Results tagged ‘ Oklahoma City ’
Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow for the first time Friday said the outfielder George Springer would stay at Triple-A Oklahoma City for the rest of its season, which could include a trip to the playoffs. Whether Springer gets called to Houston afterwards remains to be seen, but don’t expect him in an Astros uniform anytime soon.
Oklahoma City finishes its regular season Sept. 2, but appears headed for the playoffs.
“The most important thing I want everybody to focus on is he’s having a great year, he’s a guy that unless something changes is going to be in our outfield next year,” Luhnow said. “All this discussion about what day is he coming up is really not that relevant right now. What’s relevant is a he’s a guy we’re excited about, he’s having a tremendous year, we’re going to let him finish his year at Oklahoma City and make a determination after that as far as how much time’s left and whether or not is makes sense to bring him up.
“I see him as a guy who’s going to come to Spring Training next year competing for our every day center fielder job, and I see him as a big part of our team next year. That’s really the message I want our fans to focus on, not worry too much about the date he comes up. There’s a lot of factors that go into it, and we’ll make the best decision for the organization.”
Springer, 23, has split time between Double-A Corpus Christi and Oklahoma City, hitting a combined .303 with a Minor League-leading 33 homers and 98 RBIs with 38 stolen bases entering play Friday. He’s the first player in the Minors to hit 30 home runs and steal at least 30 bases since former Oakland Athletics farmhand Grant Desme in 2009.
“As a general manger, when the fans are asking when your players are coming up because they want to see them in the big leagues, that’s a testament to our scouts and player development people and Springer himself for doing what he’s done this year,” Luhnow said.
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].”
In an effort to limit the number of innings thrown by rookie starter Jordan Lyles, the Astros on Sunday said they would option him to Triple-A Oklahoma City and pitch him out of the bullpen for the rest of the year.
Astros general manager Ed Wade said the plan is for Lyles to be called up when rosters expand on Sept. 1 and continue to have him perform in a relief role the remainder of the season. The team hasn’t said who will take Lyles’ spot in the rotation.
“No one ever wants to go down, even if it’s for however long,” Lyles said. “If they feel it’s the best for the organization, I’m going to go with it.”
Wade, manager Brad Mills and pitching coach Doug Brocail have talked at length about the best way to limit the 20-year-old right-hander to no more than 170 innings. The move to send Lyles was done in an anticipation of outfielder Jordan Schafer being activated from the disabled list Monday.
Lyles picked up his second Major League win by beating the Giants on Saturday, allowing two unearned runs in five innings. He’s thrown a combined 148 2/3 innings this year between Oklahoma City (59 innings) and the Major Leagues (89 2/3).
“We told him this is not a demotion,” Wade said. “This is a plan we put together to handle what we feel are his best interests and our best interests. We still see him as a starter. I told him this is a conversation we usually have at the end of the year with a guy, but he’s done a good job. He certainly handled himself very, very well for a guy at his age and handled every challenge we put in front of him.”
Schafer, acquired from the Braves on July 31 in the trade for Michael Bourn, has yet to appear in a game for Houston. He’s been on the disabled list since July 20 with a left middle finger joint injury and was scheduled to play his final Triple-A rehab game on Sunday. He was 5-for-5 with two stolen bases for the RedHawks on Saturday.
With left-hander Wandy Rodriguez set to come off the disabled list and start Monday’s game against the Braves, the Astros created a roster spot by optioning reliever Jeff Fulchino to Triple-A Oklahoma City. Aneury Rodriguez, who has made eight starts, was moved back to the bullpen so the 20-year-old Jordan Lyles could remain in the rotation.
Lyles, the Astros’ top prospect, will start Thursday against the Pirates at Minute Maid Park. He’s 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA in three Major League starts. It also means Fernando Rodriguez, who threw two scoreless innings Sunday, remains in the bullpen.
