Results tagged ‘ Corpus Christi ’
Astros prospect Mark Appel has seen fellow pitchers Lance McCullers Jr. and Vince Velasquez and shortstop Carlos Correa – three guys he began the season with in Double-A Corpus Christi – reach the Majors and have an impact on the big league club this year.
Appel, who got off to a slow start for the Hooks while others were being sent straight to Houston, didn’t get discouraged or stop working, and now he’s poised to perhaps join them with the Astros in the near future. Appel, the former No. 1 draft pick, threw a seven-inning complete game Sunday in the latest in a stretch of strong outings.
In his last five starts, Appel (5-1) has allowed seven earned runs, eight walks and struck out 24 in 29 innings, going 2-0 with a 2.14 ERA. Overall, he’s lowered his ERA to 4.26 from 6.02 following his May 22 start against Midland.
“I think just the circumstance the whole organization is in with a lot of success all the way through, especially at the big league level, shows that the Astros are not scared to bring up their best players,” Appel told MLB.com. “And so, Lance and Vince were pitching great. I’m very close friends with both of them and text them all the time and just so excited to see them do their thing. I want to be alongside with them. I believe I can. I know I will at some point.
“It’s funny. That team was pretty special here in Corpus at the beginning of the season and now three of those guys are having an impact on the big league team, and we would all go out to dinner and talk about what it would be like to all play together in Houston. That dream is becoming a reality pretty quickly. I’m excited to join them whenever that may be, but until then I’m going to keep working hard and having fun and trusting the process.”
The Astros have been trying to get Appel be more aggressive early in counts and get ahead of hitters more and establish his fastball, which he’s been able to do recently.
“I think just everything has kind of been going off my fastball, so getting my fastball right and getting it down in the zone and throwing it early in the count, that really opens up a lot of doors for my off-speed stuff or maybe elevating my fastball by design and so on and so forth,” he said. “Being able to get ahead of hitters, it puts you in a pitcher’s count and also you end up not really walking too many guys.”
Appel also said he’s gained confidence and trusts his stuff more, which he credits to the work he put in with pitching coach Doug Brocail between starts.
Confidence in the work and really trusting, it’s the best thing for me to prepare for each game,” he said.
Appel still believes he can pitch in Houston this year, and whether the Astros would promote him at some point straight from Double-A like they did with McCullers and Velasquez or move him up to Triple-A first remains to be seen. The Astros could be getting veteran Scott Feldman back into the rotation within the next month, so there might not be a spot for Appel just yet, especially if they make a trade to add another arm.
My goal is to get to Houston to help the big league team out, and I have confidence that I can get big league hitters and go deep into games and help the team win,” he said. “Whenever the Astros feel that time is correct, I want to be ready. That’s really the best answer I can give.
“I’m working hard here in Double-A and I’ll continue working hard and having fun and competing all the way up until they decide to send me somewhere else, and then I’ll work hard there. The process stays the same wherever I am. The work I put in stays the same wherever I am. I believe I can really help the team out. That’s really what the goal is for this season and long term.”
The Astros have set their preliminary 2015 Minor League rosters for four of their affiliates, Triple-A Fresno, Double-A Corpus Christi, Class A Lancaster and Class A Quad Cities. The announcement was made by Astros director of player Development Quinton McCracken.
These rosters are subject to change and will not be officially finalized until the Minor League Opening Day. Rosters do not include disabled list players.
* – denotes left-hander
# – denotes switch-hitter
The Astros have set their preliminary 2012 minor league rosters for four of their affiliates, Triple-A Oklahoma City, Double-A Corpus Christi, Class A Lancaster and Class A Lexington. The announcement was made by Astros director of player development Fred Nelson.
These rosters are subject to change and will not be officially finalized until the Minor League Opening Day. Rosters do not include Disabled List players.
ENERIO DEL ROSARIO
* – denotes left-hander
# – denotes switch-hitter
JORGE DE LEON
The Astros’ eight Minor League affiliates went a combined 337-488, with no team finishing with a winning record. Of the four full-season clubs, Triple-A Oklahoma City finished with the best record at 68-75 in the Pacific Coast League. Double-A Corpus Christi went 50-90 overall, Class A Lancaster was 55-85 overall and Class A Lexington was 59-79 overall.
