Archive for June, 2009

6/30/09: Roy Oswalt Pitches A “Thriller”

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

(with apologies to Rod Temperton)

It’s close to midnight and Roy Oswalt is dealin on the mound
Under the floodlight, the fans hear only swishing sounds
You try to hit, but that fastball has some wicked movement
You start to freeze as curveballs seem to be right at your eyes
You’re paralyzed
Yes, I know it was the Padres, yes I know it’s a pitcher’s park, but the fact is that Roy had, for the first time this year, complete command of the curve and it made all the difference. And he gave up a run because The Pest leaned into a pitch and eventually came home on a “WP” – a curve in the dirt that Pudge didn’t block. But giving up 2 doubles, 1 walk, 1 IBB, 1 WP, 1 GIDP for a complete game 2 hitter is simply awesome. Hope he pitches just as well at Telephone Park in SF.

‘Cause this is Roy-O’s thriller night
And no one’s gonna save you from his throwing yet another strike
You know it’s thriller, thriller night
You’re fighting for your hits inside a killer, thriller tonight

You hear the door slam and realize there’s nowhere left to run
You see the slider and wonder if he’ll ever hang just one
You concentrate, and hope that Roy will finally lose it
But all the while, he’s getting better by the pitch
You’re out of time

‘Cause this is Roy-O’s thriller night
There ain’t no second chance against the curveball you can’t hit
Thriller, thriller night
You’re fighting for your hits inside a killer, thriller tonight

Darkness falls on Padre land
The 9th inning is now at hand
Last chance at comeback has gone today
Cuz A-Gon didn’t hit that FB, away…

He even got 2 hits himself, he was so confident up there. Unfortunately, he had no opportunity to drive in any runs, and no one drove him in, so it went for nothing.

In news, Backe decided not to go to Round Rock, so he can try to hook up with a different team. I doubt he would be immediately slotted into any ML team’s rotation because he has pitched so few innings this year, but he might could decide to go to some AAA team whose pitching coach is good, so as to restore his stuff. And no, he’ll never be a #2 guy, but the fact is that every ML pitching staff has 5 starters, NEEDS 5 starters, and the 5th guy is significantly worse than the #1 guy. There aren’t ANY pitching rotations which consist of 5 aces, contrary to fan expectations. There aren’t even any 5 man rotations in which all 5 guys each have an ERA+ of 100.

The Astros are going to have a 6 man rotation, according to Cooper. He can’t bear to go without Brian Moehler. If you check his stats, omitting April, when he was hurt) here is what you get:

10 GS over 57 IP – average of 5 2/3 IP/GS - 1 CG (vs Pirates), 1 7- inning game (vs Padres), 3 6-inning games, 4 5-inning games, 1 3-inning game. 64 H, 32 R/29 ER, 15 BB, 36 K, 11 HR – 4.58 ERA/1.39 WHIP, basically his stat line from last year with a few more homers.

Hampton: 12 GS over 67 IP – average of just under 5 2/3 IP/GS – has had 4 QS, 3 vs PIT and 1 vs the Reds. 70 H, 8 HR, 27 BB, 43 K, 35 ER – 4.70 ERA/1.45 WHIP.

Neither one is particularly impressive, that’s fer sher…

6/29/09: Cooper Pulls Ortiz, For No Good Reez, Stros Fans Say PUHLEEEEZE

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Ortiz didn’t deserve what happened. He pitched GREAT, gave up 6 hits – 4 singles, a double and a solo homer – NO walks and 5 K and 2 GIDP and 2 runs. He was cruising in the top of the 8th, got the first out, after cruising through the 7th getting 3 quick outs on 8 pitches. For absolutely no reason I can think of, Coop pulled Ortiz in favor of Tim Byrdak.

WHY???

Ortiz is at 90 pitches, not tired, throwing well. I mean, he just had him hit in the bottom of the 7th, and then pitch to 1 guy in the 8th???

Is this Coop’s usual unspeakably stupid crap about the lefty/righty thingy? Who knows? Why not let Ortiz finish the game? WHY won’t the reporters EVER ask Coop questions like that???

And with 2 out, and a 1-2 count, Valverde decided to replay the Brad Lidge Albert Pujols debacle and goodbye ball game. Yep, Inge sent that ball over the railroad tracks, just like Uncle (proving yet again that you don’t have to be a large man to hit a ML fastball a LONG LONG way…)

So, with no further ado (with apologies to R Kelly) what I think I just might could have heard Mr. Lidge say to Mr Valverde:

“But you are not alone
Though I’m not there with you
Though we’re far apart (Thank God)
And you got took over the tracks
But you are not alone

Earlier tonight
I thought I heard you cry
Oh NOOO, not AGAIN
The second in 3 GAMES
I can hear your prayers
Your burdens I understand

Everyday I sit and ask myself
How did that pitch get away
Let me whisper in your ear and say
Like, dude, you are SOOOO screwing up your trade value
Throwing mid plate belt high FB
They get hit far away
And you’ll be there to stay…”

Of course, I should also note that the Astros were darn lucky to get 3 runs off 6 hits, a sac fly and no walks.

sigh

Valverde has given up 4 homers over 16.1 IP (17 games), saved 6, blown 4 (and lost 2 of those.)

Oh. By the way, the Cards went out and traded for Mark DeRosa, who is REALLY good and can play bout any position except pitcher and catcher. And all they gave up is a crappy middle reliever. We could have offered them Maysonet and Towles, seeing as how Cooper and the Astros regard them as about as good as a bucket of warm spit – something they should be reserving for Michaels and Kata.

Gerry Hunsicker would have been ALL ovah that. Of course, he wouldn’t have been signing/using the likes of Kata and Michaels in the first place, neither.

We’re off to play the Peavy-less Padres and game times will be starting at 9, so no writeups until the next day. Sorry. I GOT to get to bed earlier these days because I got to get up when it is a nice, frosty 75 degrees out to get stuff done because you know you GOT to be back inside before 9 AM.

