of online fan voting and the voting of a panel of 12 experienced baseball writers and broadcasters.

The roster, which consists of 12 pitchers, 13 position players and a manager, includes starters at each position,  a five-man starting pitching rotation, a seven-man bullpen with a designated closer and five utility players. All five utility players were everyday players in their Astros careers while five of the seven members selected for the bullpen were starting pitchers while with Houston.

All-Time Astros 25-Man Roster

Starting Position Players
C: Alan Ashby
1B: Jeff Bagwell
2B: Craig Biggio
SS: Craig Reynolds
3B: Doug Rader
OF: Lance Berkman
OF: Cesar Cedeno
OF: Jose Cruz
Starting Rotation
RHP Larry Dierker
RHP Joe Niekro
RHP Nolan Ryan
RHP Roy Oswalt
RHP Mike Scott
RHP Don Wilson
Utility Players
OF Jimmy Wynn
1B Bob Watson
2B Joe Morgan
2B Bill Doran
3B Ken Caminiti
RHP J.R. Richard
RHP Shane Reynolds
LHP Mike Hampton
RHP Roger Clemens
RHP Dave Smith
LHP Billy Wagner
Larry Dierker


The panel of 12 judges that helped select the All-Time Roster have over 200 seasons combined of covering Astros baseball. 
-Brian McTaggart – Astros beat writer
-Zachary Levine – Houston Chronicle beat writer
-Richard Justice – columnist
-Charlie Pallilo – Sports Talk 790 AM
-Milo Hamilton – HOF Astros radio broadcaster
-Rene Cardenas – Writer, former Spanish broadcaster
-Gene Elston – HOF former Astros radio broadcaster
-Matt Thomas – Sports Talk 790 AM
-Mickey Herskowitz – former Houston Chronicle writer
– Bill Brown – Astros TV broadcaster
-Ivy McLemore – Former Houston Post Sports Editor
-Mark Berman – Fox 26 Sports Director/sportscaster


As part of the online voting process, fans had the opportunity to vote on a different portion of the All-Time Roster each month from April to July.

April – Position Players (all starting positions, excluding pitcher)

May – Utility Players (the five best position players not selected to starting lineup)

June – Starting Pitchers, Closer

July – Manager, Bullpen (the top six pitchers not named to the starting rotation or as closer).

Astros name Minor League Players of the Month

The Astros player development department has named the following Players of the Month for August: Oklahoma City: LHP Brett Oberholtzer, OF Jimmy Paredes, C Carlos Corporan; Corpus Christi: RHP Paul Clemens, OF Jake Goebbert, IF Ben Orloff; Lancaster: RHP Nick Tropeano, OF Domingo Santana; C Carlos Perez; Lexington: RHP Mike Foltynewicz, OF Brandon Meredith, IF Nolan Fontana; Tri-City: RHP Lance Day, OF Preston Tucker, C Tyler Heineman; Greeneville: RHP Daniel Minor, IF Brian Blasik; Gulf Coast League: RHP Edison Frias, IF Juan Santana, OF Teoscar Hernandez; Dominican Summer League: LHP Edwin Villarroel, IF Luis Reynoso, C Pedro Coa. These awards are chosen every month by the field staff of each team.

Triple A Oklahoma City

*LHP Brett Oberholtzer, Pitcher of the Month: 1-4, 2.68 ERA (12ER/40.1IP), 34 SO, 7 BB, in 6 starts in August

*IF Jimmy Paredes, Offensive Player of the Month: .293 (29×99), 14 R, 9 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 6 SB, .485 SLG in 23 games in August

*C Carlos Corporan, Defensive Player of the Month: 67 games at catcher, .998 FP (1E/446TC), .444 CS% (28CS/63ATT)

