Tag Archives: Tommy Manzella

Original Draft Series – Team #16 – Houston Astros


For those that missed the guidelines I am using for this series of posts, you can find them here.

Team #15: Houston Astros

General Managers(since 1994)

Bob Watson (1994-1995): 142-117
Gerry Hunsicker (1996-2004): 793-665
Tim Purpura (2005-2007): 244-242
Ed Wade (2008-Current): 233-252

Team Performance

Playoffs Division Finish
WC League Playoff App 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th or 6th
0 1 6 4 8 1 3 1

All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C John Buck 1998 – 7th Rd 6 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to KC – 6/24/04
1B Lance Berkman 1997 – 1st Rd (16) 13 5 All Star Appearances
1569 gm, .297/.409/.549, 320 HR, 1073 RBI, 994 R
Currently with Org.
2B Julio Lugo 1994 – 43rd Rd 9 366 gm, .268/.332/.391, 28 HR, 114 RBI, 45 SB, 222 R Released – 5/9/03
3B Melvin Mora Int’l FA – 1991 6 No Major League Appearances with Org. Free Agency – 10/17/97
SS Tommy Manzella 2005 – 3rd Rd 5 66 gm, .211/.257/.253, HR, 16 RBI, 13 R Currently with Org.
LF Bobby Abreu Int’l FA – 1990 7 74 gm, .248/.325/.362, 3 HR, 27 RBI, 7 SB, 23 R Expansion Draft – TAM – 11/18/97
CF Hunter Pence 2004 – 2nd Rd 6 1 All Star Appearances
497 gm, .286/.336/.482, 78 HR, 261 RBI, 45 SB, 256 R
Currently with Org.
RF Ben Zobrist 2004 – 6th Rd 2 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to TAM – 7/12/06
SP Roy Oswalt 1996 – 23rd Rd 14 3 All Star Appearances
142-80 3.25 ERA,  1570 K, 441 BB, 1907.1 IP, 1.199 WHIP
Currently with Org.
SP Johan Santana Int’l FA – 1995 4 No Major League Appearances with Org. Rule 5 Draftee – MIN – 12/13/99
SP Wandy Rodriguez Int’l FA – 1999 11 55-62, 4.45 ERA, 715 K, 320 BB, 871.1 IP, 1.394 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP Freddy Garcia Int’l FA – 1993 5 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to SEA – 7/31/98
SP Mitch Talbot 2002 – 2nd Rd 4 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to TAM – 7/12/06
RP Matt Albers 2001 – 23rd Rd 6 4-13, 5.87 ERA, 82 K, 57 BB, 125.2 IP, 1.599 WHIP Traded to BAL – 12/12/07
RP Fernando Nieve Int’l FA – 1999 10 3-4, 4.63 ERA, 82 K, 43 BB, 107 IP, 1.374 WHIP Selected by NYM – 3/14/09
RP Felipe Paulino Int’l FA – 2001 9 6-20, 5.55 ERA, 180 K, 87 BB, 202.2 IP, 1.589 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Chris Sampson 1999 – 8th Rd 11 19-15, 4.41 ERA, 172 K, 87 BB, 350.2 IP, 1.332 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Brad Lidge 1998 – 1st Rd (17) 9 2 All Star Appearances
23-20, 123 SV, 3.30 ERA, 561 K, 170 BB, 401 IP, 1.197 WHIP
Traded to PHI – 11/7/07
CL Billy Wagner 1993 – 1st Rd (12) 10 3 All Star Appearances
26-29, 225 SV, 2.53 ERA, 694 K, 191 BB, 504.1 IP, 1.039 WHIP
Traded to PHI – 11/3/03
BN J.R. Towles (C)
2004 – 20th Rd 6 101 gm, .189/.273/.327, 8 HR, 39 RBI, 29 R Currently with Org.
BN Bud Norris (P)
2006 – 6th Rd 4 8-8, 5.61 ERA, 114 K, 52 BB, 104.1 IP, 1.639 WHIP Currently with Org.
BN Jason Castro (C)
2008 – 1st Rd (10) 2 6 gm, .250/.348/.400, HR, RBI, 5 R Currently with Org.
BN Chris Johnson (3B)
2006 – 4th Rd 4 25 gm, .217/.239/.275, 7 RBI, SB, 7 R Currently with Org.
BN Juan Gutierrez (P)
Int’l FA – 2000 7 1-1, 5.91 ERA, 16 K, 6 BB, 21.1 IP, 1.453 WHIP Traded to ARI – 12/14/07
BN Chad Qualls (P)
2000 – 2nd Rd 7 23-12, 6 SV, 3.39 ERA, 218 K, 84 BB, 284 IP, 1.236 WHIP Traded to ARI – 12/14/07

June Amateur Draft

The Astros really to me look like they have had some pretty decent draft picks. Unfortunately, there really haven’t been a lot of impact players in recent years, with Lance Berkman and Brad Lidge really being the last two impact players to come out of the system. They have done well with players like Hunter Pence, and the system will be drawing players like Jordan Lyles, Jiovanni Mier, and Ross Seaton all waiting to make an impact in the lower levels of the system. They recently promoted both Jason Castro and Chris Johnson to the Majors, so it remains to be seen whether they can adapt to being Major League starters.