6/28/09: Paulino Tells Tigers “You Can’t Win”

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

Paulino had a lil somethin to say to the Tigahs, sorely missing sluggah Adam Everett:

“You can’t win
You can’t break even
And you can’t get out of the game
Leyland keep sayin’
Things are gonna change
But the pitches look like
They stayin’ the same

You swing at em
way over your head
And you only got yourself to blame
You can’t win Tigahs,
You can’t break even
And you can’t get out of the game

You can’t win
The fastball keeps movin’
And you’re swingin’ far behind
Teammates keep sayin’
Things’ll get better
Just to ease your state of mind

You can’t win,
You can’t win no way
If your story stays the same
You ain’t winnin,
No, no,
But it’s nice to see you
Awfully glad you came)
Bats are cool it ’cause
Paulino ain’t about losin’ “

Well, I asked the boy to Show Me Somethin Goooood (OK, so that one isn’t Michael’s..)

He had a bit of luck on his side because HP ump Tim Welke called accurate strikes and had an extremely consistant strike zone, the SAME strike zone for both pitchers. So he was able to throw the high FB consistently for strikes and he changed speeds and location well. He also had the slider working and threw it for strikes. He gave up 2 singles and a solo homer, NO walks and 9 Ks, 8 swinging.

Fulchino and Wright both pitched a scoreless inning and Wesley pitched to THREE rightys and struck out 2 of them, including Miguel Cabrera, who couldn’t touch his slider.

Will be interesting to see who gets sent down when Hampton comes off the DL. Maysonet, about as used as a splintered bat on this team, has already been sent down in favor of old and awful Matt Kata. That is the trouble with this team – even when they DO manage to create a useful minor leaguer, they throw him away in favor of some icky veteran. ESPECIALLY when the manager has made it MORE than plain that he doesn’t want to have anything to do with rookies (Towles says hello, too…)

Will also be interesting to see what happens with Backe. I know that the fans are very hostile to him after last year’s terrible September and his inability to come out of the bullpen every 8 days and perform well, but fact is that the Organization didn’t prepare him for a role in the pen and didn’t keep him fresh in any way. If he has any sense, he’ll go down to AAA, let the pitching coach straighten him out, and then get his agent to work overtime to wangle a trade.

And kudos to the hitters – everyone got a hit except Keppinger, and even though he did hit into another DP, he did walk twice, drove in one and scored one.

This afternoon, it’s Russ Ortiz vs Edwin Jackson (no relation to Michael)

Edwin was drafted in 01 at age 17 and made the majors at age 19, throwing 22 excellent innings. Trouble was that everyone kind of expected him to be the second coming of Doc Gooden, and he wasn’t. He didn’t do real too good with his callups the next few years, so the Dodgers gave up on him at age 21 and traded him to the Rays for relievers Danys Baez and Lance Carter. He threw a couple of innings in relief, then became a full time starter in 07 and uh, struggled, having a Backe ’08 like year, but the Rays stuck with him and he improved in 08, throwing 31 games over 180 innings with a 101 ERA+, his first good year.

The Rays, overloaded with starters (poor them) traded him to the Tigers for a 24 yo OF who is being used as a 5th guy, sort of like a Maysonet. Jackson has been an absolute ace – he has started 15 games over 101.1 innings, with 79 H, 7 HR, 29 BB and 79 K for a 187 ERA+ and a 2.40 ERA/ 1.06 WHIP.

It’s amazing that we have already taken the series against the Tigres. A sweep would be crazy…

6/26/09: Zumaya to Astros – You Walk My World

Friday, June 26th, 2009

Yesterday afternoon, my childhood died.

I remember a while back one of my aunties telling me about the time she was watching MTV, back when they did those spring break shows with a bunch of almost nekkid crazy almost drunk 20 year olds, and she looked at the TV and said – this is SOOOOOOO stupid. And in that second, she realized she was actually an adult, that it wasn’t that she had made any conscious decision, but she found out she had just somehow changed and was seeing the world with adult eyes.

I guess I got hit the same way yesterday, when Michael Jackson died. I was just a toddler when “Billie Jean” first came out and really smashed the MTV barrier to African-American artists, just a small child when he hit a homer offn Pedro ’99 a good 600′ over the CF fence with his Moonwalk on the 25 year Motown special, too young to really remember the release of The Thrillah, the first ever MTVideo movie.

But the album got a lot of play in our house, my brothers taught me to moonwalk and I even had a sequined Glove and a Michael hat, and when “Bad” was released, I danced around with my brother singing “WHO’S BAD???”

Michael sort of did a reverse steroids thingy over his career, changing himself from a cute skinny Black guy with an endearing smile singing happy-sounding upbeat songs to, well, an, um, shall we say, “Off The Wall” freak. By the time that “Rock My World” was released in, what, 01, he had lost his dance moves, innate grace, his figure (check out the paunch), his color and his entire face. He appeared to have, while alive, turned into one of the zombies from “Thriller” – I couldn’t understand why on earth the Girl in the video, upon seeing Michael’s absence of face, didn’t scream like Ola Ray and run away. Of course, by that time, I was far too preoccupied with other things (such as my Husband) and other musicians to do anything but shudder.

It was painfully obvious that Michael had long since lost his talent, his moves and his mind (last good song was “Blood On The Dance Floor” and even then, he was hardly moving at all), but I kind of just dismissed it and him, shaking my head sadly, much as baseball fans must have done back in ’73, watching what used to be Willie Mays try to play baseball.

sigh

Yesterday, BET, MTV and VH1 were all running the old Michael Jackson/Jackson 5 videos. Sort of reminds me of a HOF baseball career – rookie year (Off The Wall) to a stupendous, unrepeatable MVP year (Thriller) to HOF career (Bad) to unexpected peak-fluke year (Black Or White video) complicated by, uh, ahem – “roid suspiscions” (its original BIZARRE ending) to late career fluctuations (the videos from HIStory – especially “Scream”) to last gasp respectable year (“Blood On The Dance Floor”) to just flat out Frank Thomas 2008 Clogging The Bases (Ghosts/Rock My World.)

