Taylor, 3 Legends picked for SAL all-star game

June 8, 2009

Lexington Legends pitchers Robert Bono and Ross Seaton, along with third baseman Ebert Rosario, were named Monday to the South Atlantic League’s Southern Division all-star team.

Charley Taylor

Charley Taylor

Pitching coach Charley Taylor, who has been unable to join the team this season due to bladder cancer and subsequent surgery to remove his bladder and prostate, was honored by being named to the coaching staff.

Ebert Rosario

Ebert Rosario

The 50th SAL All-Star game is schedule for 7:35 p.m., June 23 at Appalachian Power Park, home of the West Virginia Power in Charleston.

Rosario will start at third base. Through Sunday, he is batting .304 with four homers and 20 RBI.

Robert Bono

Robert Bono

Ross Seaton

Ross Seaton

Bono is 5-2 and third in the league with a 1.93 ERA. Fellow right-hander Seaton is 6-5, 10th in the league with a 2.49 ERA and the only pitcher in the league to have thrown a nine-inning complete game shutout. (Two other pitchers threw seven-inning complete game shutouts.)

Former Eastern Kentucky University pitcher Christian Friedrich was selected for his work with the Asheville Tourists. However, Friedrich was promoted from Asheville to the High-A Modesto Nuts on May 20.

In eight starts for the Tourists, the left-hander was 3-3, ninth in the league with a 2.18 ERA and second in the league with 66 strikeouts. The Colorado Rockies selected Friedrich in the first round of the 2008 draft. In two starts for Modesto, he has no decisions and a 2.77 ERA.

Christian Friedrich

Christian Friedrich

Greenville leads the Southern Division with five all-stars, including starting pitcher Casey Kelly and first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Greenville’s Kevin Boles will manage the squad, assisted by Charleston (S.C.) manager Torre Tyson and pitching coach Jeff Ware, Greenville hitting coach Billy McMillon and pitching coach Bob Kipper, and Taylor.

Asheville, Charleston and Savannah each have four players on the Southern roster, with two starters each: catcher Jordan Pacheco and center fielder Scott Robinson for the Tourists; right fielder Melky Mesa and designated hitter Daniel Brewer for the RiverDogs; and second baseman Joshua Satin and left fielder Sean Ratliff from the Sand Gnats.

Bowling Green and Augusta have two all-stars each. Bowling Green’s Tim Beckham will start at shortstop.

The Hickory Crawdads and Lakewood BlueClaws lead the Northern stars with six players each. Greensboro has four players and host West Virginia has three.

Lakewood’s Dusty Wathan will manager the Northern team, assisted by BlueClaws coach Tim Gradoville. Also assisting will be managers Gary Green of West Virginia and Ernie Young of Kannapolis, plus West Virginia pitching coach Jeff Johnson.

The 27-player rosters were selected by a vote of league managers and coaching staffs, media and front-office executives. 

 

2009 SAL ALL-STAR ROSTERS

 

 

 

POSITION

NORTHERN DIVISION

MANAGER

Dusty Wathan

Lakewood

COACH

Gary Green

West Virginia

COACH

Tim Gradoville

Lakewood

COACH

Ernie Young

Kannapolis

COACH

Jeff Johnson

West Virginia

PITCHERS

Richard Zagone

Delmarva

 

Tyler Cloyd

Lakewood

 

Justin DeFratus

Lakewood

 

Johnny Dorn

Greensboro

 

Rudy Owens

West Virginia

 

Yoon-Hee Nam

Hickory

 

Peter Andrelczyk

Greensboro

 

Dan Remenowsky

Kannapolis

 

Alexander Perez

Lake County

 

Marcos Frias

Hagerstown

 

Brian Rosenberg

Lakewood

 

Martin Perez

Hickory

CATCHERS

Derek Norris

Hagerstown

 

Doug Hogan

Hickory

 

Travis D’Arnaud

Lakewood

FIRST BASEMAN

Ben Lasater

Greensboro

SECOND BASEMAN

Karexon Sanchez

Lake County

THIRD BASEMAN

Paul Gran

Greensboro

SHORTSTOP

Chase D’Arnaud

West Virginia

UTILITY INFIELDER

Erik Morrison

Hickory

UTILITY INFIELDER

Harold Garcia

Lakewood

RIGHT FIELD

Michael Bianucci

Hickory

CENTER FIELD

Anthony Gose

Lakewood

LEFT FIELD

Tyler Kuhn

Kannapolis

UTILITY OUTFIELDER

David Paisano

Hickory

UTILITY OUTFIELDER

Ronnie Welty

Delmarva

DESIGNATED HITTER

Calvin Anderson

West Virginia

TRAINER

Keito Homma

West Virginia

 

 

 

 

 

 

POSITION

SOUTHERN DIVISION

MANAGER

Kevin Boles

Greenville

COACH

Torre Tyson

Charleston

COACH

Billy McMillon

Greenville

COACH

Jeff Ware

Charleston

COACH

Bob Kipper

Greenville

COACH

Charley Taylor

Lexington

PITCHERS

Casey Kelly

Greenville

 