“I didn’t have my mind made up or told myself I should or shouldn’t be here,” Lyles said. “If they told me I was going somewhere else to pitch, I would get my stuff ready for my next start, wherever it was. You can’t control that stuff. I’m happy to be here, and hopefully I’ll have another good start.”
Aneury Rodriguez, a Rule 5 pick up from the Rays, went 0-4 with a 5.80 ERA as a starter after beginning the season in the bullpen. Fulchino is 1-3 with a 4.88 ERA in 13 relief outings, but he’s 0-1 with a 12.60 ERA in five innings in his last five games.
“Fulchy’s got the stuff and has had some good success here the last couple of years,” Astros manager Brad Mills said. “We want him to go down there and be able to work on command of his pitches and be able to throw the ball over the strike zone with consistency.”
The Astros made a move they hope will bolster their catching position following Thursday’s loss to the Cardinals, purchasing the contract of switch-hitter Carlos Corporan from Triple-A Oklahoma City and optioning catcher Robinson Cancel to Oklahoma City.
Corporan, who recently returned to action after missing a month with a broken finger on his right hand, will join the club Friday. The injury limited him to 22 games this year for the RedHawks, and he was hitting .250 with three homers and 12 RBIs.
“He will catch some, but we’ll kind of see,” Astros manager Brad Mills said. “[J.R.] Towles has been getting beat up the last few days with foul tips and so forth, and we’ll have to give him a couple of days at some point.”
Towles has been catching four out of five games since starter Humberto Quintero went on the disabled list May 28 with a high ankle sprain. Quintero isn’t expected to return to action for at least another week.
Corporan, who had a hit in his only Major League at-bat in 2009 with Milwaukee, was a non-roster invitee to Spring Training this year for the Astros and hit .353 with four homers and 13 RBIs.
Astros manager Brad Mills said it best Sunday when he said he told Jordan Lyles he could be with the club for two starts or 20 years. Whatever the future holds, it begins now. The Astros’ top prospect – only 20 years old – makes his long-anticipated Major League debut tonight at Wrigley Field for the Astros when they face the Cubs.
Barely three years removed from his high school graduation and being drafted 38th overall by the Astros (who gave him a $930,000 bonus), Lyles’ debut is the most anticipated in team history since perhaps Hunter Pence in 2007. Pence was the Astros’ top prospect when he made his Major League debut on April 28, 2007 at Minute Maid Park, going 1-for-3 in a 10-1 win over the Brewers. He went 2-for-4 the next night and has been in the lineup since.
Of course, Pence was 24 years old by the time the Astros finally called him. He had a terrific spring that season, but the Astros were committed to finding a way to keep former top prospect Chris Burke on the roster with Craig Biggio closing out his career with his final season at second base. Despite being the most difficult out in the Grapefruit League in 2007, Pence opened the season at Triple-A Round Rock, with Burke opening the year as the starting center fielder. It took less than a month for Pence to get called up, and later in the year he moved to right field, where he’s been entrenched since.
The Astros aren’t promising anything to Lyles more than two starts – tonight against the Cubs and Sunday in San Diego against the Padres. Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez is expected to be healthy enough to return to the rotation by then, but if Lyles puts together two quality starts, the club is going to have a decision to make. They’re going to have to find a way to keep Lyles in the rotation, which could come at the expense of Rule 5 pick Aneury Rodriguez.
But first things first.
Lyles got off to a rough this year at Triple-A Oklahoma City, but has slowly gotten into a groove. He pitched six innings in his most recent start May 25. In his last three starts, he was 2-1 with three earned runs allowed in 20 2/3 innings. Like Pence did four years earlier, Lyles dazzled the Astros in Spring Training with his composure and competitiveness, but began the season in the Minors anyway.
For a Minor League organization that hasn’t had many prospects to get excited about in recent years, the Astros can’t help but be excited about Lyles. Whether this is the start of a terrific Major league career or something else remains to be seen. But there’s little doubt it’s time to see what Lyles can do.
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.