I hear older folks (ballplayers, TV announcers, fans) mourn the loss of “The Golden Age Of Baseball” which, I guess, was during the perfect 50s when there were only 16 teams and the center of the Universe was where it belonged, in NYC, where all the money and good players resided, and The Game was perfect (hey, Mickey Mantle was sac-bunting, along with the pitchers) and every pitcher threw 150-200 pitch complete games every 4th day and ended up with 300 innings and there were no Designated Inning Specialists.

smile

If you actually bother to watch any of those old games, the few that were televised and the tapes kept, you will see that most guys couldn’t hit for spit, almost nobody took pitches, the game moved a LOT more quickly, as hitters weren’t allowed to Derek Jeter prolong the AB and pitchers worked quickly. The pace was better, but the pitching and hitting weren’t.

Just like watching Michael’s old videos – like Willie’s catch at the Wall and throw – Billie Jean is dated, but unrepeatably great; Reggie’s 3 homer game in the WS was a Thrillah. But like watching crappy banjo hitter after crappy banjo hitter. Michael’s moves became unoriginal, repetitive and boring (especially the signature crotch grab.)

But, he certainly ushered in The Golden Age Of Videos and maintained it for 12 years, a bonafide HOF career. (And being an Old Person my own self, getting on the bandwagon about how things were so much better Back In The Good Old Days, I sure miss MTV and VH1 actually showing videos all day instead of the horrible boring cheap crap “reality” stuff they poison the airwaves with all day long…)

So, in honor of Michael Jackson and The Good Old Days, I am going to have Michael Jackson Week in which I am going to tag every single game with a MJJ video.

to the game:

Wandy are you OK
Are you OK Wandy
Wandy are you OK
Are you OK Wandy

You been hit by
You been hit by
A
Smooooth Criminal

Meaning that the HP ump was NOT giving the same strike zone to Wandy as he did to Verlander. But Wandy kept Clemens Cool, adjusting and walking guys if necessary to avoid hits. He hung a curve to Miggy Cabrera who hit it out, and Polanco hit a good pitch,- a FB at the knees, outer third for a 3 run homer. And Wandy shrugged it off and shut them down the rest of the way, including inducing a nice inning ending GIDP after an IF single and another single (play not made by Keppinger – who by the way, should NOT be hitting in the 2-hole.)

Arias, Byrdak and Sampson wedged the door SHUT and LaTroy locked it DOWN.

Verlander wasn’t his usual super-ace self – gave up 7 hits, walked 4 and gave up 3 runs. He SHOULD have given up more, but he overpowered Hunter Pence with 3 FB down the middle to end a bases loaded threat in the first.

Actually, the Tigers pitchers are proof of the old saying – it ain’t the speed, it’s the motion. No matter HOW fast that baseball is going, ML hitters will usually hit it if it is down the middle and has no motion to it. Joel Zumaya throws 100 MPH, but he walked 3, gave up a hit to Matsui on a 101 MPH pitch down the middle, and allowed the GW RBI to Tejada.

Bourn snapped his ofer 10 failure to get on base streak and went 2fer 3 with 2 walks – and both of those walks were 8 pitch jobs and he didn’t swing at a single pitch outside the strike zone. Berkman singled and walked 3 times, but unfortunately didn’t score once. Carlos Lee had a bad game, coming to the plate each time with at least 1 man on and not driging in a single run. Pence also had a tough night, driving in only 1 and stranding the other 5.

Astros pinch hitters actually came through, with Kata singling in a run and Erstad restraining from swinging at pitches outside the strike zone and getting a walk. Meanwhile, Maysonet was perfecting his high-5s, after Cooper told the media that he wasn’t up here to play, the veterans were.

Tonight Paulino is pitching his first start since coming off the DL. I STILL have absolutely NO idea why the Astros Organization decided that no matter what, he WAS, like Zeke Astacio a few years back, Designated For Pitching In The Bigs. I keep waiting, and so far, his stuff has most DEFINITELY not impressed me in the least. And unlike a whole lot of people, I am not real too influenced in my judgement of “stuff” by the speed the baseball travels. I really REALLY hope and I keep hoping Paulino proves me wrong.

The Astros have, of course, DFA’d Backe, who was used sporadically, and didn’t do well. I wouldn’t be that surprised if he gets picked up by another ballclub and all I can say is that I hope he doesn’t turn into Fernando Nieve, who is pitching lights out with the Mets, looking as good as he did when he first came up in 2006 (and, by the way, he’s already beaten the Yankees, the Rays and the Cardinals, giving up a couple hits and walks over 6-ish IP each outing…)

6/25/09: Lance Drives In Four And Valverde Slams The Door

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

Well all yall, something happened today that has absolutely NEVER happened before. Yes, I turned down SIX free tickets to see an Astros ballgame. And to tell you the truth, I would have turned em down even IF they came with all the free bottled waters we could want, which would be LOTS. You see, we’re not even downtown and it is 104 in the SHADE and downtown it would be a GOOD 140 and NOT in the shade, and I can’t imagine how hot it must have been in the Box.

And dragging 4 kids downtown, trying to find SOME place to park in the middle of a business day, walking the long long distance in 140 degrees from the parking lot to the Box, then trying to not die from ovreheatedness, spending our weekly shopping money on a zillion bottles of water every couple minutes and

NOPE

Not even if Bradley Awesomeness his own self was there to tell me I’m the hottest chick EVAH because all he would get is one of Those Looks and me telling him like DUHHH - it’s like a million degrees up there in the cheap seats. (And yes, I know that a GOOD 5 thousand souls braved the hellish temps to watch the game in person – must say I didn’t really see any Royals jerseys/caps out there…)

It’s so hot I even got up early in the morning – like I am talking 5 AM early, so as the team would be a cool, refreshing 88 degrees, to walk the Dogsss and get dinner (chicken salad and pasta) ready and into the refrigerator and cut up a lot of fruit and put it in the fridge. The poor Dogsss have been so hot today, they actually came over to get sprayed with the hose (along with the kidz) to get cooled down before going to lie on the cold concrete in the garage.

And speaking of hot, Lee was hot, Berkman was hot, Wesley, Sampson, Hawkins and Valverde were hot, the defense was not.