Jeffrey Kaplan

Savannah

 

Robert Bono

Lexington

 

Hector Noesi

Charleston

 

Christian Friedrich

Asheville

 

Ezekiel Spruill

Rome

 

Pat Venditte

Charleston

 

Ross Seaton

Lexington

 

Daniel Runzler

Augusta

 

Jimmy Johnson

Savannah

 

Armando Zerpa

Greenville

 

Chris Andujar

Bowling Green

CATCHERS

Jordan Pacheco

Asheville

 

Tim Federowicz

Greenville

 

Jesus Sucre

Rome

FIRST BASEMAN

Anthony Rizzo

Greenville

SECOND BASEMAN

Joshua Satin

Savannah

THIRD BASEMAN

Ebert Rosario

Lexington

SHORTSTOP

Tim Beckham

Bowling Green

UTILITY INFIELDER

James Cesario

Asheville

UTILITY INFIELDER

Juan Perez

Augusta

RIGHT FIELD

Melky Mesa

Charleston

CENTER FIELD

Scott Robinson

Asheville

LEFT FIELD

Sean Ratliff

Savannah

UTILITY OUTFIELDER

David Mailman

Greenville

UTILITY OUTFIELDER

Luis Sumoza

Rome

DESIGNATED HITTER

Daniel Brewer

Charleston

TRAINER

James Petra

Augusta

 

 

  

 


De Leon single in 14th gives Legends 3-2 win

May 11, 2009
The Lexington Legends are back in town for eight games, tied for first place in the South Atlantic League’s Southern Division and itching to snap a four-game losing streak.

Things are off to a fast start on a Monday night at Applebee’s Park.

The Charleston RiverDogs package three hits and a walk in the first inning. Abraham Almonte’s bases-loaded single to center gives the New York Yankees affiliate a 2-0 lead.

Jay Austin

Jay Austin

Federico Hernandez

Federico Hernandez

The Legends come back with two in the bottom of the inning.

Jay Austin leads off with a double to the right-field corner. One out later, Federico Hernandez rips an Andrew Brackman fastball for a home run off of the awning over the right-field deck.

Legends right-hander Robert Bono, who wasn’t missing his spots by much in the first inning, settles down to blank the RiverDogs in the second and third, although yielding three more singles.

Robert Bono

Robert Bono

The first of those hits, by Mike Lyon, nearly turned into a spectacular out. Shortstop Jorge De Leon made a diving stop of a hard-hit ball up the middle, but was unable to make a clean glove-to-hand transfer.

Jorge De Leon

Jorge De Leon

DeLeon and DH Michael Diaz are making their Legends debuts Monday. A third, second baseman Andy Simunic, is making his home debut.

More on the newcomers coming up. The Legends have just been retired, so the totals after three innings:

Charleston: 2 runs, 6 hits, 1 error. Lexington: 2 runs, 3 hits, 0 errors.

* The arrival of new players reflects the team health, rather than any player promotions.

Simunic was called from extended spring training when 2B Albert Cartwright suffered a broken forearm.

De Leon is filling in at short for Ricardo Bonfante, who has been placed on the DL due to a dislocated left shoulder.

Kyle Miller

Kyle Miller

Diaz trades places with infielder Kyle Miller, who has been sent to extended spring training.

* Meanwhile, both teams put up zeroes in the fourth inning.

Charleston shortstop Carmen Angelini, called out on strikes to end the top half of the inning, was ejected for arguing the call.

Michael Diaz

Michael Diaz

De Leon, a 6-foot, 168-pound 21-year-old from the Dominican Republic, signed with the Houston Astros in 2006. He spent two seasons in the Dominican Summer League and spent last season with the Greeneville Astros of the Appalachian League. His three-year totals include a .216 average, six homers, 50 RBI and nine stolen bases.

Diaz (5-10, 180, age 22), from Monroe, Conn., was selected by the Astros in the 30th round of last June’s draft, out of Southern Connecticut State University. He broke in with Tri-City of the New York-Penn League last summer, hitting .282 with five homers and 22 RBI over 48 games. He also stole six bases.

Andy Simunic

Andy Simunic

Ashton Mowdy

Ashton Mowdy

Simunic (6-0, 175, 23), from Collierville, Tenn., was taken in the 17th round of last year’s draft, out of the University of Tennessee. He hit .234 for Tri-City last summer, with 14 RBI and four stolen bases over 53 games. He was the ValleyCats’ Defensive Player of the Month for July.

* Back to the game … Still 2-2 through five innings.

To open the sixth, the Legends have turned to right-hander Ashton Mowdy. Bono went five innings, giving up two runs, eight hits and a walk, while striking out three.

Through five innings: Charleston 2 runs, 8 hits, 1 error; Lexington 2 runs, 4 hits, 0 errors.

