H-Town Sports

Houston Sports Blog - Real sports cities have TWO Conference USA teams

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Astros Farm Report

AAA: Round Rock held off Oklahoma 8-7 Wednesday night on the road powered by the bat of IF Brooks Conrad, who homered and scored four runs for the Express. C Humberto Quintero had three knocks in the win, and Luke Scott added a pair of hits and drove in two. Chris Sampson had a so-so outing and recorded the win, and more importantly, Mike Gallo came in to face one hitter in the eighth inning, and that hitter promptly doubled in two runs. Nice to know that there are some things that you can always count on in life.

Don't forget, Brandon Backe makes his first rehab start tonight for the Express.

AA: Corpus Christi embarassed Springfield 8-0 behind Chance Douglass' stellar pitching effort. Douglass' name seems to be forgotten behind guys like Patton, Hirsh and Albers, and understandbly so, but he is quietly moving up the minor league ladder in rather dominant fashion. Douglass struck out ten and allowed only five hits in a complete-game shutout. 25 year-old Ben Zobrist continued his boring annihilation of Double-A pitching, reaching base four out of five times and stealing a pair of bases. Marc Saccomanno hit his fifth home run for the Hooks as well.

As a quick aside, let me re-state this: Ben Zobrist played college baseball at Dallas Baptist University, is 25 years old and is currently playing in Double-A. In his first season (2004) at Tri-City, Ben recorded astounding numbers at the plate: .339/.438/.463. He split 2005 between Lexington (.304/.415/.413) and Salem (.333/.475/.496) and is currently hitting at a .331/.439/.462 clip for the Hooks. He's unquestionably a better hitter AT THIS VERY MOMENT than Eric Bruntlett or Adam Everett, and he's older than everday major-league shortstops Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez, Jhonny Peralta Aaron Hill, Ronny Cedeno, Ian Kinsler, J.J. Hardy and Yuniesky Betancourt. As part of a recurring theme, this is further proof that the Astros minor-league philosophy is a complete joke.

Greg Rajan, the excellent beat writer for the Hooks, has a great feature on the Hooks' closer Paul Estrada out of Venezeula. Estrada's got 91 K's in 54 innings, and opponents are hitting just .197 against him on the season. As a reliever, he's SECOND in the Texas League in K's behind teammate (and starting pitcher) Juan Gutierrez. His out pitch is a devastating forkball, about which pitching coach Joe Slusarski simply raves in Rajan's piece. T-Poo: Pick up the phone. What's the point of waiting? This guy is clearly ready for the next level, right? He's 23, not 18. Make a MOVE!!!

High-A: The Legends rallied for three runs in the ninth to knock off Greenville 7-5. Four hits, including a home run, for Ole Sheldon, and two hits, a walk and a homer for RF Ryan Reed.

Low-A: Salem had a fine showing at the All-Star Game, with Beau Torbert racking up two hits and two RBI, Chad Reineke pitching a scoreless inning for the win and closer Pablo Escobar earning the save.

Short Season A
: Tri-City defeated Vancouver 2-1 despite picking up only a single hit. Three errors and five walks helped push a run across for the Dust Devils, got seven scoreless innings from Tomas Santiago.

Rookie: Greenville pushed across a pair of runs in the eighth inning to earn a home win over Johnson City. DH Ralph Henriquez was the hero with a two-run shot, his second of the season.


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