How can I put this – Keppinger is just as much a lead glove at 3rd as he was at short last year, Miggy’s fielding has descended to his 2007 levels and Quintero has 5 errors over 18 games and 4 of those errors have led to a run (AND he has allowed 8 SB and has 1 CS.)

sigh

Carlos scored 3 of the 5 Astros runs on a single, a double and a walk. Berkman hit the exact same outside 1/3 FB to about the exact same spot in the Crawford Boxes in the second and the 6th inning. Actually, when he hit the second one, I thought it was a replay, at first.

I guess Coop will stop pulling Carlos Lee when the Astros are ahead in the 8th or 9th about the time He!! freezes over and will use Maysonet only if Matsui and Kata are both on the DL and a lefty is pitching. Like last year, Miggy is AWFUL in the 3-hole, but I guess forget putting him back in the 2-hole where he was successful.

grrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Anyway, tomorrow night, Wandy faces Verlander. I’m not as worried about Wandy shutting down the Tigers as I am about Verlander no hitting the Astros. He had a terrible first 4 games, but since then, he’s been nails, with his only bad game vs the Cards 10 days ago (Uncle gave him a thorough spanking, I would guess. It’s what he does.)

Verlander, since April 22, has started 11 games over 74 IP with 2 CG: 56 H, 22 BB, 93 K, 4 HR, 15 ER - and that is a 1.82 ERA/1.05 WHIP.

And yes, you read that right – he has 11.31 K/9 IP, so maybe the heat won’t be so bad dues to all the fanning goin on down there…

6/24/09: Valverde Blows The Save Then Byrdak And Fulchino Lose The Game

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

Not that I’m just blaming the pitchers, mind. Bourn, Tejada, Keppinger, Berkman and Pence were ALL of em ofer ELEVEN innings.

grrrrrrrrrr

The Royals crappy pitcher threw 93 pitches over 7 innings. Roy threw 106 pitches over 6 innings. The Astros hitters won’t take pitches, swing at first pitches, swing at pitches out of the strike zone (and, by the way – this is true from the AAA club all the way down to Rookie League) and essentially can’t seem to drive in runs.

grrrrrrrrrrr

I didn’t like watching Roy pace out there last night – he used to be the epitome of – throw strikes, work quickly. Not any more. I wonder how much he likes throwing to Pudge. Who, by the way, is everything everyone hated about Brad Ausmus for years.

and don’t get me started on Coop again with his insistence on pulling Carlos Lee for one of our banjo hitters EVERY FREAKING GAME. And WHY is Tejada not hitting in the 2-hole, where he hit like crazy? I notice fewer and fewer people in the stands – I wonder if Drayton has. I wonder if it has hit him yet that we’re not the Cubs and he isn’t going to fill the stands with a team like this. Yeah, the 05 team didn’t hit much – basically Mo Ensberg was the ONLY guy who hit with MOB, walked and hit for power every single month. Not these guys.

sigh

Not sure how much worse this team is going to have to get before Drayton takes action, as he did in September 07.

6/24/09: Brett Eibner And The Last 4 Astros Drafts

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

I tuned into the CWS just in time to see Brett Eibner, sophomore from Houston now playing for the Arkansas Razorbacks, hit a homer to break up the 11-0 shutout his team was suffering. And darn if I didn’t see a guy named Chad Jones, playing for LSU, smash a double an inning later. And darn if I didn’t see him pitching in lefty relief several times and giving up NO runs, in spite of the fact that he hadn’t EVER pitched before the tournament.

I know those names all right.

Guys we drafted and lowballed back in 07 in an attempt to make Bud Selig happy so he would

would

Ida know. What WOULD he do for the Astros, seeing as how we already had an ASG in 04?

Anyway, I thought I’d go and take a look at the players we drafted the last 4 years – 05, 06, 07 and 08.

Note: DNS – did not sign; OOB - out of baseball

—————–

2005 – Tim Purpura, GM: Paul Ricciarini, Scouting Director

1 (#24) Brian Bogusevic – Astros wasted 3 pointless years trying to turn him into a pitcher, then let him hit and he’s doing great as a AAA OF -
1 (#38) Eli Iorg: . 529 OPS at AAA, 715 OPS at AA last year. Got promoted because???
2 Ralph Henriquez – traded to Mets after 07 season for minor leaguer (now OOB) – still at A ball and not exactly tearing it up

3 Tommy Manzella – great glove, .740 OPS at AAA, should be in the ML next year
DNS: 3 Josh Lindblom: HS RHP – signed 2nd round Dodgers 08, doing lousy
4 Josh Flores: 23 yo CF – repeating AA and has .651 OPS, good base stealer
OOB: 5 Billy Hart: 3b/OF – crapped out after AA in 2008
6 Brandon Barnes: of, age 23, just promoted to A+ with minor league OPS of .669
OOB – 7 Timothy Johnson: crapped out after 3 years at rookie ball
8 Koby Clemens: 3B, age 22, just promoted to AA with .851 OPS at A+
9 Jordan Meaker: RHP, age 22, 1.47 ERA at A- last year, suckage at A this year
OOB – 10 Allen Langdon: crapped out after Rookie ball in 06
OOB – 11 Cory Lapinski: RH RP – crapped out after 06
OOB – 12 Tom Fairchild: RHP – crapped out in 08 after 2 horrible years at AA
OOB - 13 Eric King: crapped out in 07 at A+
14 Mark Ori: 1B, age 25, high ave, low power at AA
OOB -15 Eric Sheridan: RHP – released after 1 season (4.2 IP – 2 H, 1 BB, 7 K) at low A
OOB -16 Aaron Bulkley: OFcrapped out in 06 after 2 suckage years at A-
OOB -17 Andy Kroeker C: crapped out in 06 after 2 years at A-
DNS -18 Brian Needham: drafted 28th round 09 draft NYM
OOB – 19 Drew Himes: RHP – crapped out after 05 at A-
OOB – 20 Ryan Mitchell: RHP, crapped out at age 18 after 2 years in the rookie league
OOB – 21 Scott Sarver: LHP – gone in 06 after 20 IP at A ball
DNS – 22 T.J. Steele – redrafted by the Astros in the 8th round 08 – killing the ball at A+
23 Chris Blazek: 25 YO RH RP – on the DL at AAA – 4.28 minor league ERA
OOB – 24 Sean Walker: made it to AA last year, crapped out
OOB – 25 Jake Hurry: LHP – crapped out 06 at A ball – couldn’t strike guys out
OOB – 26 Michael Thompson: 3B - crapped out in 07 after reaching A+
DNS – 27 Matt Luca: never signed a pro contract
DNS – 28 Eric Baker: never signed a pro contract
OOB – 29 Jamie Gant: RHP – crapped out in 06 at A ball
OOB – 30 Matt Hirsh: RHP- crapped out in Rookie league 05
DNS: 31 Brad Stone P – signed with Fla in the 06 draft now struggling at AAA
OOB – 32 Cole Graham 1B – crapped out in Rookie league 05
33 Reid Kelly RHP – struggling at A+
OOB – 34 Nathan Warrick OF – crapped out in 06 at A ball
OOB: 35 Andrew Darnell: crapped out in 07 at A ball
OOB – 36 Matt Cunningham: crapped out in A ball in 06
DNS – 37 Matt Bishop: never signed pro contract
DNS: 38 Mike Colla – Picked by Pit in 14th round 08 draft, lights out at A+
DNS: 39 Zachary Williams: never played pro ball
DNS: 40  Collin Fanning: picked by STL 20th round 07, failed at A-