Notes: Brett Oberholtzer posted a 2.68 ERA in six August starts…threw 5 straight quality starts to end the month and did not allow more than two runs in each of those 5 starts for a 2.02 ERA (8ER/35.2IP)…walked just 7 batters in his 40.1 innings pitched…Jimmy Paredes earned his 2nd consecutive OKC Offensive Player of the Month award after hitting .293 with a .485 slugging percentage in the month of August…the switch-hitter had 9 multi-hit games during the month, including his 6th 4-hit performance of the year on August 3 at Tacoma…hit .318 (161×507) with 28 doubles, 13 homers, 59 RBI and 37 stolen bases in 124 total games for the RedHawks this season before getting promoted to the Astros’ Major League club…ranked T-1st in the PCL in steals, 2nd in hits and total bases (242) and 3rd in runs scored (92) at the time of his callup…Carlos Corporan has made just 1 error in 446 total chances for a .998 fielding percentage in 67 games at catcher this season…his .444 caught stealing percentage (28CS/63ATT) leads the PCL among catchers with at least 60 stolen base attempts.

Double A Corpus Christi

*RHP Paul Clemens,Pitcher of the Month: 3-2, 3.09 ERA (12ER/35.0IP), 30 SO, 10 BB, .254 (34×134) opp. avg. in 6 starts in August

*OF Jake Goebbert, Offensive Player of the Month: .389 (28×72), 17 R, 5 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 13 RBI, 12 BB 1.082 OPS in 26 games in August

*IF Ben Orloff, Defensive Player of the Month: 38 games at shortstop, .981 FP (3E/162TC), 21 double plays

Notes: Paul Clemens went 3-2 with a 3.09 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 6 starts in July…has been a key part of the Hooks’ playoff push as the club has won 4 of his 7 total starts…Jake Goebbert hit .389 with a .471 on-base percentage and a .611 slugging percentage in August, leading the Texas League in all three categories during the month…the 2009 13th round pick posted a .335 batting average (56×167) in the 2nd half this season…hehas hit .290 or better in each of the last 3 seasons in the Astros’ minor league system…Ben Orloff has a .981 fielding percentage in 38 games at shortstop for Corpus Christi this season…Orloff was named Lancaster’s Defensive Player of the Month in June.

Class A Advanced Lancaster

*RHP Nick Tropeano, Pitcher of the Month: 4-0, 2.15 ERA (9ER/37.2IP), 35 SO, 8 BB, .246 (35×142) opp. avg. in 6 starts in August

*OF Domingo Santana, Offensive Player of the Month: .333 (35×105), 26 R, 6 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 16 RBI, 16 BB .973 OPS in 29 games in August

*C Carlos Perez, Defensive Player of the Month: 26 games at catcher, .996 FP (1E/228TC), .467 CS% (14CS/30ATT)

Notes: Nick Tropeano went undefeated with a 2.15 ERA in 6 starts with Lancaster in August…led the league in ERA among pitchers with at least 5 starts, ranked 3rd in innings pitched and 6th in strikeouts during the month…5 of his 6 outings in the month were quality starts…in 12 total starts with Lancaster this year, he is 6-3 with a 3.31 ERA (26ER/70.2IP) and 69 punchouts…Domingo Santana hit at a .333 clip with a .449 on-base percentage and .524 slugging percentage during August…was named the California League Player of the Week for the week of August 27 to September 3, after hitting .484 (15×31) with 3 doubles, 4 home runs and 7 RBI during the week…hit a homer in 3 straight games from August 31 to September 2… for the season, is hitting .302 (138×457) with 26 doubles, 3 triples, 23 homers and 97 RBI…his .921 OPS ranks 7th in the California League…entered the season as the youngest

player in the league at 19 years old (turned 20 on August 5)…Carlos Perez has made just 1 error in 228 total chances for a .996 fielding percentage…has thrown out 14 of 30 attempted base stealers.