Andrew Brackman

Andrew Brackman

* We’re through six innings now, and the Legends are hoping 6-foot-8, 240-pound right-hander Andrew Brackman is about at the end of his night’s work. Still tied, 2-2.

Patrick Urckfitz

Patrick Urckfitz

* Still 2-2 through seven. The Legends changed pitchers with two out and one on (via a walk) in the top of the seventh. Lefty Patrick Urckfitz took over from righty Ashton Mowdy, striking out Taylor Grote.

* Still 2-2, although the Legends threatened in the eighth. With runners on second and third, Brandon Barnes took a called third strike that he clearly thought was outside.

Going to the ninth, the Legends bring in right-hander Jose Trinidad.

Jose Trinidad

Jose Trinidad

* Trinidad retires the RiverDogs in order, getting a foul out to his catcher, Federico Hernandez, then striking out Mike Lyon and Ray Kruml.

In the bottom of the ninth, Charleston goes to right-hander Dan Kapala. Starter Andrew Brackman finishes with a season-long stint of eight innings, giving up two runs, seven hits and a walk, striking out nine.

Kapala gets Russell Dixon on a liner to center. Phil Disher picks up a golden sombrero with his fourth strikeout. Andy Simunic flies to right. So we go to extra innings, tied 2-2.

10th inning
Russell Dixon

Russell Dixon

Addison Maruszak leads off the top of the 10th with a base hit to right. Dan Brewer bunts him to second. Taylor Grote singles through the right side. Maruszak, running all the way, gets cut down at the plate as the throw from right fielder Russell Dixon arrives on the fly. Maruszak tries to bowl over catcher Federico Hernandez, who holds on to the ball. Grote takes second on the throw. Legends Manager Tom Lawless calls on his closer, Daniel Meszaros, to face Abraham Almonte. A called third strike over the outside corner makes Almonte the latest in a long list of batters to grumble to umpire Joey Amaral.

In the bottom of the 10th, Ebert Rosario and Jorge De Leon ground out. Jay Austin coaxes a full-count walk, but Michael Diaz strikes out.

11th inning
Brandon Barnes

Brandon Barnes

Charleston goes down in order as Corban Joseph strikes out and Neall French flies to right, where Russell Dixon breaks in late but makes a diving catch. Then, left-fielder Brandon Barnes saves the day. Mitch Abeita’s two-out fly ball rockets deep to the power alley in left-center, but Barnes races back to make an outstanding catch at the wall, just below the “K” board.

Federico Hernandez leads off the Legends’ 11th with a single to left. Brandon Barnes pops a foul bunt to catcher Mitch Abeita. Russell Dixon’s potential double-play grounder is bobbled by second baseman Corban Joseph. That gives Hernandez enough time to reach second, although Dixon is nabbed at first. Phil Disher, 0-for-4 with four strikeouts, works the count full but goes down swinging. On to the 12th, tied 2-2.

12th inning
Brian Wabick

Brian Wabick

Right-hander Brian Wabick becomes the sixth Legends pitcher of the game. Mike Lyon tries to bunt for a hit, but Wabick throws him out. Ray Kruml and Addison Maruszak go down swinging.

Right-hander Cory Arbiso comes in to pitch for Charleston. Andy Simunic and Ebert Rosario ground out. Jorge De Leon strikes out. Through 12 innings: Lexington 2, Charleston 2.

13th inning

Dan Brewer leads off with a single through the left side of the infield. Taylor Grote strikes out. With the hit-and-run on, Abraham Almonte swings and misses — and Brewer is thrown out at second base by Federico Hernandez. Almonte then takes a called third strike.

In the bottom of the 13th, Jay Austin bounces out to pitcher Cory Arbiso. Michael Diaz chops one just over the pitcher to reach on an infield single. Federico Hernandez singles to the left-field corner, moving Diaz to third. Hernandez takes second as left-fielder Taylor Grote bobbles the ball for his first error of the season. Charleston brings its infield in. Brandon Barnes grounds to third baseman Mike Lyon, whose throw to catcher Mitch Abeita is in plenty of time. Diaz comes in with a full body block, but Abeita holds on. Hernandez holds at second. Russell Dixon taps out to Arbiso. On to the 14th!

14th inning

Corban Joseph draws a leadoff walk. Neall French bunts him to second. But Mitch Abeita grounds to third and Mike Lyon strikes out.

Kody Hinze pinch-hits for Phil Disher, who finishes 0-for-5, all strikeouts. Hinze swings and … misses for a sixth strikeout in the slot. Andy Simunic singles sharply to left. He takes second on Ebert Rosario’s bouncer to third. Jorge De Leon singles to right. Simunic never slows and right-fielder Ray Kruml fails to make a clean pick up. Simunic scores standing up, with no play. Final: Legends 3, RiverDogs 2.