Astros director of player development Fred Nelson wished the teams’ collective performances would have been better, but the club pushed players aggressively through the system this year and continued to send players to the Major Leagues.
“I would say we’re disappointed from a team standpoint, but I spent some time over the weekend looking at some things and our clubs have been very young,” Nelson said. “And so it makes it difficult at times to compete. That’s no excuse, but certainly our clubs have been young and we’re also just one of seven other clubs that field seven teams here in the United States, so you spread your players a little bit thinner. The individual performances have been very rewarding.”
The system sent several players to the Major Leagues, including third baseman Jimmy Paredes, second baseman Jose Altuve and left fielder J.D. Martinez, each of whom made the jump from Double-A to start in the big leagues. Twenty-year-old pitcher Jordan Lyles made 15 starts for the Astros.
“We moved a lot of players this year, some of it by need,” Nelson said. “Also, just the domino effect. When you take guys to the big leagues it creates holes and opportunities, and we really pushed a lot of kids and most have held their own and done quite well and positioned themselves to be pretty good players for us.”
The biggest impact on the system came when the team traded away Jeff Keppinger, Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn near the Trade Deadline. The Astros received 10 players in return, including four of the Phillies’ top prospects – pitchers Jarred Cosart, first baseman Jonathan Singleton, pitcher Josh Zeid and a player to be named later that turned out to be outfielder Domingo Santana.
Pitcher Henry Sosa, who came from the Giants in the Keppinger deal, joined the Astros rotation and has pitched well. Two players acquired from the Braves – outfielder Jordan Schafer and pitcher Juan Abreu – are in the Major Leagues.
“The influx of players, especially the pitchers we got in the trades, have helped us at the Double-A and Triple-A levels moving forward,” Nelson said. “And some of the young kids, the Singleton kid and the signing of [first-round pick George] Springer and the Santana kid that we got from Philadelphia, has really helped us get younger.”
Springer is scheduled to go the instructional league in Florida, and the team is exploring the possibility of trying to find him a winter ball spot in a less competitive environment that Venezuela or the Dominican Republic.
“I think he’ll have a busy offseason playing and that should position himself well to come to Spring Training with a good idea of what’s expected and what’s here,” Nelson said.
The Astros were, of course, thrilled with what Kody Hinze was able to do while splitting the season between Class A Lancaster and Double-A Corpus Christi. He hit a combined .306 with 29 homers and 98 RBIs. He had a .458 on-base percentage and a 1.083 OPS in 80 games at Lancaster, which is in the hitting-friendly California League.
One of the players that opened eyes this season is left-handed hitting outfielder Jacob Goebbert, who began the year in Lancaster and finished in Triple-A Oklahoma City. He hit a combined .290 with 12 homers and 67 RBIs with a .352 on-base percentage.
The Astros were pleased with the progress of shortstop Jonathan Villar, who was acquired last year in a trade with the Phillies. He began the season at Lancaster and finished up at Corpus Christi and began to mature and settle into his new surroundings.
Nelson was also impressed with right-hander Jake Buchanan, a starter who was drafted in the eighth round in 2010. He went 5-10 with a 3.91 ERA at Lancaster, walking 35 batters and striking out 102 in 158 2/3 innings in the hitter-friendly California League.
“He pitched exceptionally well,” Nelson said. “We moved him for his last start, with [Lucas] Harrell coming to the big leagues, and he went to Double-A and threw seven innings and gave up a run. That was a nice ending to the season. You’ve got to be excited about what he did.”
Outfielder Austin Wates, the team’s third-round pick in 2010 out of Virginia Tech, batted .300 with nine triples, six homers and 75 RBIs this year in 526 at-bats at Lancaster.
“He’s somebody that had not played a lot in the organization,” Nelson said. “He signed late and went to Tri-City and for the first time and in a full season to go out to the Cal League and do what he did, ending up at .300 and driving in 70-plus runs, that’s good.”
