Results tagged ‘ Arizona Fall League ’
Jarred Cosart, the Astros’ top-ranked pitching prospect by MLB.com, has been selected to start in Saturday’s Arizona Fall League Rising Stars game, which will be televised on MLB Network. Cosart is 0-2 with a 7.36 ERA in four starts for the Mesa Solar Sox, but the results aren’t as important while he works on command of a third pitch.
The seventh annual contest will be televised at 7 p.m. CT on Saturday from Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Cosart, representing the Solar Sox and East Division team, will square off against Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson of the Peoria Javelinas and West Division club.
Cosart’s normal turn in the rotation would have been Thursday, but he’ll throw in the bullpen instead to get prepared for Saturday’s game.
“I’m really excited to play in that,” he said. “I got to watch it last year and a lot of the guys that played like [Mike] Trout and [Bryce] Harper, guys that made an immediate impact in the big leagues. Obviously, that’s the goal for anybody. It’s another notch in the belt, another steppingstone to get where I want to be and a chance to show against top competition.”
Cosart is one of a handful of Astros players scheduled to appear at Friday night’s brand launch party at Minute Maid Park. That will make for a whirlwind weekend for the Houston-area product, who will catch an early morning flight to Houston on Friday and another early flight back to Phoenix on Saturday before pitching in the Rising Stars Game.
“I’ll get a nap and be ready to go,” he said.
The following is a breakdown of all the players in the Astros Minor League system who are rosters to play this fall and winter. The players listed belowon are the reserve lists for their respective clubs. This does not mean necessarily that they will play winter ball, just that they are on a roster.
ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE
Mesa Solar Sox — 3B Bobby Borchering, RHP Jarred Cosart, RHP Chia-Jen Lo, SS Jiovanni Mier (taxi squad), 1B Jonathan Singleton, LHP Alex Sogard, OF George Springer, P Nick Tropeano.
DOMINICAN WINTER LEAGUE
Toros del Este — LHP Fernando Abad, SS Jose Fernandez, C Cristian Moronta.
Gigante de Cibao — RHP Jose Ciserno, RHP Rhiner Cruz, RHP Enerio Del Rosario, OF Jimmy Paredes.
Leones de Escogido — RHP Jorge DeLeon, OF Fernando Martinez.
Tigres de Licey — RHP Juan Minaya, OF Domingo Santana, UT Ruben Sosa, RHP Jose Valdez, RHP Henry Villar.
Aguilas Cibaenas — OF Emilio King, SS Jonathan Villar.
Estrellas Orientales — RHP Jose Trinidad.
MEXICAN WINTER LEAGUE
Naranjeros de Hermosillo — RHP Edgar Gonzalez
Orientales de Granda — C Marlon Avea.
Tigres del Chinandega — OF Mesac Laguna.
Gigantes de Carolina — LHP Xavier Cedeno, C Carlos Corporan, C Rene Garcia, 2B Enrique Hernandez, C Jobduan Morales.
Criollos de Cagua — LHP Luis Cruz, OF Edwin Gomez, C Roberto Pena.
Indios de Mayaguez — SS Angel Sanchez.
VENEZUELAN WINTER LEAGUE
Magallanes — 2B Jose Altuve, C Luis Alvarez, RHP Enderson Franco, LHP Gabriel Garcia, C Ernesto Genoves, RHP David Martinez, OF Jose Monzon, RHP Juri Perez, RHP Carlos Quevedo.
Leones de Caracas — OF Brandon Barnes, SS Marwin Gonzaelz, RHP Luis Ordosgoitti, C Carlos Perez
Aguilas de Zuila — RHP Elieser Hernandez, SS Kristian Trompiz, RHP Arcenio Leon, SS Arturo Michelena.
Tigres de Aragua — 2B Jose Martinez.
There will be more on the Arizona Fall League and some other Astros playing in winter ball when the story posts on Astros.com later today, but here’s a sneak peek:
Astros general manager Ed Wade came away impressed after spending some time earlier this month getting a close-up look at the club’s prospects that are participating in the Arizona Fall League, which is about halfway through its schedule.