International Free Agency

The Astros have done pretty well in the international free agent markets, with Wandy Rodriguez and Julio Lugo being the players who made the biggest impact for the Astros themselves. They’ve also had quite a few players go through the system who have turned into excellent players, but were either allowed to leave or traded before they could make a significant impact for the Astros. These include multiple Cy Young award winner Johan Santana, All-Stars Bobby Abreu, Ben Zobrist, and Freddy Garcia.

Overall Grade

I give the Astros a C+. The players that they have developed on their own have been excellent, but the short-sighted trades that they have made to acquire pieces for playoff runs have left the team with a completely depleted farm system, with very little currently in the system besides the players I mentioned. Hopefully the Astros will be able to continue to find some quality players going forward.

Trade Retrospective: Carlos Beltran


Next up on the trade retrospectives is the trade of Carlos Beltran on June 24, 2004. He was a part of a 3-way trade from the Royals, with the Astros receiving Beltran, the Royals receiving C John Buck, IF Mark Teahen, and P Mike Wood, and the Athletics receiving RP Octavio Dotel.

The Background

The Royals started out the 2004 season off to a slow start, which wasn’t entirely unexpected. Knowing that 5-tool outfielder Carlos Beltran would be a free agent at the end of the season, it became extremely clear that the Royals were very likely to trade him so that they would receive something in return for the free-agent-to-be.

The Astros were in the heat of a pennant race, and had spent a lot of money in the previous offseasons on high level acquisitions including Roger Clemens. They were 38-34, and only 5 games back of the first place Cardinals.

The Athletics were 40-31, only a single game back of the first place Angels, and well in the race for a playoff spot. They had been using Arthur Rhodes in the closer’s role but not particularly effectively, and needed some improvement at the back end of the bullpen.

The Moving Pieces

Carlos Beltran slotted into the Astros’ lineup in center field and in the heart of the order. The Astros added another excellent bat in their lineup with Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Lance Berkman, and Jeff Kent already providing excellent production.

The Athletics slotted Dotel into as the closer, and moved everyone else back in the bullpen, with former closer Arthur Rhodes slotting in as the 8th inning guy.

John Buck was slotted in as the starting catcher for the Royals the next day. Mark Teahen was sent to AAA Omaha, and spent the remainder of the 2004 season there. Mike Wood was called up by the Royals and spent the remainder of the 2004 season in their rotation.

What Happened Next

Beltran had an excellent rest of the season, hitting .258/.368/.559. He helped to carry the Astros to the playoffs, with them qualifying for the wild card. His better performance actually came in the playoffs, as he hit .455/.500/1.091 with 4 HR, 9 RBI and 2 SB in the series victory over Atlanta. While they didn’t win their next series against the Cardinals, it wasn’t really anything related to Beltran’s performance, as he hit .417/.563/.958 with another 4 HR, 5 RBI and 4 stolen bases.

Octavio Dotel came in to Oakland slotted as the closer, and made 45 appearances. He posted a 4.09 ERA, a 6-2 record, and 22 saves. He also recorded 72 strikeouts in just 50 innings with the A’s, although was somewhat prone to homeruns, as he gave up 9 in that time.

John Buck hit .235/.280/.424 in 71 games, with 12 homeruns and 30 rbi. Mike Wood went 3-8 with a 5.94 ERA in 100 innings for the Royals, and was also prone to homeruns a bit, giving up 16 in that time frame.

The Net Moves

Houston – First Level

Carlos Beltran became a free agent at the end of the season, and was signed by the New York Mets. As a result of this, the Astros received two compensation picks from the Mets. They used these selections to take OF Eli Iorg (1st round supplemental) and SS Tommy Manzella (3rd round)

Oakland – First Level

Octavio Dotel pitched the remainder of the 2004 season, and the entire 2005 season with the Athletics, and became a free agent after the 2005 season. Unfortunately, he did not return any compensation picks for signing with the Yankees.

Kansas City – First Level

  • John Buck played for the Royals from the 2004 season through the end of the 2009 season, when he was non-tendered. He hit for some solid power for a catcher, hitting 18 in 2007. However, the batting average never really came along with it, and never hit for an average higher than .247 with them.
  • Mike Wood pitched for the Royals from the 2004 season through the 2006 season. Over that time, he posted an 11-19 record with a 5.28 ERA in 87 appearances (34 starts). He was waived by the Royals after the 2006 season, and claimed by the Rangers.
  • Mark Teahen spent the rest of 2004 at AAA, but was called up early in the 2005 season. He played for the Royals from 2005-2009, moving all over the field. 2006 was his best season with the Royals, as he hit .290/.357/.517 with 18 HR, 69 RBI and 10 stolen bases. During this previous offseason, he was traded to the White Sox for infielders Chris Getz and Josh Fields.