Charleston    200 000 000 000 00 — 2  12  2
Lexington     200 000 000 000 01 – 3  12  0
W:
Wabick (1-0); L: Arbiso (1-3). HR: Lex, Hernandez 4. LOB: Chas.10, Lex. 10.
Leading hitters:  Hernandez, De Leon (Lexington), 3 hits each; Brewer, Grote, Almonte, Abeita (Charleston), and Simunic, Rosario (Lexington), 2 hits each. Att: 3,076.

Pitching summary

Charleston
Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Brackman 8.0 7 2 2 1 9 1 4.06
Kapala 3.0 1 0 0 1 3 0 2.78
Arbiso (L, 1-3) 2.2 4 1 1 0 2 0 3.18
 
Lexington
Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Bono 5.0 8 2 2 1 3 0 1.91
Mowdy 1.2 1 0 0 1 1 0 0.00
Urckfitz 1.1 0 0 0 0 2 0 4.50
Trinidad 1.2 2 0 0 0 2 0 4.91
Meszaros 1.1 0 0 0 0 2 0 0.00
Wabick (W, 1-0) 3.0 1 0 0 1 5 0 8.80

Lexington Legends visit Rome Braves

May 5, 2009

South Atlantic League Baseball

Coming up 

Lexington Legends vs. Rome Braves

Jordan Lyles

Jordan Lyles

Kyle Greenwalt
Kyle Greenwalt

What: Four-game series

When: Wednesday through Saturday (Wednesday, Friday, Saturday at 7 p.m.; Thursday at 10:30 a.m.)

Where: State Mutual Stadium (Rome, Ga.)

Probable pitchers (Legends listed first): Wednesday, RH Kyle Greenwalt (2-1, 0.78)

Ross Seaton

Ross Seaton

Henry Villar

Henry Villar

vs. RH Jacob Thompson (0-2, 4.28); Thursday, RH Jordan Lyles (1-2, 4.94) vs. LH Brett DeVall (0-1, 4.91); Friday, RH Ross Seaton (4-1, 0.91) vs. RH Zeke Spruill (4-0, 2.39); Saturday, RH Henry Villar (0-0, 2.37) vs. RH Randall Delgado (1-3, 4.03).

Brave to watch: 1B Gerardo Rodriguez (6-foot-1, 195 pounds, from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) leads the Braves in hits (28), triples (3), homers (5), RBI (15) and total
Gerardo Rodriguez

Gerardo Rodriguez

bases (54), and shares the team lead in doubles (5). Also has played error-free ball at first base. Originally signed by the Yankees after the 2004 season, when he was 17. Joined the Braves in 2008, leading Danville in homers (13) and RBI (49). the latter total ranking third in the Appalachian League. 

Arcenio Leon

Arcenio Leon

Legend to watch: RHP Arcenio Leon (6-1, 162, from Maracaibo, Venezuela) has notched wins in his last three appearances, all in relief. Overall, Leon is 3-0 with a 2.12 ERA over seven appearances (one start) and 17 innings. He has held opponents to a .136 batting average. Two of his wins came last week against Rome. Signed by the Astros Feb. 7, 2005, Leon went 3-6 over two seasons in the Venezuelan Summer League. He spent the past two seasons with Greeneville of the Appalachian League, going 0-7, 4.67 in 2007 and 3-1, 3.33 in 2008.

Charley Taylor

Charley Taylor

 

Albert Cartwright

Albert Cartwright

Also of interest: Legends pitching coach Charley Taylor continues to recover at his Northern Kentucky home after undergoing surgery to remove his prostate and  cancerous bladder. Taylor says he hopes to be able to visit the team at Applebee’s Park in early June. … Legends 2B Albert Cartwright suffered a broken ulna (left forearm) as a result of being hit by a pitch

Brian McCann

Brian McCann

during Monday’s game at Augusta. He is expected to be sidelined six-to-eight weeks. Cartwright hit .316 (25-for-79) over 23 games, with three homers, 13 RBI and 16 runs. … Taking Cartwright’s roster spot is IF Andy Simunic, a 17th-round draft pick out of the University of Tennessee last June. Simunic, 23, had been in the Astros’ extended spring training camp. Last year, he hit .234 with 14 RBI and 20 runs over 53 games with Tri-City of the New York-Penn League. … Atlanta Braves C Brian McCann was scheduled to make a rehab start Wednesday against the Legends, but the Braves changed the assignment Tuesday night to High-A Myrtle Beach. McCann, who helped Rome to the 2003 SAL championship, has been on the disabled list since April 25 due to an infected left eye.

Radio: WLXG AM-1300

Astros Minor League Players of the Month

Legends Players of the Month for April, as announced by the parent-club Houston Astros, are Daniel Meszaros, Ebert Rosario and Albert Cartwright.

Daniel Meszaros

Daniel Meszaros

Ebert Rosario

Ebert Rosario

Meszaros is the team’s Pitcher of the Month, converting all seven of his save opportunities without allowing an earned run. Over 7 1/3 innings, he struck out 12.

Rosario, a third baseman, is Offensive Player of the Month. He hit .375 (21-for-56) with seven doubles, eight RBI and 10 runs scored in April.