The seven players from the Houston organization are competing for the Salt River Rafters.
“We’re pleased with the way things are going there,” said Wade, who traveled to Arizona early in the month with assistant general manager David Gottfried. “We missed Jason Castro while we were there. I had seen him in instructional league the previous week and we had given Jason permission to be in a wedding and we missed him when we were out there. All reports we have gotten have been very solid.”
Astros Major League scout Paul Ricciarini is currently in Arizona and has sent positive reports back about Castro, who tore his right anterior cruciate ligament running the bases early in Spring Training and had season-ending knee surgery in March.
Castro, who’s expected to be the team’s starting catcher next year, was hitting .167 with five strikeouts in only 12 at-bats in four games (he was slowed by a ribcage injury), but he went 2-for-4 with a double, a run and an RBI on Thursday and, more importantly, is in good shape physically.
“Paul was very impressed with the way Jason has progressed since the last time he had a chance to see him,” Wade said.
The player putting up the best numbers for the Astros is first baseman Kody Hinze, who slugged 29 homers last season between Class A Lancaster and Double-A Corpus Christi combined. He was hitting .294 with two homers and nine RBIs through nine games.
Jake Goebbert, a left-handed-hitting outfielder who progressed from Lancaster to Triple-A Oklahoma City last season and hit a combined .290 with 12 homers and 67 RBIs, was batting .162 with two homers and three RBIs in 10 games. Speedy outfielder Jay Austin had appeared in five games and was hitting .263 with three stolen bases.
“From the position players we did see, Kody Hinze was swinging the bat well and driving in some runs,” Wade said. “Jay Austin was out there on a taxi squad and played a couple of games and got on base, and we see the same tools and same out of Jay since we drafted him and signed him. He just needs to continue to be given opportunities. He’s probably one of those guys that’s going to take a level at a time to get his feet on the ground and show what he’s capable of doing.
“Goebbert played in a couple of games and swung the bat well. He knows how to play the game the right way and we like what we saw out of him.
Left-hander Dallas Keuchel, who went 9-7 with a 3.17 ERA at Double-A before getting his feet wet at Triple-A last season, is 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA in three starts in Arizona.
“He’s one of those guys you have to ignore the radar gun when he’s pitching because he’s not going to put up big gun numbers,” Wade said. “In the game I saw him pitch, he was consistent with what I’ve seen out of him every time he’s pitched. He commanded his pitches well and he’s got an excellent changeup and changes speeds.”
Right-hander Jason Stoffel had appeared in six games and allowed five earned runs and eight walks and struck out nine batters in five innings. Right-hander Josh Zeid was 1-0 with a 9.00 ERA in six games, but he had allowed only one run in his past three outings entering play Monday.
The Arizona Fall League gets underway today, giving the Astros and other Major League teams the opportunity see some of their top prospects play in what is considered a graduate school for prospects.
The Astros have eight players in Arizona playing for the Peoria Javelinas: pitchers David Carpenter, Kyle Greenwalt, Matt Nevarez and Patrick Urckfitz; infielder Koby Clemens; and outfielders Jay Austin, Brandon Barnes and Jack Shuck.
In fact, Nevarez will be blogging about his exprerience and you can follow it by clicking here.
Outfielder T.J. Steele and pitcher Sergio Perez were originally scheduled to play, but Steele is still recovering from an injury and Perez had a personal commitment. Carpenter and Barnes are on the taxi squad, meaning they’ll only play on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Each of the six Arizona Fall League teams plays a 32-game schedule through Nov. 18. All Triple-A and Double-A player are eligible to play provided they are on those rosters no later than Aug. 16. Two players below the Double-A level are also allowed to play.
Nearly 60 percent of the players to have played in league’s first 18 years of existence have made the Major Leagues, including more than 70 percent of players from a year ago. Astros catcher Jason Castro played in Arizona last fall.
“It’s a great environment because the competition level is always very high in Arizona,” Astros general manager Ed Wade said. “It’s a different environment than what exists in Latin America in the winter leagues. We’ve got big crowds and the competition amongst the clubs is significant.
