Results tagged ‘ David Carpenter ’

Astros bullpen enjoying success

No one is more encouraged by how well the Astros’ bullpen has pitched in the last few weeks than interim pitching coach Doug Brocail, who took over June 14 when Brad Arnsberg was let go by the team.

Houston’s bullpen, which currently consists of five rookies, entered Saturday having posted a 0.95 ERA in its last 14 games. Astros relievers had allowed four earned runs in 38 innings pitching during that span. Still, the Astros are last in the National League with a 4.40 ERA.

“The guys are throwing well, especially from where we were,” Brocail said. “Every time we’ve called on them, they’ve done a good job. I think the important thing is they’re picking each other up. If a guy comes in and doesn’t get the job done, we’ve been really good lately about picking him up. It’s nice to see that we’re getting some things accomplished.

“When I came on, the big worry was ‘Oh my God, you inherited a bullpen that’s blown 19 saves.’ You know what? They’re all rookies. They’re going to make mistakes. They’re going to get better and hopefully learn from it and that’s where we’re at now.”

Right-handers David Carpenter, Enerio Del Rosario, Anuery Rodriguez and Fernando Rodriguez are rookies, along with left-hander Sergio Escalona. The only non-rookies in the bullpen are close Mark Melancon, who was a rookie last year, and set-up man Wilton Lopez, who’s in his second full year.

“The thing is, when you have some rookies you’ve got to make sure they’re communicating and talking to each other,” Brocail said. “We’ve tried to stress that.”

Carpenter has solid debut for Astros

With his Major League debut under his belt, Astros reliever David Carpenter plans to give the baseball he used to record his first Major League strikeout to his father, who was in attendance Thursday night at Minute Maid Park.

Carpenter, who was called up Wednesday after throwing 19 consecutive scoreless innings at Triple-A Oklahoma City, needed only 16 pitches to throw a perfect eighth inning, striking out Rangers outfielder Craig Gentry swinging for his first out.

“Lot of nerves,” Carpenter said. “But it was everything I hoped would be. [Oklahoma City teammate Nelson] Figueroa told me there’s nothing like that first time going out there, and he was right. I tried to keep my nerves about me and tried to stay calm and work in the zone, work quick, and try to get ahead of guys. I fell behind a couple of times, but I was able to work my way around it.”

Astros interim pitching coach Doug Brocail helped Carpenter retrieve the ball he used to strike out Gentry after it was fouled into the stands during the next at-bat and presented it to him in the dugout.

“It’s definitely a special ball,” Carpenter said. “It’s going to straight to dad because he spent the most time with me in the backyard. It’s definitely special occasion.”

Carpenter’s father, Darrell, who made the trip to Houston from West Virginia along with David’s mother, Barbara, and girlfriend, Brooke Keene, said he couldn’t have been more proud of his son.

“It was very exciting,” he said. “I was very proud of him. To come out with the first batter he faced and strike him out, was just amazing to me. To battle back from being down 3-0 to get the second out, I couldn’t ask for a better outing. If he was half as nervous as I was, he didn’t show.”

 

Astros call up Carpenter

The Astros have called up right-handed reliever David Carpenter from Triple-A Oklahoma City and have claimed outfielder Luis Durango off waivers from the San Diego Padres, general manager Ed Wade announced Wednesday. Durango was placed on the Astros 40-man roster and optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

To make room for Durango on the roster, the club has transferred right-hander Alberto Arias to the 60-day disabled list. The Astros have also optioned catcher Brian Esposito to Oklahoma City. Carpenter will join the Astros in Houston in time for tonight’s 7:05 p.m. game vs. the Texas Rangers.

Carpenter, 25, has split time with Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Oklahoma City this season, going 0-1 with a 1.91 ERA and 38 strikeouts in a combined 33 relief outings. In his 19 outings at Triple A, Carpenter has tossed 19.0 consecutive scoreless innings with 21 strikeouts. Originally selected by St. Louis in the 12th round of the 2006 June Draft as a catcher, he was acquired by Houston from St. Louis on Aug. 19, 2010 in exchange for infielder Pedro Feliz.

