Tri-City ValleyCats play-by-play announcer Evan Valenti sits down to talk with ‘Cats second baseman, Austin Elkins. The two discuss life in the NY-Penn League, Elkins’ early success on the season, and how the middle infielder came to be known as “Catfish.”
On the field, the ValleyCats ran their impressive win streak to seven games. Brady Rodgers set the tone with seven strikeouts and gained his first professional victory, while Andrew Aplin, Jesse Wierzbicki and Tyler Heineman each had two hits to pace the offense. Aplin now leads the NY-Penn League in batting average, on-base percentage, hits, and stolen bases!
Thursday night at “The Joe” was a celebration of women in business and the community with a number of local softball teams also on hand for the festivities.
It was Latino Night at “The Joe” Tuesday, as the ValleyCats squared off against the Lowell Spinners. Tonight’s promotion highlighted the many contributions that Latino players have made to the game of baseball.
Play-By-Play Announcer Evan Valenti (@EvanValenti) sits down with the two former Arizona State Sun Devils Andrew Aplin and Brady Rodgers
A yearly tradition at “The Joe,” this night truly represents the dog days of summer! Fans were invited to bring their dogs to the game and browse the many informational tables that were set up along the concourse.
Before the game, Guiding Eyes for the Blind had an on-field demonstration of professionally trained guide dogs.
Special thanks to Hounds on the Hudson, Pet Spas of America, Out of the Pits, Inc., Miller Animal Hospital, Nassau Veterinary Clinic, Nassau Pharmacy, 4 Paws Animal Hospital, Guilderland Animal Hospital, River Road Animal Hospital, East Side Collars and East Greenbush Animal Hospital for adding to the fan experience. Also a big thank you to Pet Connection’s own Steve Caporizzo for making a guest appearance!
by: Gabe Cassillo
The ‘Cats fell to the Vermont Lake Monsters last night 7-4, dropping to 1-1 on the season before heading back to Troy for the Home Opener tonight at 7:00pm against these same Lake Monsters. The ‘Cats were befell by poor defense, committing three errors, 2 in the deciding 5th inning in which the Lake Monsters scored 5 runs. Tri-City was up early, leading 1-0 entering the bottom of the 5th. They mounted a comeback attempt in the 9th inning, scoring 3 runs before ultimately falling by a final score of 7-4.
-Starter Aaron West went 3 innings allowing no runs and striking out 2 before being lifted for reliever Juan Minaya.
-Minaya surrendered 4 runs in 1.1 innings, walking 2
-Thomas Shirley worked 2.2 innings of strong relief, allowing no runs while striking out 3.
-Outfielders Andrew Aplin and Emilio King each collected two hits apiece for the second straight night.
-Austin Elkins extended his hitting streak to 2 games with a single in the 3rd.
The ‘Cats continue their 4-game series against Vermont tonight at 7:00pm. The home opener will feature pitcher Juri Perez for the ‘Cats and Andres Avila for the Lake Monsters. Postgame Fireworks are to follow tonight’s action.
by: Gabe Cassillo
The ‘Cats defeated the Vermont Lake Monsters last night to win their season opener and improve to 1-0 on the season. For a complete game summary, click here.
-Vincent Velasquez (1-0) picked up his first victory of the season and since 2010, pitching 5 innings of 2-hit ball, while walking none and striking out 6.
-Second baseman Austin Elkins hit his first home run as a professional, a three-run shot in the 5th inning that put the ‘Cats on top to stay. Elkins finished 2-5 with 3 RBI.
-Catcher Jobduan Morales also had a big two-run double in the 6th inning. He finished 2-5 on the night as well.
-CF Andrew Aplin, RF Emilio King, 3B Ryan Dineen also had two hits apiece and 1B Jesse Wierzbicki added a single as well.
-The ‘Cats offense finished with 10 runs and 11 hits.
-John Neely, Jamaine Cotton, and Blake Ford came out of the bullpen to pitch a combined 4 innings of 1 run baseball.
Tonight, the ‘Cats will take the field looking for the 2-game sweep in Vermont before returning to “the Joe” for the home Opener, Wednesday night, 7:00pm. Pitching for the ‘Cats will be RHP Aaron West taking on LHP Chris Lamb. Game time is 7:05, radio coverage can be found at milb.com.
by: Gabe Cassillo
The ValleyCats open their 2012 NY-Penn League season tonight at 7:00 pm in Burlington, Vermont taking on their Stedler Division rivals, the Vermont Lake Monsters.
Taking the hill for the ‘Cats will be Vincent Velasquez, a right hander making his first start since 2010 after spending the 2011 season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.
Opposite Velasquez will be Deyvi Jimenez, a right hander who spent last season pitching for the Vancouver Canadiens of the Northwest League.
For radio coverage visit: http://www.1013espn.com/
Check back at ‘Cats Corner tomorrow morning for full results and box score from tonight’s game.
As the countdown to Opening Day and the start of the 2012 season continues to inch ever closer, our very own Street Team led by beloved SouthPaw has been busy. Here are some of the highlights from this past week.
Lunch at the Empire State Plaza in downtown Albany! Last Tuesday SouthPaw and the Street Team soaked in the sunshine by handing out pocket schedules and taking pictures with enthusiastic fans of all ages. On Wednesday, SouthPaw met more fans outside at the Plaza’s Farmer’s Market.