As far as the team’s most recent first-round selections, 2010 pick Delino DeShields Jr. batted just .220 with 30 stolen bases in Class A Lexington of the South Atlantic League, but the Astros were pleased with the way he made the transition full-time from the outfield to second base.
“Delino DeShields actually played outstanding in the Sally League when you look at the fact he played all year at 18,” Nelson said. “I believe he may have been the youngest player in the league. To go from being a converted outfielder to the infield and what we saw of him a year ago in the instructional league to where he stands now defensively is pretty remarkable on his part.
“You have to give him a lot of credit, and a lot of credit to the development people who worked with him. He has a long way to go. He’s just 18 years old, and I could see him being a player that repeats in that league.”
Shortstop Jiovanni Mier, the team’s No. 1 pick in 2009, split the season between Lexington and Lancaster and batted a combined .239 with seven homers, 52 RBIs and a .345 on-base percentage.
“After the All-Star game, we moved him to California League and he played outstanding defense,” Nelson said. “He did get hurt; he missed two-to-three weeks with a knee injury. He has made some adjustments offensively and I think he’s had some challenges offensively. He’s positioned himself to come back and compete for a job in Double-A next year.”
Meanwhile, Vincent Velasquez is making progress in his return from Tommy John surgery. Velasquez was the Astros’ second-round pick in 2010 out of high school in Southern California, and he injured his elbow pitching at rookie-league Greeneville.
Nelson said he’ll throw some innings in the instructional league later this month.
“We’re excited about the progress he made, and we’re looking forward to him getting back into action,” he said. “It’s almost like we acquired another [player through the draft].”
The Astros have promoted 5-foot-7 second baseman Jose Altuve and shortstop Jonathan Villar to Double-A Corpus Christi from Class A Lancaster in a move that will move Jimmy Paredes to third base. Astros director of player development Fred Nelson said it’s time for Altuve and Villar to get tested at a higher level.
“Altuve is a guy that has come onto our radar screen,” Nelson said. “He’s continues to play well. He’s not a very big kid in stature, but he plays like a man and knows how to play the game and he’s a guy that’s a baseball player. There comes a point in time when we have to take notice of that and we certainly have.”
Altuve, 21, leads the California League with a ridiculous batting average of .408 (87-for-213) with five homers, 34 RBIs and a leading-leading seven triples. Villar, acquired by the Astros from the Phillies in the Roy Oswalt trade, was hitting .259 with four homers, 26 RBIs and 20 steals at Lancaster.
“We just felt the time was right to give [Altuve] an opportunity, and it gives the organization a chance to see how good of a player he is and how he adjusts to a higher level,” Nelson said. “He’s had a wonderful year offensively for us.”
Nelson said the Astros want Villar to focus on making better contact while at Corpus Christi.
“At times he overswings and comes off the ball,” he said. “He’s got enough power to drive balls in alleys and will hit some home runs. He needs to be more of a line drive, gap-to-gap guy, with better contact. His defensive skills are really quality.”
Paredes, acquired by the Astros from the Yankees in last year’s trade for Lance Berkman, is hitting .265 in 162 at-bats as Corpus Christi’s second baseman. He’s made a team-high nine errors.
“We don’t have any problems getting him at-bats at third,” said Nelson, who added that Paredes could get time at second in the instructional league or the Arizona Fall League. “As much as anything, it’s a way to get two other guys on the club and get them all at-bats. He’s the most logical guy to move over and take some reps at third.”
In other roster moves, third baseman David Flores is being sent down to Lancaster after hitting .212 at Corpus Christi. Left fielder Daniel Adamson is going on the disabled list at Lexington and the Astros are bringing outfielder Jordan Scott, who’s in extended Spring Training, to join the Lexington club. Henry Rodriguez, a utility infielder, is joining Lancaster from extended Spring Training.Nelson sang the praises of 2009 first-round Draft pick Jiovanni Mier, a shortstop who’s hitting .259 with five homers and 27 RBIs in 170 at-bats at Lexington. He’s committed eight errors in 45 games.