DNS: 41 Casey McCleskey: never played pro ball
OOB – 42 Brandon Stricklen: crapped out in A ball in 06
DNS – 43 Jacob Hower: never played pro ball
DNS – 44 Nick Cobler picked by the Twins in 47th round 07, also did not sign
DNS – 45 Craig Herrforth never played pro ball
DNS – 46 Wes Musick – drafted by Rox in 9th round of 09 draft

47 drafted : 34 signed including the first 18

now in majors – none
traded for someone who played for the Astros: none
still playing: (4) AAA; (3) AA; (3)A
crapped out in 05: 3 – 2 Rookie, one A-
crapped out in 06: 11 – 2 Rookie 9 A
crapped out in 07: 4 – 1 Rookie, 3 A
crapped out in 08: 3 AA

Check out this old MLB article from 05 for the scouting director comments on players…

——————————————

2006 – Tim Purpura, GM: Paul Ricciarini, Scouting Director

1 (#23) Maxwell Sapp: recovering from meningitis, never got past A ball
2 Sergio Perez: RHP repeating AA, not doing well, after being hurt last year
3 Nick Moresi: CF – on DL at AA, has .221 BA/.630 OPS in minors
4 Chris Johnson: 3B in AAA, on DL earlier this year, should be Astros ML in 2010
5 Casey Hudspeth: RHP – second straight year of suckage at AA
6 Bud Norris: RHP – aces high at AAA, should be with the ML club by 2010
OOB – 7 David Qualben: RHP – crapped out at A+ in 2008
8 Jimmy Van Ostrand: RF, age 24, tearing it up at AA with .882 OPS
9 Greg Buchanan: Crapped out in 2008 at A+
DNS – 10 Nate Karns: drafted 2009 12th round by Nats
OOB – 11 Thomas Vessella: crapped out in 2008 in A ball
12 Bryan Hallberg: 24 yo RHO laboring at A+
13 Christopher Salamida: 25 yo RHP pitching lousy at AA
OOB – 14 Justin Tellam: crapped out in 2008 at A ball
OOB – 15 Kevin Fox: RHP – crapped out at A- in 07
OOB – 16 Andrew Holder: crapped out in 07 at A ball
OOB – 17 Justin Stiver: threw 6 innings of 1 hit 1 walk no run ball at A- and left baseball
OOB – 18 Colt Adams: crapped out in A ball in 08
OOB – 19 Orlando Rosales: crapped out in AA in 08
DNS – 20 Mark Sobolewski drafted in the 8th round by the Jays in 08, sucking at A ball
OOB – 21 Anthony Bello: crapped out at A ball in 2008 after a mediocre year
22 Chad Wagler: RH RP – pitching OK at AA
23 Tim Torres: released by Astros after A ball in 08, now with Fla at A ball
DNS – 24 Jonathan Wiedenbauer: never signed any pro contract
DNS – 25 Jamaal Hollis: never signed any pro contract
DNS – 26 Lenell McGee: picked by Dodgers 13th round of 08 draft, didn’t last in rookie ball
OOB – 27 Cirilo Cruz: crapped out in A- in 07
OOB – 28 Brandon Caipen: crapped out in A ball in 07
OOB – 29 Rafael Parks: crapped out Rookie ball 07
30 Eric Taylor: age 23, struggling at A ball
OOB – 31 Kyle Deyoung: crapped out at A ball in 07
OOB – 32 Adam Hale: crapped out in 06 at Rookie ball
DNS – 33 Codi Harshman: still in college
DNS – 34 John Anderson: drafted by Jays in 08, sucking at A ball
DNS – 35 Patrick Allen: never signed pro contract
DNS – 36 Johnathan Moore: never signed pro contract
DNS – 37 Trent Henderson: has never signed pro contract
DNS – 38 Casey Anderson: this is getting monotonous – never signed pro contract
DNS – 39 Will Kline: picked 2nd round 07 by Rays and crapped out that year
DNS – 40 Steve Detwiler: never signed pro contract
41 Axel Gonzalez: crapped out at A- in 07
DNS – 42 Kevin Sullivan: never signed pro contract
DNS – 43 Greg Joseph: never signed pro contract
DNS – 44 Adam Pilate: never signed pro contract
DNS – 45 Cody Madison: never signed pro contract
DNS – 46 Joey Wong: picked 29th round of the 09 draft by the Rox
DNS – 47 Michael Pericht: picked 16th round Dodgers 2009
DNS – 48 Jerry Quinones: never signed pro contract
DNS – 49 Andy Launier: never signed pro contract
DNS – 50 Tyler Henley: drafted by STL 8th round 07 draft, tearing up AA

50 drafted : 28 signed and of the 22 who didn’t sign, 14 never signed a pro contract with any other team. Of the 7 signed by some other team, 3 crapped out in a year and only the 50th rounder is excelling with another Organization.

now in majors – none, but 2 players clearly look ML ready and any other club would have called them up, but not our Rookie hating manager…
traded for someone who played for the Astros: none
still playing: (2) AAA; (6) AA; (4) A
crapped out in 06: 1 in A ball, 1 in Rookie ball
crapped out in 07: 6 in A ball, 1 in Rookie ball
crapped out in 08: 6 in A ball, 1 at AA

Whoa

As usual, Drayton was serious about the slot business because almost every HS guy went to college – and they didn’t sign 17 of the last 20 players.