Class A Lexington

*RHP Mike Foltynewicz, Pitcher of the Month: 2-0, 1.99 ERA (5ER/22.2IP), 25 SO, 11 BB, .210 (17×81) opp. avg. in 4 starts in August

*OF Brandon Meredith, Offensive Player of the Month: .280 (21×75), 16 R, 5 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 10 BB, .533 SLG in 20 games in August

*IF Nolan Fontana,Defensive Player of the Month: 48 games at shortstop, .974 FP (6E/135TC), 33 double plays

Notes: Mike Foltynewicz is Lexington’s Pitcher of the Month for the 3rd time this season…was named the South Atlantic League’s Most Outstanding Pitcher for 2012…went 2-0 with a 1.99 ERA in 4 August starts…struck out 25 batters in 22.2 innings pitched…did not allow a run over 3 starts and 19.0 innings from August 6-21… struck out a career-high 10 batters in 6.0 innings on August 21 against Greensboro…posted a 14-4 record with a 3.14 ERA (53ER/152.0IP) and 125 strikeouts this season…ranked T-1st in the SAL in wins, 2nd in innings pitched, and 4th in ERA…owns the most career wins in Lexington history with 19 victories…Brandon Meredith hit at a .280  clip with 5 doubles and 4 homers in August…posted a .318 (61×192) average and hit 14 of his 15 total homers in the 2nd half…led the SAL in homers in the 2nd half, posting a .630 slugging percentage…Nolan Fontana posted a .974 fielding percentage in 48 games at shortstop this season for Lexington.

Short Season Class A Tri-City

*RHP Lance Day, Pitcher of the Month: 4-1, 2.97 ERA (6ER/30.0IP), 19 SO, 4 BB, .239 (28×117) opp. avg. in 5 starts in August

*OF Preston Tucker, Offensive Player of the Month: .352 (38×108), 24 R, 6 2B, 7 HR, 29 RBI, 10 BB, 1.012 OPS in 27 games in August

*C Tyler Heineman,Defensive Player of the Month: 36 games at catcher, .997 FP (1E/308TC), .406 CS% (13CS/32ATT)

Notes: Lance Day earned 4 wins with a 2.97 ERA during 5 August starts…fanned 19 batters as opposed to just 4 walks…the undrafted free agent is 6-1 with a 2.73 ERA (16ER/52.2IP) in 11 appearances (8 starts) this year for Tri-City…Preston Tucker hit .352 with a .410 on-base percentage and a .602 slugging percentage in 27 games in August…had a 15-game hitting streak from August 10-26…hitting .327 (53×162) with 8 homers this year for Tri-City…Tyler Heineman has made just 1 error in 308 total chances for a .997 fielding percentage…has thrown out 13 of 32 attempted base stealers.

Rookie Level Greeneville

*RHP Daniel Minor, Pitcher of the Month: 3-0, 0.35 ERA (1ER/26.0IP), 25 SO, 2 BB, .135 (12×89) opp. avg. in 4 starts in August

*IF Brian Blasik, Offensive Player of the Month: .329 (27×82), 12 R, 3 2B, 2 3B, 17 RBI in 21 games in August

*IF Brian Blasik,Defensive Player of the Month: 48 games at 2B, 5 games at 3B, 1 game in LF, .983 FP (4E/230TC)

Notes: Daniel Minor gave up just 1 run in 26.0 innings pitched in August…allowed 12 hits and issued 2 walks, striking out 25 in his 4 starts…had a 19.0-scoreless innings streak from August 4-17…struck out 11 over 7.0 innings of 1-hit ball on August 10 at Princeton…was named the Appalachian League Pitcher of the Week for the week of August 6-12…led the league with a 2.75 ERA (18ER/59.0IP) this season…Brian Blasik hit .329 during the month of August and was named Greeneville’s team MVP…hit .318 (69×217) for the year…Blasik was also named Greeneville’s Defensive Player of the Month for the 2nd consecutive month…recorded a .983 fielding percentage after making 4 errors in 230 total chances.

