Results tagged ‘ Felix Francisco ’

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.

Astros making minor news

The Astros outrighted pitcher Brad James to Triple-A Round Rock on Wednesday, creating another spot on the 40-man roster, which now stands at 36. Once considered one of the Astros’ top prospects, James was 2-10 with a 6.69 ERA in 23 games (21 starts) at Double-A Corpus Christi last season.

Also on Wednesday, the Astros hired Bob Rossi as a professional scout. Rossi, a veteran of 22 seasons as a scout, will cover Minor League clubs based in the eastern part of the country, the majority of which will be in the International League. In September, he will cover Major League clubs.

Rossi has spent 22 years as a full-time scout for four different ball clubs, most recently for the Chicago Cubs (2004-2007). Prior to his stint with the Cubs, Rossi worked in the Mets, Pirates and Cardinals organizations. In recognition of his success, he was inducted into the Southeastern Professional Baseball Association Hall of Fame in 2002 and Northeastern Chapter of the Pennsylvania State Hall of Fame in 1999.

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The Astros also announced Wednesday that Felix Francisco and Charlie Norton will have new titles.

Francisco, who had been the club’s director of Latin American Scouting since November of 2007, has been named special assistant to the general manager, Latin American operations. Norton, who was in his second season as the Astros director of Research and Analysis, has been named director, baseball research/pro scouting Coordinator.

Francisco, 37, has played a significant role in the Astros scouting efforts in Latin America over the past two years. Prior to joining the Astros, Francisco had been a scout and scouting supervisor in the Braves and Padres organizations since 1995. Norton will be in his ninth season in the Astros organization in 2010, having started out as the general manager of the Martinsville Astros (rookie) in 2001. He later spent three seasons as Houston’s assistant director of baseball operations (2005-07).

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Here is the updated 40-man roster.:
PITCHERS (19)
Fernando Abad (L)
Alberto Arias
Yorman Bazardo
Tim Byrdak (L)
Jeff Fulchino
Sammy Gervacio
Wilton Lopez
Brian Moehler
Bud Norris
Roy Oswalt
Felipe Paulino
Wandy Rodriguez (L)
Chris Sampson
Polin Trinidad (L)
Wesley Wright (L)
Jose Valdez
Evan Englebrook
Matt Nevarez
Henry Villar
CATCHERS (2)
Humberto Quintero
J.R. Towles
INFIELDERS (9)
Lance Berkman
Geoff Blum
Chris Johnson
Jeff Keppinger
Tommy Manzella
Kaz Matsui
Edwin Maysonet
Wladimir Sutil
Jose Vallejo
OUTFIELDERS (6)
Brian Bogusevic
Jason Bourgeouis
Michael Bourn
Carlos Lee
Hunter Pence
Yordany Ramirez

Norris, Bazardo All-Stars at Round Rock

Round Rock pitchers Bud Norris and Yorman Bazardo have been elected to represent the 2009 Pacific Coast League All-Star Team when it takes on the International League All-Stars at PGE Park in Portland on July 15.

Norris, 24, led the PCL with a 2.17 ERA entering Wednesday and ranked first with 88 strikeouts against 44 walks. He had also limited hitters to a .224 batting average – best among active Round Rock pitchers — before getting roughed up Wednesday. 

Rated as the Houston Astros’ top pitching prospect by Baseball America, Norris fanned 84 batters in 80 innings of work with Double-A Corpus Christi in 2008 despite battling an elbow strain. He has made 15 starts for the Express this season, allowing more than two runs three times.

Norris was roughed up by Nashville in a 6-3 Express loss Wednesday. He allowed 10 hits and five earned runs in the loss – both season highs for the right-hander.

Bazardo, 23, ranks third among PCL pitchers with a 2.79 ERA and is tied for second with seven wins. He has limited hitters to a .236 batting average and carries a 1.06 WHIP – best among active Round Rock pitchers.

Bazardo is 4-0 in eight appearances at The Dell Diamond and has limited hitters to a .222 batting average on the road. He was 4-0 with 28 strikeouts against seven walks over six May starts, including a complete game shutout in New Orleans on May 31. He has not lost a start since April 30.

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The international signing period begins Thursday and runs through the end of the season. The Astros, of course, have been more active in global signings since general manager Ed Wade was hired near the end of the 2007 season.

Wade said director of Latin American Scouting Felix Francisco has his eyes on a few players who could be signed by Houston.

“He thinks once the feeding frenzy ends and when the crazy money flutters back to earth, there are a couple of guys he has some strong interest in, and we have given him some budget flexiblity to go after some guys,” Wade said.

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