Durango, 25, hit .243 with 15 RBIs and 10 stolen bases in 61 games for the Padres’ Triple A affiliate this season. He has appeared in 37 Major League games with San Diego from 2009-10, hitting .305 with four RBI and seven stolen bases. The Panama native was originally signed by the Padres as a non-drafted free agent on Sept. 21, 2003, and represented Panama in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

Esposito did not appear in a game for Houston after having his contract purchased from Triple A on Saturday. He has split his season between Triple-A and Double-A, combining to hit .217 (20×92) with a homer and eight RBI. The Astros 40-man roster is now at 40.

 

Astros stockpile young talent

The Astros’ success from 1997-2005 was a product of some terrific front-office moves. They drafted well, made some key free-agent signings and weren’t afraid to trade away some of their top prospects to get players in return. When the big contracts become burdensome and the youth pipeline began to dry up, the Astros were forced to shift course.

What made matters worse was the disastrous draft of 2007, which led to a shake up in the front office. Ed Wade took over as general manager and was asked to rebuild a farm system considered one of the worst in baseball, and one of the first thing he’s he did was hire Bobby Heck as scouting director.

The 2008 draft produced catcher Jason Castro and pitcher Jordan Lyles, and the Astros are still waiting to see what the 2009 and 2010 drafts produce, though several of their top prospects came from those drafts, including 2009 first-round pick Jiovanni Mier.

But what Wade and his staff have managed to do is add even more young players to the system in the past few months with a series of trades, as well as the Rule 5 draft. Here’s a look at the moves the teams has made since July 1 that have netted 11 young players in return:

  • July 1, 2010 – Acquired infielder Angel Sanchez from Boston in exchange for Kevin Cash.
    Comment: Sanchez did a nice job at the plate while starting at shortstop for much of the second half of the season while Tommy Manzella was on the disabled list. Sanchez has no power and is limited defensively, but he has skills.
  • July 29, 2010 – Acquired pitcher J.A. Happ, infielder Jonathan Villar and outfielder Anthony Gose from Phillies in exchange for Roy Oswalt.
    Comment: Oswalt didn’t want to be in Houston anymore, and the Astros were thrilled to get the switch-hitting Villar, who immediately became one of the team’s top prospects.
  • July 29, 2010 – Acquired first baseman Brett Wallace from Blue Jays in exchange for Gose.
    Comment: With Lance Berkman on his way out, the Astros spun Gose to the Blue Jays for Wallace, who became the starting first baseman at the Major League level.
  • July 31, 2010 – Acquired pitcher Mark Melancon and infielder Jimmy Paredes from the Yankees in exchange for Lance Berkman.
    Comment: The Astros weren’t going to pick up Berkman’s hefty option for 2011, so he agreed to a trade to the Yankees. Melancon is a key part to the bullpen, and Paredes is a speedy third baseman who was put on the 40-man roster.
  • Aug. 19, 2010 – Acquired pitcher David Carpenter from the Cardinals in exchange for Pedro Feliz.
    Comment: With rookie Chris Johnson tearing it up at the plate, Feliz was done in Houston. Still, the Astros managed to get something for him in a trade. Carpenter was added to the 40-man roster and could be in the mix this year in the bullpen.
  • Dec. 9, 2010 – Selected right-handers Aneury Rodriguez and Lance Pendleton in the Rule 5 Draft.
    Comment: Both Rodriguez and Pendleton will compete for a spot in the rotation this spring, but they must remain on the active roster or be offered back to their former clubs (Rodriguez came from the Rays and Pendleton the Yankees).
  • Dec. 23, 2010 – Acquired left-hander Wes Musick and right-hander Jonnathan Aristil from the Rockies in exchange for Matt Lindstrom.
    Comment: Lindstrom was due for a big raise in arbitration, and the Astros were worried about his health and inconsistency last year. They got a pair of young arms in return who have some potential.

A look at the Astros at the Arizona Fall League

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.
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