Cartwright, a second baseman, is the Defensive Player of the Month. Over 20 games and 112 chances, Cartwright compiled a .973 fielding percentage (three errors).

Several former Legends earned organizational Player of the Month honors:

SS Tommy Manzella is Defensive Player of the Month for 3A Round Rock (18 games, .964 fielding percentage).

RH Brad James is Pitcher of the Month for 2A Corpus Christi (1-0, 2.81, 16 innings). 


A night for firsts as Legends, Hot Rods prevail

April 9, 2009
Jordan Lyles

Jordan Lyles

For those who like noting “firsts,” Thursday was a big night for Bluegrass-style baseball.

Opening Night in the South Atlantic League saw not one but, for the first time ever, two Kentucky teams pick up wins.

The Lexington Legends opened their ninth season with a 5-4 victory at West Virginia. The first-year Bowling Green Hot Rods debuted with an 8-3 triumph at Hickory.

Some season firsts for the Legends:

Strikeout victim – West Virginia leadoff batter Robbie Grossman, looking at a Jordan Lyles pitch.

Opponent beaned – West Virginia’s Bobby Spain, by Lyles, leading off the second inning. 

Albert Cartwright

Albert Cartwright

Hit by a pitch – Brandon Barnes, by Duke Welker, leading off the third inning.

Hit – Albert Cartwright, a bunt single with one out in the third inning.

Run scored – Barnes, coming from third base on a Welker wild pitch with two outs in the third inning.

RBI – Ricardo Bonfante, with a two-out single in the third to score Cartwright.

Walk – Phil Disher, by Welker, with one out in the fourth.

Ebert Rosario

Ebert Rosario

Extra-base hit – Ebert Rosario, a two-run triple to right with two outs in the fourth.

Summoned from the bullpen – Henry Villar, taking over in the sixth inning.

Three-hit game – Rosario, 3-for-4 with a single, double, triple and strikeout.

Winning decision – Lyles: 5 innings, 2 runs, 5 hits, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts, 2 hit batters, 1 wild pitch.

Save – Daniel Meszaros: one inning, one strikeout.

Holds – Villar and Patrick Urckfitz.

Shortstop Tim Beckham led the way in Bowling Green’s win, going 2-for-5. He hit a solo home run and drove in three runs. Chris Andujar got the win with four innings of one-run, one-hit relief, striking out six.


Meet the 2009 Lexington Legends

April 9, 2009
The 2009 Lexington Legends at a glance

PITCHERS

Robert Bono

Robert Bono

Robert Bono
Bats/throws
:  R/R              Height/weight:  6-2, 175
Birthdate: 12-12-88         
Hometown: Waterford, Conn. 

Notes: Will open the season as No. 4 in the starting rotation, looking for his first professional victory.  Selected by the Astros in the 11th round of the 2007 draft, out of Waterford High School. Went 0-4, 7.34 for Greeneville in 2007; 0-4, 4.68 for Tri-City last year. Walked 20 and struck out 18 at Greeneville. Corrected that at Tri-City, with 11 walks to 46 whiffs. He was Tri-City’s  Pitcher of the Month in July.

Brad Dydalewicz

Brad Dydalewicz

Brad Dydalewicz

B/T:  L/L                              Ht./wt.:  6-1, 180
D.O.B.:  3-24-90                  
Hometown:  Spicewood, Texas

Notes:  Opens the season at No. 3 in the starting rotation. An eighth-round draft pick out of Austin High School last June, Dydalewicz is listed by Baseball America as the 14th-best prospect in the Astros system, armed with the “best changeup.” BBA notes that he signed for an above-slot $425,000 bonus and “throws a live fastball and plus curveball, with enough arm strength to suggest his heater will consistently sit in the low 90s as he advances. He was 90-94 mph in the spring, an encouraging sign considering he tore his ACL in 2007 while playing football.”  He worked 10 innings over four appearances with Greeneville last year, with no decisions, a 2.70 ERA, six strikeouts and three walks.

Kyle Greenwalt

Kyle Greenwalt

Kyle Greenwalt
B/T: R/R                               Ht./wt.: 6-0, 200
D.O.B.:  9-29-88                  
Hometown: Sellersville, Pa. 

Notes:  Scheduled to start the Legends’ fifth game of the season, the April 13 home opener vs. Kannapolis. Selected by the Astros in the 20th round of the June 2007  draft, out of Souderton (Pa.) Area High School. Made his pro debut with Greeneville,  going 0-7 with a 7.53 ERA, 28 strikeouts and 12 walks. Settled in nicely in 2008, earning team MVP honors at Greeneville by going 6-4, 3.14, 53 strikeouts and 14 walks over 13 starts. Also won his lone start for Tri-City. Has a 90-92 mph fastball with sink, slider and changeup. Ranked by Baseball America as 31st-best prospect in the Houston system.