With any luck, they will get 2 ML players, Bud Norris and Chris Johnson out of the Draft, perhaps Jimmy Van Ostrand and Sergio Perez, if he ever pulls himself together.

———————————————

2007 - Tim Purpura, GM; Paul Ricciarini, Scouting Director (this is the – if you thought Drayton was a total cheap dipstick in 06 yew ain’t see nothin yet – draft. Not a single FA was offered arb and the 1st and 2nd round picks were forfeited because of the signing of Carlos Lee and Woody Williams…

AKA – worst draft EVAH)

DNS – 3 Derek Dietrich: star SS at Georgia Tech
DNS – 4 Brett Eibner now a star at U of Arkansas thanks to cheapo Drayton
5 Collin Delome: .813 OPS at AA
OOB – 6 David Dinelli: crapped out at Rookie ball in 08
7 Russell Dixon: 2B – massive suckage at A ball
DNS – 8 Chad Bettis: excelling at Texas Tech
OOB – 9 Luis Pardo: crapped out at A ball in 08
10 Matt Cusick: traded to the Yankees for LaTroy Hawkins; has .765 OPS at A+ as 2B
11 Robert Bono: pitching well at A ball, even with low K/9
12 Brian Pellegrini: just promoted to A ball and struggling
DNS – 13 Chad Jones: excelling at LSU as ace lefty reliever thanks to el-cheapo Drayton
14 Craig Corrado: has 529 OPS at A+
DNS – 15 Matt Fitts: picked 16th round by A’s in 08, now sucking at A ball
OOB – 16 Devon Torrence: crapped out in Rookie ball in 08
OOB – 17 Mason Roberts: crapped out in Rookie ball in 07
OOB – 18 Brian Espersen: crapped out in low A in 07
19 Jon Fixler: C - low BA, high SLG at AA
20 Kyle Greenwalt: pitching decently at A ball in spite of low K/9
21 Kyle Miller: 599 OPS at A ball
OOB – 22 Drew Anderson: crapped out Rookie ball in 07
OOB – 23 Charlie Gamble: crapped out at A- in 07 (had an OPS over 1 in college for 3 yrs)
OOB – 24 Philip Stringer: crapped out at Rookie ball in 07
OOB – 25 Kevin Carkeek: crapped out in A+ in 08
OOB – 26 Sal Iacono: crapped out at A+ in 08
OOB – 27 Brett Robinson: (Dewey’s son) crapped out in A ball in 08
OOB – 28 Jared Pitts: crapped out in A- in 07
OOB – 29 Travis Sweet 3Bcrapped out at A+ in 08
OOB – 30 Danny Gil: crapped out in A ball with Astros, picked up by Nats, threw 17 great relief innings in Rookie ball, then dropped after 08
31 Jason Dominguez: either on DL or released from A+ ball this year
32 David Miller: crapped out in 08 for Astros at A- and is on DL or dropped by Jays in 09
OOB – 33 Cody Phipps: crapped out after 11 PA in Rookie ball in 07
34 Brian Wabick: Hanging in there at A ball with high K/9, low BB/9 and 5.35 ERA
35 Jordan Powell: righty reliever pitching OK at A+
36 Albert Cartwright: 2B with .794 OPS at A ball
OOB – 37 Jake Leonhardt: crapped out in A ball in 08
DNS – 38 Robbie Weinhardt: picked in 10th round in 08 by Det, now ace reliever at A+
DNS – 39 Brian Fletcher: now playing at Auburn
DNS – 40 Kyle Erdman: never signed pro contract
41 Colton Pitkin: 19 yo righty reliever – either on DL or OOB at A-
OOB – 42 Chris Turner: crapped out in Rookie ball in 08

43 Marques Williams: hi ave low power at A ball
OOB – 44 Cat Everett: crapped out in A ball in 08 (and they gave him PLENTY of PA)

42 drafted : 34 signed (trouble is that the guys who DNS were #3, #4, #8, #13, #15)

now in majors – none
traded for someone who played for the Astros: 1 (Matt Cusick)
still playing: (0) AAA; (2 – #5, # 19) AA; (10-13, depending on whether players are on DL or released) A
crapped out in 07: 4 in Rookie, 4 in Low A (26 guys left at end of draft year)
crapped out in 08: 3 in Rookie, 7 in A ball (16 guys left at end of last year)

Of guys left in pro ball in the Astros Organization, only, Collin DeLome appears to have any chance whatsoever of reaching even AAA.

Of the DNS, 3 are stars in college ball and 1 was selected by another club the next year and is excelling

The only reason to not call this particular draft a complete and total waste of time/scouting/money is that one A ball guy was traded for a useful reliever in the ML club.

I don’t know exactly where to lay the blame for this simply dreadful draft, but if all these guys were lowball/guys who would sign for slot picks, then THAT decision rests strictly with Drayton. And the fact that exactly 3 players in this entire draft are not COMPLETE suckage doesn’t say real too much for Drayton’s decision not to spend any real money to purchase young players.