“He’s really matured and is playing really, really sound defense,” Nelson said. “We really like what we’ve seen there. I think he’s right on track. I think he’s matured as a player, he’s not as hard on himself and understands the season’s long and there’s going to be ups and downs and you have to be able to deal with both. I’m really impressed with how he’s conducted himself and how sound he’s been on defense.”
By now you’ve probably heard Astros farmhands Telvin Nash, an outfielder, and Chris Wallace, a catcher, each homered three times in the same Sunday for Class A Lexington in n 18-9 win. The entire story, including player reaction, can be found by clicking here.
Both Nash, who was the designated hitter on Sunday, and Wallace went 5-for-6 with four runs scored. Wallace had a club-record nine RBIs, which was one shy of the South Atlantic League record of 10. Nash finished with four RBIs. Both players tallied 15 total bases in the game, which was also one shy of the SAL record of 16.
Nash and Wallace are the first set of teammates ever to hit three home runs in the same game in Lexington franchise history.
Here’s what else is going on around the minors:
OF J.D. Martinez, the Astros Minor League player of the Year in 2010, is hitting .368 in 10 games at Double-A Corpus Christi with two home runs, 16 RBIs, a .422 on-base pct. and a .658 slugging pct. His RBI total is tops in the Texas League. Last season, Martinez, 23, hit a combined .341 at Class A Lexington and Corpus Christi with 18 home runs and 89 RBIs. Martinez has a .344 career minor league average with 32 home runs and 161 RBIs (.405 OBP, .558 SLG) since being selected by the Astros in the 20th round of the 2009 June Draft.
At Triple -A Oklahoma City, OF J.B. Shuck is hitting .353 and OF Brian Bogusevic is batting .324 with a homer and six RBIs. … 1B Koby Clemens is hitting .346 in eight games with two home runs and nine RBIs. … SS Tommy Manzella is hitting .314 with a homer and eight RBIs.
At Double-A Corpus Christi, SS Wladimir Sutil leads the Texas League in hits (20), is second in batting (.455) and is fourth in on-base percentage (.510). … IF Jimmy Paredes (seven), OF T.J. Steele (six) and Sutil (five) are first, second and third in the Texas League in stolen bases.
At Class A Lancaster, 20-year-old IF Jose Altuve ranks seventh in the California League with a.390 average and is tied for first in the league in triples (two). … RHP Jake Buchanan (1-1) is seventh in the California League in ERA with a 1.20 mark after two starts, and 21-year-old RHP Jose Cisnero has the best strikeouts-per-nine-innings ration (17.47) in the Minor Leagues with 22 strikeouts in just 11 2/3 innings of work.
At Class A Lexington, 20-year-old SS Jiovanni Mier, the Astros’ first pick in the 2009 June Draft, is hitting .343 in 10 games with a .477 on-base pct. … 3B Michael Kvasnicka, 22, is hitting .353 in nine games at Lexington with seven RBIs. … Kvasnicka was selected by the Astros in the supplemental first round (No. 33 overall) of the 2010 June Draft. … RHP Tanner Bushue, 19, is 2-0 in two starts with a 2.57 ERA. He was selected in the second round fo the 2009 June Draft.
Here are the 2011 rosters for the Astros 2011 full-season affiliates:
TRIPLE-A OKLAHOMA CITY
Manager: Tony DeFrancesco.
Pitching coach: Burt Hooton.
Hitting coach: Keith Bodie.
Season opener: April 7 at Memphis.
Starting pitchers – Jordan Lyles, Sergio Perez, Douglas Arguello, Fernando Nieve and Henry Villar.
Relievers – Gustavo Chacin, Sergio Escalona, Casey Fien, Fernando Rodriguez, Jose Valdez, Ross Wolf, Wesley Wright.
Catchers – Carlos Corporan, Robinson Cancel.
Infielders – Brian Dopirak, Koby Clemens, Anderson Hernandez, Tommy Manzella, Oswaldo Navarro, Jose Vallejo.
Outfielders – Collin DeLome, Drew Locke, Brian Bogusevic, J.B. Shuck.
DOUBLE-A CORPUS CHRISTI
Manager: Tom Lawless.
Pitching coach: Don Alexander.
