Results tagged ‘ Jason Castro ’
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.”
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.