Arcenio Leon

Arcenio Leon

Arcenio Leon
B/T:
R/R                               Ht./wt.: 6-1, 162
D.O.B.:  9-22-86                  
Hometown: Maracaibo, Venezuela

Notes:  Signed as a non-drafted free agent Feb. 7, 2005. Went 3-6 over two seasons with the Venezuelan Summer League Astros, striking out 30 and walking 30. Spent the last two seasons with Greeneville, improving from 0-7, 4.67 in 2007 to 3-1, 3.33 in 2008. Also improved his strikeout-to-walk ratio from 43-27 to 42-19.

Jordan Lyles

Jordan Lyles

Jordan Lyles

B/T: R/R                               Ht./wt.: 6-4, 185
D.O.B.: 10-19-90                 
Hometown:  Hartsville, S.C.

Notes: A first-round supplemental draft pick (38th overall) last June, out of Hartsville (S.C.) High School, Lyles is scheduled to start Thursday’s season opener at West Virginia. Baseball America ranks him sixth among Astros minor-league prospects and projects him as Houston’s No. 4 starter in 2012. Signed for $930,000 on the night of his high school graduation. Baseball America on Lyles: “He shelved his cutter once in pro ball, and saw an immediate improvement in his fastball as it jumped from 86-88 mph in the spring to 90-96 all summer. He had good command of it even with the added velocity. His curveball has rotation and shape to it, and he has show a feel for a changeup.”  Went 3-3, 4.23 with 68 strikeouts and 17 walks over 15 games with Greeneville (13 games) and Tri-City last season.

Daniel Meszaros

Daniel Meszaros

Daniel Meszaros

B/T: R/R                               Ht./wt.: 6-0, 170
D.O.B.: 9-6-85                     
Hometown: Boca Raton, Fla. 

Notes: Selected by the Astros in the 48th round of the June 2008 draft, out of the College of Charleston. Made his pro debut last summer with Tri-City, finishing 1-3, with one save and a 4.44 ERA. He worked 26 1/3 innings over 12 relief appearances, striking out 46 and walking eight. Opens this season as a late-inning reliever. 

Ross Seaton

Ross Seaton

Ross Seaton
B/T: L/R                               Ht./wt.: 6-4, 190
D.O.B.: 9-18-89                   
Hometown: Sugar Land, Texas

Notes: A third-round supplemental draft pick last June, out of Second Baptist High School in Texas, where he was class valedictorian.  With a fastball touching 96 mph, he signed for $700,000 Baseball America ranks him as the Astros’ third-best prospect, armed with “best curveball” in the system.  Starts the season as Lexington’s No. 2 starter. Had no decisions and a 13.50 ERA at Greeneville last season, but that came over a total of four innings.  Baseball America: “He has a smooth and easy delivery that’s repeatable, allowing his fastball to sit consistently at 90-94 mph. His slider can be devastating to young hitters, and his changeup is a nice weapon.”

Jack Tilghman

Jack Tilghman

Jack Tilghman

B/T: R/R                               Ht./wt.: 6-2, 205
D.O.B.: 5-19-87                    Hometown: Telford, Pa.

Notes: Signed to a minor-league contract last Aug. 5, Tilghman finished the 2008 season by making nine relief appearances for the Legends: 1-0, 2.70, five strikeouts, nine walks, 13 1/3 innings. Out of Walters State (Tenn.) Community College, he also worked 13 2/3 innings for the Rookie League Phillies in 2007, going 1-1 with a 2.63, six strikeouts and seven walks.

Jose Trinidad

Jose Trinidad

Jose Trinidad

B/T: R/R                               Ht./wt.: 5-11, 150
D.O.B.: 7-13-87                   
Hometown: Sabana Grande de Palenque, D.R.

Notes: Signed as a non-drafted free agent, Feb. 22, 2006, Trinidad led all Astros minor-leaguers last season with a 2.73 ERA at Greeneville. He went 3-2 over 10 starts and 56 innings, striking out 40 and walking six. He spent 2006 and 2007 with the Dominican Summer League Astros, going a combined 6-6, with 69 strikeouts and 41 walks. 

Patrick Urckfitz

Patrick Urckfitz

Patrick Urckfitz

B/T: L/L                               Ht./wt.: 6-3, 190
D.O.B.: 7-21-88                   
Hometown:
Rochester, N.Y.

Notes: Signed as non-drafted free agent out of Monroe (N.Y.) Community College last June 29. Worked 15 games in relief for Greeneville, going 1-0 with one save and a 1.40 ERA. Had 23 strikeouts and nine walks over 19 1/3 innings. Starts this season as a late-inning reliever. 

Henry Villar

Henry Villar

Henry Villar

B/T: R/R                               Ht./wt.: 5-11, 150
D.O.B.: 5-24-87                   
Hometown: Bonao, Dominican Republic

Notes: Signed as a non-drafted free agent, July 19, 2005. Made 13 relief appearances with Greeneville last season. Over 65 1/3 innings, he went 3-6 with a 4.41 ERA, 65 strikeouts and 12 walks. His 2006 and 2007 seasons were spent with the Dominican Summer League Astros, where he was a combined 5-5, with 101 strikeouts and 21 walks. 