—————————————————————————–

2008 – Ed Wade, GM: Bobby Heck, Scouting Director

1 (#10)  Jason Castro: they BADLY want this guy to succeed and he’s in AA.
1 (#38)  Jordan Lyles: 18 yo righty pitching VERY well at A ball, should be in A+ soon
2 Jay Austin: 18 yo with 645 OPS at A ball
DNS – 3 Chase Davidson: chose college at Georgia (not because of no bonus offered)
3 Ross Seaton: 19 yo righty pitching VERY well at A ball in spite of low K/9
4 T.J. Steele: 22 yo OF slaughtering the ball at A+ with 1.065 OPS;  time for AA
5 David Duncan: pitching LOUSY at A+ and wasn’t that good in college either
6 J.B. Shuck : 22 yo with 808 OPS at A+
7 Jonathan Gaston: 22 yo with 1.058 OPS at A+
8 Brad Dydalewicz: 19 yo lefty pitching lights out at A ball - too many walks, though
9 Luis Cruz: pitched 23.2 very good innings in Rookie ball, had arm trouble, now at low A
OOB – 10 Jarred Holloway: crapped out in 08 at age 18 in Rookie ball
11 Jacob Priday: barely hanging on in A ball with 666 OPS
12 Jeff Hulett: sucked at A- last year and 1 AB this year – don’t know if he is on DL or gone
13 Kyle Godfrey: 22 yo repeating A-
14 Chris Hicks: 22 yo righty sucking at A+
15 Phil Disher: 24 yo killed ball at A- and now with 534 OPS at A ball

DNS – 16 Josh Poythress: went to Fresno State instead
17 Andy Simunic: 23 yo 2B with 581 OPS at A ball
18 David Flores: 22 yo 3B with 669 OPS at A+
19 Ashton Mowdy: very good 23 yo righty reliever at A ball with 0.81 WHIP over 31 IP
DNS – 20 Shea Robin: never signed pro contract
DNS: 21 Rodarrick Jones: went to college at UNO
DNS – 22 Terrance Jackson: LHP, still in college, best I can tell
DNS – 23 Chase Hutchingson: must have gone on to 4 year college from JuCo
24 Danny Meier: 23 yo – 1 AB at A- this year, didn’t do well at A- last year
25 Michael Hacker: lil lefty reliever is walktastic at A-
26 Shane Wolf: 22 yo lefty starter struggling at A+
OOB – 27 Nate Pettus: 19 yo crapped out at Rookie ball in 08
28 Zach Grimmett: 18 yo threw 31 IP in relief at Rookie ball, now in A-
29 Chris Jackson: 22 yo SS barely surviving at A+
30 Michael Diaz: 22 yo 2B with 676 OPS at A ball
31 Philip Rummel: 24 yo reliever pitching horribly at A+ (44 H/ 24 IP)
DNS – 32 Bryan Vollmuth: at college with Southern Miss
DNS – 33 Shawn Armstrong: went to ECU
DNS – 34 Jordan Jankowski: went to college at Miami, Ohio
35 Rene Garcia: 18 yo C – 4 AB at A- this year, had 795 OPS at Rookie ball in 08
DNS – 36 Austin Wood: RHP – went to Fla State (NOT the UT closer)
37 Kirkland Rivers: 23 yo RH RP pitched 7.1 good innings at A ball
DNS – 38 Kristofer Castellanos: LHP went to Fla State
DNS – 39 Tyson Van Winkle: picked in 10th round 2009 draft by Dbax
DNS – 40 Scott Lawson: went to U of Miami
DNS – 41 Tony McClendon: went to Cal State Fullerton
DNS – 42 Ryan Danbury: age 21, never signed pro contract
DNS – 43 Austin Green: went to U of San Diego/San Diego State??
DNS – 44 Edmond Sparks: picked 23rd round 09 draft by Braves
DNS – 45 Grayson Garvin: went to Vanderbilt
DNS – 46 Mike Modica: age 23, picked AGAIN by Astros, this time in 24th round 2009
47 Nathan Metroka: 460 OPS at A ball in 44 PA

48 Danny Meszaros: 23 yo righty reliever, struggling to adjust to AA – 19 IP with 1.31 WHIP
OOB – 49 Chase Lehr: crapped out in 9.2 IP at Rookie ball in 08
DNS – 50 Jamal Austin: went to UAB

51 drafted : 30 signed

now in majors – none
traded for someone who played for the Astros: none
still playing: (0) AAA; (2) AA; (22) A
crapped out in 08: 5 in Rookie ball, 1 at A-

7 of the players in the 1st 10 rounds are playing well – 2 are already gone (and I’m not sure why one of them didn’t return as he did VERY well). Rounds 19, 37 and 48 are looking decent and may have a chance to succeed to at least AAA.

The remaining players look as if they are barely hanging on by their fingernails.

Interesting that they decided to oust some guys only 18 or 19 years old after only a few IP or PA. Wonder why.

You notice that Ed Wade didn’t sign hardly any of the last 20 picks either.

Other thing – I hate to judge the Astros by other Organizations because the Astros seem to try to keep young players in the minors until they are at least 27 years old, if not older or Designated For Success No Matter What like Jason Castro. And when they finally get around to calling them up, like Maysonet, they glue them to the bench in favor of ANY crappy veteran.

Last thing – the only seriously terrible draft by Purpura was the last one because he didn’t sign ANY player with ANY upside of those he actually did get signed and he only managed to get 1, maybe 2, decent minor leaguers.

That is SAD.

ADDENDUM 6/24/08:

At this time, the Astros have signed 28 of their 51 picks, including 2,3,4,5,6,9,10.

6/23/09: Russ Ortiz Pitches His Best Start This Year And Loses

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

Russ Ortiz did a GREAT job – threw 7 innings, scattered 2 walks and 5 hits. Unfortunately, he got no help from his teammates OR his manager who started Darin Freaking Erstad instead of Berkman and sent crappy Matt Kata and Jason Michaels up to pinch hit instead of Maysonet, who hasn’t had so much as a PH AB in 8 days. Manager sure has a problem with “young” players, meaning he doesn’t want to play them.

Greinke wasn’t exactly unhittable, but when you have Erstad hitting 6th (you have a guy hitting his season HIGH of .140 hitting 6th, now WHY?????!!!!) it ain’t to hard to pitch out of jams.

sigh

It’s Luke Hochevar (1st pick in the 06 draft) and his 6.61 ERA tomorrow. He’s been extremely erratic – gave up 7 R in 4 IP vs the Dbax last start, but threw a 3 hit CG against the Reds the start before. And I would like to see Roy go all Wandy at home this time.

Oh yeah

TAYLOR JUNGMAN ROOLZ!!!!!

GO TEXAS!!!

