Found March 30, 2012 on
Fox Sports Houston:
New York Yankees
Boston Red Sox
1. Paul Clemens and Jarred Cosart
The Astros knew that Cosart had huge upside, but during spring training the organization was even more encouraged but what it saw from the 21-year-old pitcher. Clemens, 24, pitched just five innings this spring and allowed only two hits but he has the look of a front of the rotation pitcher. In fact, it's not hard to conceive Cosart and Clemens as the bona fide front two for the Astros for years.
2. Jonathan Singleton
Even before he steps into the batter's box Singleton has the frame of a big-time prospect. He is nimble in his footwork around first base and his size suggests he will be a very productive offensive player. Singleton got 10 at-bats in the spring and produced four hits. In 1,099 minor league plate appearances, Singleton has a .393 on-base percentage. He is only 20 years old.
3. Jason Castro
The Astros hope they can finally watch Castro for a full Major League season. Injuries wrecked 2011 but Castro has been perhaps the most encouraging sign of the 2012 spring, batting .306 and playing well defensively. While he may not be ready to catch a full nine innings consistently, the fact that Castro is healthy is a relief. As a former first-round pick, if Castro can become simply a good, solid every day catcher, it was a worthwhile selection.
Like it or not, it's now an emphasis for several teams. Call it sabermetrics, data analysis or analytics, numbers crunching is the latest tool for predicting future player production. It's not the be-all, end-all but the Astros are utilizing a method now accepted as a valuable tool. New GM Jeff Luhnow had a good track record in analyzing players with the Cardinals and here's hope that trend continues.
5. The first overall pick of 2012
The reward for a 106-loss season is the top selection in the draft. Sure, top picks fail, but Chipper Jones, Alex Rodriguez and Joe Mauer were also taken at the top of the draft. The Astros absolutely have to get this one right and perhaps they can land a franchise-caliber player.
6. George Springer
It's hard to judge a player off of 33 plate appearances as a professional. But, by all accounts, this kid has the ability to become a very good starting centerfielder and that means a lot at Minute Maid Park.
7. Renewed emphasis on customer service
This is not to dismiss former owner Drayton McLane and his on-going effort to please the fans (signing Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and keeping Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell around for life). But new owner Jim Crane is undertaking a more grass-roots effort with initiatives such as allowing fans to bring food to the park. Crane gets the fact that attendance has been decreasing in recent years and he and his partners didn't spend over 600 million to allow that to continue.
8. J.D. Martinez
No one predicts Martinez to become a perennial All-Star. But teams need for some players that weren't expected to have an impact at the big-league level surprise and Martinez is one of those guys. A former 20th-round pick, Martinez could very well become another solid every day run producer. There's value in that.
9. Visits by the Yankees and Red Sox
Of course the majority of hardcore Astros fans are not happy with the coming switch to the American League. But watching the premier franchises in baseball at Minute Maid routinely is one benefit.
10. Jimmy Paredes
Someone has to be able to turn all that skill and athleticism into a big leaguer. Paredes is one of those athletes whose talents scream big leaguer. But what's his position and can he put it all together to become a baseball player as opposed to a guy that just looks the part.
BEST OF MAXIM
Livan Hernandez agreed Friday to a $750,000, one-year contract with the Atlanta Braves, a short time after he was released from a minor league deal with the Houston Astros.
After being released at noon, Hernandez arrived at the Braves' spring training complex, about 15 miles away.
Hernandez is the active leader in starts (474) and innings (3,121 2-3). He was the opening-day...
Now that was quick.
Shortly after getting released by the Houston Astros, right-hander Livan Hernandez signed a one-year contract with the Atlanta Braves on Friday. The deal is for $750,000 with $750,000 in potential performance bonuses.
The Braves, seeking depth for their pitching staff, plan to use Hernandez as a long reliever and spot starter.
Hernandez, 37, was 1-2 with a...
KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) -- The Houston Astros have released right-hander Livan Hernandez, baseball's active leader in starts and innings, from his minor league contract.
General manager Jeff Luhnow made the announcement Friday. The 37-year-old Hernandez made five starts for the Astros this spring training after signing with the club on Jan. 31.
Hernandez had hoped to pitch for...
While Opening Day is only a week away and there will be a lot written and said about the 25 man first game active roster, the bigger question is how many Astros will there be this season?
Even teams that go wire to wire in winning pennants don't finish the season with the same 25 that started it. A team that is coming off a 106 loss season with a number of new faces and a significant...
The Houston Astros have released right-hander Livan Hernandez, baseball's active leader in starts and innings, from his minor-league contract.
General manager Jeff Luhnow made the announcement Friday. The 37-year-old Hernandez made five starts for the Astros in spring training after signing with the club on Jan. 31.
Hernandez had hoped to pitch for a 17th season with his eighth...
The Houston Astros released veteran righthander Livan Hernandez on Friday.
The 37-year-old Hernandez had signed a minor league contract with the team last month.
A former World Series MVP, Hernandez was the opening day starter for the Washington Nationals last season.
He went 8-13 with a 4.47 ERA in 29 games for the Nationals last year and is 174-176 with a 4.39 career ERA.
KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) -- Bud Norris allowed one run in six innings and a Houston Astros split squad beat an Atlanta Braves split squad 5-1 on Friday night.
Chris Johnson's two-run single highlighted a four-run fourth inning for the Astros off Atlanta starter Randall Delgado, who took the loss.
Norris gave up three hits and no walks.
Jason Castro had two of the Astros' six...
In perhaps the fasteset set of transaction I’ve ever seen, the Astros announced that they were releasing Livan Hernandez at 12:07 pm eastern time, and then Jon Heyman reported that Livan was signing with the Braves at 2:02 pm eastern. Livan wasn’t even unemployed for two hours.
Livan’s a pretty fascinating guy. While his xFIPs are crazy consistent over the last four years...
KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) -- Robinson Cano and Raul Ibanez each had two-run homers, 19-year-old Dante Bichette Jr. connected on the first two pitches he saw this spring and the New York Yankees beat the Houston Astros 11-9 in a game Saturday shortened to eight innings by rain.
The Yankees and Astros combined for nine home runs.
Jordan Lyles, bidding for one of two open spots in the...
Houston Astros catcher Jason Castro feels he is all the way back from the right knee injury that cost him the 2011 season.
Castro caught all nine innings of Friday night's 5-1 split-squad victory over the Atlanta Braves.
He added a couple of hits, raising his batting average to .333 in 39 at-bats.
''I made some mechanical adjustments in my swing. It was something I...
Shortly after getting released by the Houston Astros, right-handed pitcher Livan Hernandez signed a one-year contract with the Atlanta Braves on Friday.Hernandez will make $750,000 this season with the potential to earn an additional $750,000 in performance bonuses.A former World Series MVP, Hernandez was the opening day starter for the Washington Nationals last season.
The Houston Astros have released Livan Hernandez, senior director of social media Alyson Footer reports. back in January, the Astros signed Hernandez to a minor league deal.
In 16 Spring innings, Hernandez went 1-2 with a 5.63 era while allowing 23 hits.
Hernandez went 8-13 with a 4.47 era for the Nationals in 2011. In 2001 with the Giants, Hernandez hit .296 in 81 at-bats, totaling...
According to Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington, the Washington Nationals have signed left handed pitcher Zach Duke. Zuckerman adds that Duke will report to Minor League camp and will probably be in Syracuse rotation.
Duke was released by the Astros two days ago. He was 3-4 with a 4.93 ERA, 0.7 HR/9, 2.2 BB/9 and 3.8 SO/9 in 76.2 innings in 2011 with the Diamondbacks.
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