Hitting coach: John Moses.
Season opener: April 7 at Tulsa.
Starting pitchers – Xavier Cedeno, Jonathan Aristil, Ross Seaton, Dallas Kuechel, Kyle Greenwalt.
Relievers – Erick Abreu, David Berner, David Carpenter, Arcenio Leon, Mat Nevarez, Patrick Urckfitz, Shane Wolf, Cesar Carrillo.
Catchers – Federico Hernandez, Brian Esposito.
Infielders – Jimmy Van Ostrand, Jimmy Paredes, Wladimir Sutil, David Flores, Andrew Simunic, Brandon Wikoff.
Outfielders – Jon Gaston, Brandon Barnes, T.J. Steele, J.D. Martinez.
CLASS A LANCASTER
Manager: Tom Spencer.
Pitching coach: Travis Driskill.
Hitting coach: Darryl Robinson.
Season opener: April 7 vs. High Desert.
Starting pitchers – Jose Cisnero, James Robinson, Robert Donovan, Jake Buchanan, Robert Doran.
Relievers – Wander Alvino, Kirk Clark, Zachary Grimmett, Wes Musick, Michael Ness, Colton Pitkin, Jose Trinidad.
Catchers – Rene Garcia, Ben Heath.
Infielders – Kody Hinze, Erik Castro, Jose Altuve, Jonathan Villar, Jonathan Meyer, Miguel Arrendell.
Outfielders – Jay Austin, Austin Wates, Jacob Goebbert, Jackson Hogue.
CLASS A LEXINGTON
Manager: Rodney Linares.
Pitching coach: Dave Borkowski.
Hitting coach: Joel Chimelis.
Season opener: April 7 vs. Charleston.
Starting pitchers – Mike Foltynewicz, Tanner Bushue, Brad Dydalewicz, Carlos Quevedo, Juan Minaya.
Relievers – Ruben Alaniz, Jason Chowning, Jorge De Leon, Gabriel Garcia, Murilo Gouvea, David Martinez, Alexander Sogard, Brian Streilein.
Catchers – Roberto Pena, Chris Wallace.
Infielders – Telvin Nash, Jhonny Medrano, Delino DeShields Jr., Enrique Hernandez, Jiovanni Mier, Mike Kvasnicka, Tyler Burnett, Ben Orloff.
Outfielders – Adam Bailey, Daniel Adamson, Bryce Lane.
Astros closer Jose Valverde and second baseman Kaz Matsui played together at Double-A Corpus Christi on Wednesday night during a Minor League rehab stint in a game that also featured the Double-A debut of former No. 1 draft pick Jason Castro, a catcher taken No. 10 overall from Stanford last year.
Matsui, on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring, went 1-for-2 with two runs scored and a walk. He was scheduled to play seven innings Thursday and nine innings on Friday and Saturday.
Valverde, on the disabled list with a strained right calf, pitched a scoreless inning, walking two batters and striking out two batters. He threw 24 pitches (14 strikes) and hit 97 mph. He will throw again tonight and likely be activated in time for Friday’s series opener at Arizona.
Meanwhile, Castro went 1-for-4 with a run scored in his first game since being promoted from High-A Lancaster.
But the star of Wednesday’s show was Hooks starting pitcher Polin Trinidad, who threw seven shutout innings and allowed only one hit while striking out five batters to lower his ERA to 4.01. After giving up a one-out single during the first, Trinidad retired the final 20 batters he faced.
Jason Castro, the Astros’ No. 1 prospect, was promoted to Double-A Corpus Christi from High-A Lancaster following Sunday’s game and is expected to join the Hooks on Wednesday against Midland. Castro hit .309 with seven home runs and 44 RBIs for the JetHawks, hitting .328 with four homers and 32 RBIs in May.
“We’re very excited about where he is in his development process,” assistant general manager Ricky Bennett said. “[Minor League field coordinator] Al Pedrique just left Lancaster yesterday and [catching coordinator] Danny Sheaffer has been in there, Mike Barnett, our hitting coordinator, has been in there, and we’re all seeing the same thing.