Brian Wabick

Brian Wabick

Brian Wabick

B/T: R/R                               Ht./wt.: 6-0, 180
D.O.B.: 8-3-87                     
Hometown: Des Plaines, Ill.

Notes: Selected by the Astros in the 34th round of the June 2007 draft, out of Oakton (Ill.) Community College.  Pitched the last two seasons at Greeneville, going 1-3 over 28 games (one start), with six saves, 44 strikeouts and 22 walks. Also spent part of 2008 with Tri-City, where he was 2-1 with two saves and a 2.14 ERA over 11 relief outings. Over 21 innings with Tri-City, he struck out 23 and walked only one.

CATCHERS

Jonathan Fixler

Jonathan Fixler

Jonathan Fixler

B/T: R/R                               Ht./wt.:  6-1, 205
D.O.B.: 6-13-86                   
Hometown: Park Ridge, Ill.

Notes: Among six players who spent all or part of last season with the Legends. Hit .248 with eight homers and 50 RBI over 80 games. Also played three games for 2A Corpus Christi, going 1-for-7 with an RBI. Selected by the Astros in the 19th round of the June 2007 draft, out of Indiana University. Played seven games for Tri-City in 2007, with one double in 16 at-bats. 

Federico Hernandez

Federico Hernandez

Federico Hernandez

B/T: S/R                               Ht./wt.: 6-0, 170
D.O.B.: 2-9-88                     
Hometown: Caracas, Venezuela

Notes: Hernandez is rated by Baseball America as 20th among Astros prospects. Over three seasons – two with the Venezuelan Summer League Astros and last year with Greeneville – Hernandez hit .291 with six homers. Defense is what impresses Baseball America, though: “A cousin of Reds catcher Ramon Hernandez, he was regarded by Rookie-level Appalachian League managers as the top defensive catcher in the league last year. That’s an impressive feat, considering he did not take up the position until signing. He has a good arm and good accuracy, and he showed 1.95-second pop times consistently in instructional league. His receiving skills, feet, soft hands and ability to call a game also got hit marks. Hernandez also blocks balls well, with good range behind the plate, and always shows good hustle.”

INFIELDERS

Ricardo Bonfante

Ricardo Bonfante

Ricardo Bonfante

B/T: S/R                               Ht./wt.: 5-9, 140
D.O.B.: 10-21-88                 
Hometown: Cartegena, Colombia

Notes: Signed as a non-drafted free agent, July 2, 2005.  A shortstop, he hit .261 (36-for-138) with 12 RBI, 19 runs scored and 10 stolen bases over 43 games with Greeneville last season. Hit .308 versus left-handers and batted .361 for the month of June.  Played for the Venezuelan Summer League Astros in 2006 and 2007. 

Albert Cartwright

Albert Cartwright

Albert Cartwright

B/T: R/R                               Ht./wt.: 5-10, 180
D.O.B.: 10-31-87                 
Hometown: Winter Haven, Fla.

Notes: A June 2007 36th round draft pick, out of Polk (Fla.) Community College. Second baseman played 57 games over the last two seasons at Greeneville. Last year, over 39 games, hit .306 (37-for-121) with three homers, 17 RBI, 23 runs and 13 stolen bases (caught four times). Had a .410 on-base percentage over the last 39 games. Batted .373 against lefties and .333 at home. In August, hit .351 and had an OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) of 1.019.

Phil Disher

Phil Disher

Phil Disher
B/T:
R/R                               Ht./wt.: 6-2, 215
D.O.B.: 6-17-85                    Hometown: Cary, N.C.

Notes: With Justin Smoak (11th overall draft pick) at first base, Disher played catcher for the University of South Carolina. The Astros selected him in the 15th round last June and moved him to first. He played 71 games for Tri-City, hitting .304 (85-for-280) with 13 homers, three triples and 20 doubles. He drove in 56 runs and scored 40, with a .381 on-base percentage and .536 slugging percentage. Baseball America, which pegs him as the 27th best prospect in the Houston system, says the Astros also may want to look at Disher in left field.

Kody Hinze

Kody Hinze

Kody Hinze

B/T: R/R                               Ht./wt.: 6-0, 225
D.O.B.: 7-29-87                    Hometown: Houston

Notes: Signed as a non-drafted free agent, Oct. 5, 2007, out of Angelina (Texas) College. First baseman made his pro debut last season with Greeneville, hitting .269 (53-for-197) with eight homers and 32 RBI over 55 games. Had 34 walks (second in the Appalachian League), 46 strikeouts.  His first game, against Kingsport, he drew four walks, scored three runs and drove in two. 

Kyle Miller

Kyle Miller

Kyle Miller

B/T: R/R                               Ht./wt.: 6-1, 200
D.O.B.: 9-1-86                     
Hometown: Jacksonville, Fla.