Houston – Second Level

  • Eli Iorg spent parts of the 2005-2009 seasons in the minors with the Astros, leading to his release in July of 2009. He appears to be out of baseball.
  • Tommy Manzella is now the starting shortstop for the Astros, although that only became fact at the start of this season.

Kansas City – Second Level

Chris Getz and Josh Fields are both currently on the major league roster, although Getz is on the disabled list. Both players appear to be hoping for a fresh start in Kansas City, as they were unlikely to break into the lineup in Chicago.

Overall Reactions

This trade was rather unusual, in that I am not 100% sold it worked out well for anyone. The Astros received an excellent half season of Beltran, but knew going into the trade that they were unlikely to resign him. As a result, the draft picks that they received as compensation had to calculate into the value received from him. And to this point, those have been a complete disaster. For the A’s, Dotel wasn’t quite enough to get over that last hump to get into the playoffs, and it is highly possible that he may have actually cost them some victories. I can distinctly remember feeling particularly un-confident in his ability to shut the door on the game when it was going on. The Royals probably made out the best on this, although I imagine that they had been hoping for a better return than the one that they got. Buck and Wood were essentially filler pieces based on their performance, but Teahen turned into a solid everyday player. It remains to be seen whether Chris Getz or Josh Fields will help them get return for him.

Team Preview – Houston Astros


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C J.R. Towles SP 1 Roy Oswalt
1B Lance Berkman SP 2 Wandy Rodriguez
2B Kaz Matsui SP 3 Brett Myers
3B Pedro Feliz SP 4 Brian Moehler
SS Tommy Manzella SP 5 Bud Norris
LF Carlos Lee Bullpen
CF Michael Bourn CL Brandon Lyon
RF Hunter Pence RP Matt Lindstrom
Bench RP Jeff Fulchino
IF Jeff Keppinger RP Tim Byrdak
OF Jason Michaels RP Chris Sampson

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
SP Brett Myers Free Agency SS Miguel Tejada Free Agency
RP Brandon Lyon Free Agency RP Jose Valverde Free Agency
3B Pedro Feliz Free Agency RP LaTroy Hawkins Free Agency

Top Prospects: Jordan Lyles (P), Jason Castro (C), Jiovanni Mier (SS)

2009 Review

The Astros posted a very poor campaign in 2009, finishing in 5th place in the division with a 74-88 record. This performance cost manager Cecil Cooper his job with about 2 weeks to go in the season. The team was not good on offense, but did have a few bright spots. CF Michael Bourn really came into his own, posting a .285 batting average with 61 steals and 97 runs scored. LF Carlos Lee hit .300 with 26 HR and 102 RBI. RF Hunter Pence had his best year so far, hitting 25 HR and stealing 16 bases along with a .282 batting average. On the pitching side, SP Wandy Rodriguez posted an excellent year, going 14-12 with a 3.03 ERA and 193 strikeouts in 205 innings pitched. And closer Jose Valverde recorded 25 saves to go with a 2.33 ERA.

Unfortunately, the top performers were not nearly enough to counteract some of the poor performances across the field. Starters Brian Moehler, Russ Ortiz, Mike Hampton and Felipe Paulino made 80 starts between them, and all posted ERAs over 5. 2B Kaz Matsui played solid defense, but hit .250 with only 9 HR and 19 SB. The Astros were also reliant on Geoff Blum to man 3B for most of the season, where he hit .247 with 10 HR. There appeared to be a severe lack of ability at some positions, at least for what you would expect out of a team trying to contend for a division title anyway.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Astros made a few moves this offseason, but almost all of them were to plug holes that were either made by outgoing free agents or that had already been there previously. Brett Myers is a good low-risk high-reward type pitcher, and will hopefully be able to return to his 200 innings pitched form. They have improved their defense at 3B and SS with Pedro Feliz and rookie Tommy Manzella. They will hope for a rebound year from both 1B Lance Berkman and SP Roy Oswalt.

For me, this team just doesn’t look like it is going to score enough runs. They have essentially black holes at C, 2B, and SS. 3B is really not a lot better either. The back end of the bullpen (Fulchino, Byrdak, Sampson) is not bad, but it’s not particularly amazing either. This really appears to be a team that is middling at best within their division.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

The Astros’ outfield is the best place to find solid fantasy players, as all three (Lee, Bourn, and Pence) are all ownable in all league formats. On the pitching side, SP Wandy Rodriguez is the best of the group, and SP Roy Oswalt is a player I might take a chance on, as he has performed in the past, just not this last season unfortunately. 1B Lance Berkman is also someone to watch, although he will start the season on the disabled list. The best sleeper of this bunch is probably Brett Myers, as he could potentially post a 200 strikeout season if he returns to form. That’s a big if to me though.

Prediction for 2010

The Astros appear to have a plan in place on how to improve, but they’re not going to get there this season.

73-89, 5th in the NL Central