6/22/09: Wandy The Ace Returns And Pounds The Twins

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

7 innings, 2 hits, 1 HR, 1 single, 3 walks, 2 GIDP, 8 K.

It helped that he had the curve REALLY working today. He threw 114 pitches, 78 strikes, 12 swinging. 30 of the 114 pitches were curves, 18 were strikes and he got 6 outs on a curve. He only threw 5 changeups and both of the hits he gave up were on changes.

One thing that I did notice was that this game, Wandy varied the speed on his fastball more than usual, varying from 88-92 in the same AB. He got a LOT of foul balls – 36 of em, to be exact, and except for a few times, it was because he had changed the speed of the FB.

It also helped that Tony Randazzo, the HP ump only made one bad call – pitch #3 to Joe Mauer in the 6th was a no argument about it strike 3. But fortunately, it only cost Wandy 1 pitch extra to get him out. The ump was very consistant with both pitchers, gotta tip my hat and he called the borderline calls very well at all 4 corners.

Everyone got on base at least once except Carlos, still slumping, but he did drive in a run, so that is OK.

And the umps only made one serious error – calling Pence out in the 3rd – Tolbert’s foot was CLEARLY not on the bag at second.

Not bad. I’ll take it.

A blessed day off tomorrow, and I’ll try to finish my eval of the last couple of Astros drafts.

6/21/09: The Bourn Slugger Propels Brian Moehler Over Twins

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

Slugger Bourn stood at the plate waving his Thunderstick, his gaudy .298 average glinting off the Dome’s pristeen white. Stood ready, waiting, for one of those rare strikes thrown past a man of his feared, no, terrifying reputation. Senn Henn, he of large testicles and small brain, threw a juicy fastball, daring Our Beloved Sluggah to even TRY to hit it.

Oh yes, and with one casual swing of His Mighty Bat, that ball was hit SOOOOOO far, SOOOOO hard that when it clanked against the seats in right, TWO balls emerged!!!!!

Top THAT, Albert Pujols, you pretender to the Throne of incomparability!!!!

With the game not on the line, no one on base and the Astros ahead by 2 runs, banjo hitting Lance Berkman and his .241 average, managed to steady his quaking nerves enough to sneak a changeup over the fence. The RF was so shocked that a hitter of Berkman’s ilk could actually hit a baseball that far that he was frozen into stunned immobility and could only stare as the baseball soared 80′ over his head to clank off the signage.

Meanwhile, Brian Moehler threw very well, giving up only 3 solo homers, a double and a walk over 6 innings. He was pulled after the 6th after throwing only 95 pitches. This way, the Astros can go by that Book that Nolan Ryan hates so much and have The 7th Inning Guy pitch the 7th, The 8th Inning Guy pitch the 8th and The Closer pitch the 9th.

Miggy and Carlos again went ofer without a walk or RBI, but Pence and Pudge both picked it up for them – Pence getting 2 hits and Pudge driving him in.

Jason Michaels has managed to get his batting average up to just under his weight and actually got a PINCH HIT tonight, which drove in a RUN.

Yes, you read that right.

Well, they say that wait long enough and anything can happen…

But seriously folks – back to Michael Bourn - here are a few facts about his performance so far this year.

He has started in 62/66 games this year and is ofer 2 as a PH. In the 62 games he has started, he has reached base at least once during the game in all but 5 games.

That is a team best 92% reached base at least once/game started.

Here are his monthly lines:

April: .261/.354/.377/.731 – 11 RS – 18/69 with 10 BB, 16 K, 6 SB, 1 CS, 4 RBI
May:  .303/.361/.385/.747 – 17 RS – 33/109 with 9 BB, 24 K, 10 SB, 2 CS, 8 RBI
June: .313/.405/.463/.868 – 10 RS – 21/67 with 11 BB, 14 K, 7 SB, 4 CS, 4 RBI

Pretty good for a guy that almost everyone wanted OFF this team before the year started. It’s too bad that just about everyone expects any rookie who is called up to play like a RoY.

More fun with stats. Let’s take a look at GIDP/PA. (I wish I could do GIDP/PA with man on first and less than 2 outs, but I just don’t have the time to search each game log and I can’t find that exact number and if one of yall can, please tell me where it is.) Also, plate discipline, meaning pitches swung at which are out of the strike zone, (PPSAOOZ) per www.Fangraphs.com. And yes, it is too bad I don’t have exact numbers on how many pitches out of the strike zone which were swung at went for hits.)

Berkman : 6/278 = 2.16% PSAOOZ = 20.3% about where it has been since 06. Before it was around 12%
Blum: 5/173 = 2.89% PSAOOZ = 29.2% and has been steadily rising every year
Bourn: 1/285 = 0.35% PSAOOZ = 20%
Erstad: 1/78 = 1.28% PSAOOZ = 33.7% – he hasn’t displayed his usual judgement since joining the Astros
Kata: 2/22 = 9.09% PSAOOZ = 38.9% (lifetime average of 24.5%, so I would guess small sample size error)
Keppinger: 3/142 = 2.11% PSAOOZ = 17.4%
Lee: 7/273 = 2.56% PSAOOZ = 24.1%
Matsui: 1/180 = 0.55% PSAOOZ = 26.9%
Maysonet: 0/67 = zero PSAOOZ – 27.4%
Michaels: 1/64 = 1.56% PSAOOZ = 28.6%
Pence: 8/277 = 2.89% PSAOOZ = 26.8% (down from 36% last year!!!!!)
Quintero: 2/51 = 3.92% PSAOOZ = 47.4%
Pudge: 10/202 = 4.95% PSAOOZ = 36%
Tejada: 12/283 = 4.24% PSAOOZ = 31%

Interesting about Keppinger – he seldom strikes out or swings at pitches out of the strike zone, just like Barry Lamar, although certainly his numbers aren’t NEAR Barry’s. He certainly can’t hit the ball as hard and he hits a lot more grounders. Contrary to popular opinion, hitting the ball on the ground (usually) results in a LOT more outs than hitting the ball in the air unless you are a Brett Butler type who beats out bunts and infield hits, and guys like him have decreased with the disappearance of artificial turf and the worship of the homer.