Notes: Selected by the Astros in the 21st round of the June 2007 draft,  out of Central Florida Community College. Third baseman broke in with Greeneville in 2007 (.234, 7 HR, 23 RBI, team-leading 74 total bases and team second-best 22 runs), then split 2008 between Greeneville and Lexington. Played 32 games for the Legends, batting .234 (30-for-128) with seven homers and 24 RBI, but also with 50 strikeouts to only eight walks. 

Ronnie Ramirez

Ronnie Ramirez

Ronnie Ramirez
B/T:
R/R                               Ht./wt.: 5-11, 165
D.O.B.: 1-30-86                   
Hometown: Cartegena, Colombia

Notes: Middle infielder signed as a non-drafted free agent Jan. 13, 2003. Played three years in the Venezuelan Summer League, then came to the U.S. in 2006 with Greeneville (.314, all-star and team MVP over 57 games) and Lexington (2-for-10, three games).  Split last two seasons between Tri-City and the Legends. Minor-league career totals: 310-for-1,248 (.248), 10 HR, 135 RBI and 43 SB. 

Ebert Rosario

Ebert Rosario

Ebert Rosario
B/T:
R/R                               Ht./wt.: 6-3, 165
D.O.B.: 5-27-87                   
Hometown: La Romana, Dominican Republic

Notes: Third baseman was Greeneville’s Defensive Player of the Month last July. In his second season with Greeneville, hit .304 (51-for-168) with two homers and 18 RBI. In 2007, led Greeneville in average (.273), RBI (26), hits (60), total bases (86), games (59) and tied for the lead in doubles (14).  Signed as a non-drafted free agent Aug. 31, 2005, then spent one season in the Dominican Summer League. 

OUTFIELDERS 

Jay Austin

Jay Austin

Jay Austin
B/T:
L/L                               Ht./wt.: 5-11, 170
D.O.B.: 8-10-90                    Hometown: Atlanta

Notes: Now 18, Austin cranked out 50 homers in high school and committed to Southern Cal, but a $750,000 bonus swayed him to sign with the Astros, who took him in the second round of last June’s draft. Broke in with Greeneville last summer, hitting .198 with 14 RBI and no homers. Baseball America, which rates him the 10th-best prospect in the Astros system, notes that he was one of the youngest players in the league. BBA continued: “While Houston has a few toolsy outfielders in its system, none have the same all-around potential as Austin. A left-handed hitter and center fielder, he has the range to patrol the middle garden, the bat to handle leadoff and speed that could make him a major base-stealing threat.” BBA also designates Austin as “Best Athlete” and “Fastest Base-runner” among Astros prospects. 

Brandon Barnes

Brandon Barnes

Brandon Barnes

B/T: R/R                               Ht./wt.: 6-2, 210
D.O.B.: 5-15-86                    Hometown: Orange, Calif.

Notes: A June 2005 draft pick out of Cyprus College, Barnes was the Legends’ Defensive Player of the Month last July. Over 87 games, he hit. 241 (75-for-311) with two homers, 19 RBI and seven stolen bases. Barnes began his pro career with two seasons at Greeneville, then moved up to Tri-City in 2007. There, he was the ValleyCats’ MVP and team leader in homers (10) and RBI (41). His 10 homers ranked second in the New York-Penn League. 

Steve Brown

Steve Brown

Steve Brown

B/T: R/R                               Ht./wt.: 6-0, 180
D.O.B.: 9-3-86                     
Hometown: San Andres Island, Colombia

Notes: Signed Dec. 1, 2003 as a non-drafted free agent, Brown was Legends Defensive Player of the Month last June. Over 102 games with Lexington, he hit .212 (72-for-340) with 10 homers, 31 RBI and 15 stolen bases. Began his pro career in the Venezuelan Summer League (2004, ’05), then a season at Greeneville and one at Tri-City. Five-season totals include a .267 average, 19 homers, 128 RBI and 55 stolen bases. 

Russell Dixon

Russell Dixon

Russell Dixon

B/T: L/R                               Ht./wt.: 6-2, 205
D.O.B.: 8-28-85                    Hometown: Houston

Notes: Selected by the Astros in the seventh round of the June 2007 draft, out of Auburn, Dixon hit .237 (96-for-405) for the Legends last season, adding three homers, 33 RBI and 15 stolen bases in 19 attempts. Hit .278 before the all-star break, .185 after that. Broke in with Tri-City in 2007, hitting .256 (57-for-223) with 40 RBI, five homers and four stolen bases. 

FIELD STAFF

Travis Driskoll

Travis Driskill

Tom Lawless

Tom Lawless

Pete Rancont

Pete Rancont

Manager: Tom Lawless

Pitching coaches: Charley Taylor and Travis Driskill*

Hitting coach: Pete Rancont

Trainer: John Patton

Strength and conditioning: Dan Barmantje

* Driskill is interim pitching coach while Taylor is on medical leave.

 PHOTOS COURTESY OF MARY LAY