“The Arizona Fall League provides an opportunity for top prospects to face top prospects, and all you have to do is look at the history of the Arizona Fall League to see how many outstanding Major League players have come through the program to recognize it’s importance. We’re excited about what we saw in the instructional league, anxious to see kids playing in the Fall League. We’re certainly monitoring what’s coming out of the other Latin programs as well.”
The Astros will scout the entire league with their pro scouts on assignment, with assistant general managers David Gottfried and Bobby Heck among those also going out to check out the league. Wade plans to head to Arizona to see four games later this month.
Here’s a look at the players the Astros sent to Arizona:
- RHP David Carpenter, 25 years old: Acquired from the Cardinals in the Pedro Feliz trade, he went a combined 6-4 with a 2.51 ERA in 55 games in relief between Class A Palm Beach and Lancaster. He pitched in six games after being acquired from the Astros, going 1-1 with a 3.52 ERA.
- RHP Kyle Greenwalt, 22 years old: A 20th-round draft pick in 2007, he went 8-7 with a 5.93 ERA in 27 starts in Class A Lancaster. He allowed 191 hits and struck out 90 batters 136 2/3 innings.
- RHP Matt Nevarez, 23 years old: Injuries slowed him down this year, but he went 2-1 with a 3.76 ERA in 36 relief appearances after appearing in Major League Spring Training with the Astros, who acquired him from the Texas Rangers in the Ivan Rodriguez trade.
- LHP Pat Urckfitz 22 years old: Spent most of last season at Class A Lancaster, going 5-9 with a 4.13 ERA in 35 games, including 12 starts. He appeared in one game at Double-A Corpus Christi at the end of the season.
- IF Koby Clemens, 23 years old: Has hit 48 homers and driven in 208 runs in the past two years between Class A Lexington and Double-A Corpus Christi. Last season at Corpus, he hit .241 with 22 doubles, three triples, 26 homers and 85 RBIs.
- OF Jay Austin, 20 years old: The speedy Austin was the youngest player in the California League to begin last season and wound up hitting .261 with 25 doubles, 13 triples, 10 homers, 59 RBIs and 54 stolen bases in 74 attempts for Class A Lancaster.
- OF Brandon Barnes, 24 years old: Taken in the sixth round of the 2005 Draft, Barnes hit .269 with 31 doubles, five triples, 27 homers and 80 RBIs last season at Class A Lancaster. He played six games at Triple-A Round Rock at the end of the year and hit .286 in 21 at-bats.
- OF Jack Shuck, 23 years old: Spent most of last season at Double-A Corpus Christi and batted .298 with two homers and 28 RBIs. He played in 36 games at Triple-A Round Rock at the end of the year and hit .273 in 139 at-bats. Shuck was taken in sixth round of 2008 Draft.
New Astros manager Brad Mills will head to the Arizona Fall League this week for a get-to-know-you-better-meeting with general manager Ed Wade and members of his coaching staff, including third-base coach Dave Clark and hitting coach Sean Berry.
“Ed was real good about allowing us to bring in the coaching staff and sit and talk and have some meetings and get to know each other as a group No. 1, and talk individually about things about the ballclub,” Mills said. “We’ll learn about the ballclub and learn about a lot of the players we have in the organization and watch the fall league games.”
Here’s an update on each of the Astros’ prospects are doing in the AFL while playing for the Peoria Saguaros (through Sunday):
RHP Evan Englebrook: The 6-foot-8 reliever has a 5.87 ERA in six games. In 7 2/3 innings, he’s allowed 11 hits and struck out eight batters. Englebrook split time between Triple-A Round Rock and Double-A Corpus Christi and was 3-1 with a 4.25 ERA this year.
Assistant GM Ricky Bennett says: “He continues to improve. The one thing we like about him is his ability to throw down hill. He creates a good arm angle. He’s velocity has been up. He’s been sitting at 92 to 97 [mph], which is good. He’s a big, tall guy and his mechanics can get out of whack, but he’s showing more consistency and more velocity. He’s a late-bloomer.”