Gulf Coast League

*RHP Edison Frias, Pitcher of the Month: 3-1, 2.78 ERA (3ER/16.1IP), 12 SO, 1 BB,  in 3 appearances (1 start) in August

*IF Juan Santana, Offensive Player of the Month: .310 (22×71), 5 2B, 10 RBI  in 20 games in August

*OF Teoscar Hernandez,Defensive Player of the Month: 48 games in the outfield, .957 FP (5E/115TC)

Notes: Edison Frias posted a 2.78 ERA in 16.1 innings pitched in August…made a 7.1 inning relief appearance on August 9 against the GCL Cardinals, allowing 1 run on 4 hits…did not allow an earned run in 7.0 frames in his only start in August…went 4-1 with a 2.14 ERA (11ER/46.1IP) this season for the club…Juan Santana hit .310 in the month of August…Teoscar Hernandez put up a .957 fielding percentage in 48 games in the outfield with the GCL Astros…ended his season with the Class A Lexington Legends.

Dominican Summer League

*LHP Edwin Villarroel, Pitcher of the Month: 2-1, 0.53 ERA (1ER/17.0IP), 3 SO, 3 BB in 4 apps. (2 starts) in August

*IF Luis Reynoso, Offensive Player of the Month: .364 (24×66), 8 R, 7 2B, 9 RBI, 9 BB, .917 OPS in 19 games in August

*C Pedro Coa,Defensive Player of the Month: 26 games at catcher,  .960 FP (7E/174TC), .595 CS%

Notes: Edwin Villarroel was named the Pitcher of the Month for the DSL after allowing just 1 earned run in 17.0 innings pitched in 4 appearances (2 starts) in August…was named to the DSL All-Star team…posted a 2.25 ERA (17ER/68.0IP) on the year, leading the team in innings pitched..Luis Reynoso hit .364 with 7 doubles in August…finished the year with a .281 (48×171) batting average and 11 doubles…Pedro Coa had a .960 fielding percentage and threw out 25 out of 42 attempted base stealers.

Astros-Pirates preview

The Astros and Pirates open a three-game series today at PNC Park. Over the last month, both teams have struggled. Well, the Astros have struggled for the past three months, but the Pirates are really sucking air.

Since Aug. 3, the Astros are 6-22, which is the worst record in the Majors in that span. The Cubs are next at 8-22 and the Pirates have the third-worst record at 10-19.

Here are some more notes on the Astros and Pirates:

— The Astros enter the series with just 13 wins in 66 road games this year. In 1979, Astros pitcher Joe Niekro won 13 games on the road, going 13-7 with a 3.32 ERA.

— The Pirates are enjoying the best home season they’ve had in decades. They have a .606 winning percentage at home, which is their best since posting a .654 winning percentage at home in 1992. They have a 2.98 ERA at home, the best since a 2.79 ERA in 1984.

— There’s quite a disparity between the ages of the Astros’ and Pirates’ rosters. The Astros’ average age is 26 years, 255 days, which is the youngest in the Majors. The Pirates are 28 years, 309 days, which is the 15th oldest in the Majors.

— Brett Wallace has an unusual breakdown for the Astros: all of his home runs have come on the road, but his batting average is much higher at Minute Maid Park than it is away from home. He’s hitting .317 at home with no home runs and .237 on the road with six home runs.

— In his two impressive Major League seasons, Astros 2B Jose Altuve has not been able to figure out Pirate pitching. He’s hitting .230 (14-for-61) in his career against the Pirates, which is the lowest of any NL Central opponent.

— Edgar Gonzalez last pitched in an MLB game in August 2011 for Colorado, and hasn’t started a big-league contest since September 2009 while with Oakland. His career has been a pretty extensive odyssey. He was with the D-backs from 2003-08 and was sent down eight times. He pitched for the A’s in 2009 and was signed by the Dodgers, Rays and Rockies in 2010-11, pitching in one Major League game. Since November, he has been signed by the A’s, Rockies and Astros.