“He’s handled every challenge we put in front of him. His game-calling is better, his blocking is better, his throwing has been outstanding and he’s ready for another challenge. We are ready to move him through the system.”
Castro, 21, hit .275 in 39 games last year at rookie-league Tri-City after being drafted by the Astros out of Stanford with the No. 10 overall pick. The Astros have said they would like Castro to compete for the starting catcher’s job next year, and his promotion likely keeps him on that track.
When asked if it would be too much to expect Castro at Triple-A Round Rock later this year, Bennett didn’t hesitate.
“Yes,” he said. “We’re going to evaluate him on a daily basis. But I think realistically he’s going to benefit more from being in Double-A this year with a little bit better pitching staff, where the speed of the game is going to be a little different.”
Castro will also get a chance to work closely with Corpus Christi manager Luis Pujols, a former Major League catcher.
“I think he’s really going to develop under those circumstances and if he stays in Corpus for the rest of the year, that’s fine,” Bennett said. “I think the experience he’s going to get at this level will more more than anything else he’s ever really faced before in terms of competition and speed of the game and those types of things.”
The arrival of Castro in Corpus Christi has forced the Astros to shuffle some other players. Jonathan Fixler, who was the backup to Brian Esposito at Corpus Christi, will go to Lancaster and back up Koby Clemens, who will now be the No. 1 catcher at Lancaster.
“That’s kind of been the through process all along,” Bennett said. “When we started this season, I sat down with Koby in spring training and I told him in the first half of the season it maybe tough to get him time behind the plate, but hopefully at some point during the course of the summer he’ll get more playing time, and that time has come.”
Astros assistant general manager in charge of scouting Bobby Heck met with the media Monday after at Union Station to talk about the First-Year Player Draft. Heck didn’t give any insight on what the Astros might do with the No. 21 overall pick, simply saying the team was going to take the best available player.
Heck said the draft is getting a bad rap for not having much talent. He said it’s deep in high school pitching and lacking some college bats.
Heck’s draft team with the Astros consists of national cross checker David Post, East Coast supervisor Clarence Johns, Midwest supervisor Ralph Bratton, West Coast supervisor Mark Ross, area scouts J.D. Alleva and Joe Graham and coordinator of scouting Mike Burns.
Here are some excerpts from Heck’s comments:
Heck on draft preparations: “This drafted started the day after last draft. Within a week after last year’s draft, we had follow lists due for the players coming up, and we followed them all summer, we followed them all fall. We used those lists to prioritize guys as we attack them in the spring, but we’ve been in here for a week [spending] anywhere from 10- to 14-hour days, and that’s on the heels of last week having three days of regional meetings. Every scout has seen more 100 games and probably spent more than 90 nights in a hotel since the of January. We’re getting after it pretty good.”
Heck on his feelings: “Your nerves are controlled by how prepared you are. Our preparation has been good, but I think we’re tired more than we are nerve-wracked, especially picking at 21. A lot of it is out of our hands. our ideal thing is to have guys in place, guys on our board when it gets to 21 and the first 20 guys go, we better like the 21st guy.”
Heck on taking best player available: “Where we’re at as an organization it’s still adding a depth of quality to our organization. If there’s one thing that we might walk past, all things being equal, is catching. Jason Castro is on his way to Double-A right now and there’s a lot of young catching we like in our system. If I have two players at positions that are side by side and one’s a catcher, I’d opt for another position.”
Heck on the groundwork laid last year: “I need to add a few more classes like that. We’re only going to be as good as that type of depth. Truly, those players have gone out from last year and have performed. It’s very gratifying, but they’ve been healthy.I want to read in the boxscore they played the night before. That being said, some of those guys are going to break our hearts and not be everything we think they are and some of them are going to get hurt so we need to keep adding those types of players to our system to absorb that type of attrition.”
Heck on the draft’s talent pool: “This draft if getting a lot of bad knocks. This is a deep draft. I think more as we work our boards and put our boards together, there’s depth to it. Would I like to be picking 10 this year? No. I think the first half of the first round there’s a bit of decline in that type of talent, but after that the players that went in the second half of the first round last year are similar to this year. After that, there is depth.