RHP Chia-Jen Lo: The Taiwan native was 1-0 with a 3.48 ERA in six games in relief before having to return to Taiwan to complete some paperwork. He pitched 10 1/3 innings and allowed seven hits, two walks and struck out 12 batters. Lo split this year between Class A Lancaster and Double-A Corpus Christi and was 1-2 with a 2.10 ERA and 75 strikeouts in 64 1/3 innings.
Assistant GM Ricky Bennett says: “He did pretty well. Our reports were all good. He continues to throw the ball well and pitch well. He’s really focused on using his breaking ball a lot more and has made progress with it. It’s not where it needs to be, but he’s starting to show more confidence and the ability to throw it for strikes. If he continues that focus, hopefully he comes into camp ready to pick up where he left off.”
RHP Wilton Lopez: After appearing in eight games with the Astros near the end of the season, including two starts, Lopez has pitched in three games in Arizona (two starts) and is 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA. He threw four innings in relief in his most recent outing Thursday and allowed no runs and one hit.
Assistant GM Ricky Bennett says: “He’s starting to become a lot more consistent with his arm slot and his breaking ball is more consistent, and that’s due to a higher arm slot. That’s something we’ve worked on since we signed him. He continues to work hard and make adjustments. It’s just a matter of getting him some mound time.”
RHP Danny Meszaros: Coming off a solid split season between Class A Salem (0-0, 0.71 ERA) and Double-A Corpus Christi (3-3, 3.36 ERA), Meszaros has struggled in the desert. He’s pitched six games in relief and is 0-0 with a 9.53 ERA, allowing six hits and six runs in 5 2/3 innings. He’s also struck out eight.
Assistant GM Ricky Bennett says: “We’re not necessarily working on anything in particular in terms of mecanics. We just are trying to get him to have better command more than anything else. He pitches late in games and needs to get his command of his fastball down more consistently and use his breaking ball the same way.”
C Jason Castro: Last year’s first-round pick and catcher of the future is hitting .171 with a .286 on-base percentage and .257 slugging percentage in 35 at-bats. He has six hits, including one home run, and was walked five times and struck out eight times. But remember, this has been a long year for Castro, who endured his first full season of pro ball and then played for the U.S. in an international tournament in September.
Assistant GM Ricky Bennett says: “He’s doing fine. He’s not tearing it up numbers-wise by any means, but he continues to work well with pitchers. I got a reporter from David Bell, the manager, who said he’s receiving the ball well and could improvely slightly on fastballs down in teh zone. He has an excellent idea of calling a game and is throwing well and understands how to play the game the right way.”
2B Jose Vallejo: The infielder acquired from the Texas Rangers in the Ivan Rodriguez trade, Vallejo is hitting .135 with one RBI in 24 at-bats and six games. He has three hits, all singles, and has struck out six times.
Assistant GM Ricky Bennett says: “He’s doing OK. He’s staying on the ball better and his defense has been solid. He has good range, soft hands and an accurate arm. He’s a second baseman, but has had to play a little third base because of the makeup of the roster. He’s very athletic and plays hard. He’s been pulling off the ball, but lately he’s been trying to stay on the ball and use the whole field.”
OF Jon Gaston: Gaston, whose AFL Twitter updates can be followed by clicking here, is hitting .244 (11-for-45) with a double, four triples, one home runs and 10 RBIs. He has 10 walks and 20 strikeouts for an on-base percentage of .393 and a slugging percentage of .511. He hit .278 with 31 doubles, 15 triples, 35 homers and 100 RBIs at Class A Lancaster this year.
Assistant GM Ricky Bennett says: “He got off to a little bit of a slow start, and a lot of it is just timing. He had timing issues during the season and would get in longer slumps. He wouldn’t be aggressive and we kind of saw that when he first went out there. It took him some time to get his feet under him, but he has been swinging the bat better lately. He hit a grand slam a few games ago and that got him back on track. He’s hitting for power and takin ghis walks, but he still strikes out a little too much for us, and that’s something we have to address. He can play all three outfield position and is a gamer.”