After a Morning downtown, the Team headed over to St. Gregory’s School to show their support as students K-4 participated in an end of the year Field Day. Unable to fit his large feet into the potato sacks, SouthPaw couldn’t participate in the relay races, but was happy to lend his expertise with ValleyCats trivia. He also took part in his favorite activity, posing for pictures! It was a great day, and many of the students plan to take in a game at “The Joe” this season
In the afternoon, SouthPaw, Amy, Kevin, and Michelle headed over to CBA for the Colonie Relay for Life. Making it’s debut for the ‘Cats was a brand new inflatable game, the object of which is to bounce one of the balls off the wood circle and into the different holes labeled single, double, triple, home run. The game turned out to be a lot harder than it looked.
Continuing the busy week, on Saturday morning, SouthPaw and members of the ‘Cats front office headed to the Berkshire bank Carnival to help celebrate the grand opening of their new location in North Greenbush. The carnival included more inflatables, the always popular prize wheel, and a baseball card maker. Even though the weather was poor, those that made the venture out had a great time, enjoying the various activities and games., but the kids all enjoyed it. SouthPaw put his undefeated racing record on the line and again, took home the prize, finishing first and beating out other local mascots such as Devil Dawg and Damien the Dane of SUNY Albany.
Capping off a great week, “The Joe” was proud to host Relay for Life of Rensselaer County Saturday evening. Dozens of children played with inflatables making their debut this season, and hundreds of people cheered on SouthPaw and three of his mascot friends as they all raced along the third base line. Yet again, SouthPaw was victorious. More importantly, Relay for Life raised over $49,000 for the evening! Be sure to come to “The Joe” on Saturday July 7th as the ‘Cats will be sporting Relay for Life jerseys to be auctioned off during the game. Proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.
As the dust from the MLB Draft begins to clear, let’s take a final look at a complete list of picks from Round 1 to Round 40 for the Houston Astros. Over the course of the next few days, we expect to hear news about players signing and where they will be assigned. Be sure to check back as we continue to update the draft list.
(Signed Players in Bold)
*Possible* ValleyCats Assignees in RED
1. (1) Carlos Correa-SS (P.R. Baseball Academy)
1.5. (41) Lance McCullers-RHP (Jesuit HS, FL)
2. (61) Nolan Fontana-SS (University of Florida)
3. (96) Brady Rodgers-RHP (Arizona St.)
4. (129) Rio Ruiz-3B (Bishop Amat HS, CA)
5. (159) Andrew Aplin-CF (Arizona St.)
6. (189) Brett Phillips-CF (Seminole HS, FL)
7. (219) Preston Tucker-OF (University of Florida)
8. (249) Tyler Heineman-C (UCLA)
9. (279) Daniel Minor-RHP (Texas A & M Corpus Christi)
10. (309) Joseph Bircher-LHP (Bradley University)
11. (339) Hunter Virant-LHP (Adolfo Camarillo HS, CA)
12. (369) Terrell Joyce-LF (Florida State College)
13. (399) Brian Holmes-LHP (Wake Forest)
14. (429) Joe Sclafani-SS (Dartmouth)
15. (459) Erick Gonzalez-RHP (Gateway Community College)
16. (489) Dan Gulbransen-LF (Jacksonville University)
17. (519) Aaron West-RHP (Washington University)
18. (549) Ricky Gingras-C (Point Loma Nazarene Univeristy)
19. (579) Austin Elkins-2B (Dallas Baptist University)
20. (609) Ryan Clark-LHP (Kent State University)
21. (639) Marc Wik-CF (Chabot College)
22. (669) Kenneth Long-LHP (Illinois St. University)
23. (699) Travis Ballew-RHP (Texas State)
24. (729) Patrick Blair-SS (Wake Forest)
25. (759) Ryan Dineen-SS (Eastern Illinois University)
26. (789) C.J. Hinojosa-SS (Klein Collins HS, TX)
27. (819) Tanner Mathis-CF (University of Mississippi)
28. (849) Angel Ibanez-3B (University of Texas Pan American)
29. (879) Christian Garcia-RHP (Florence-Darlington Tech, SC)
30. (909) John Neely-RHP (Texas Tech)
31. (939) M.P. Cokinos-C (St. Mary’s University)
32. (969) Tyler Manez-LHP (Plainedge HS, NY)
33. (999) Mike Hauschild-RHP (University of Dayton)
34. (1029) Jordan Jankowski-RHP (Catwaba College)
35. (1059) James Sinatro-C (Skyline HS, WA)
36. (1089) Michael Martinez-1B (Florida International)
37. (1119) Michael Dimock-RHP (Wake Forest)
38. (1149) Zachary Remillard-3B (LaSalle Institute, NY)
39. (1179) Mitchell Traver-RHP (Traver Christian HS, TX)
40. (1209) Joe Shaw-RHP (Ennis HS, TX)
by: Evan Valenti (@EvanValenti)
ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian once told me one of the reason’s why he is so successful is because he has a knack for noticing the uncanny. As a kid, he studied box scores looking for irregularities, interesting/rare stats, etc. and has applied that to his professional journalism career (KurkGems is always a “must watch” segment). So, with that in mind, I decided to put the Houston Astros draft under the microscope.
As a part of its exclusive draft coverage, Baseball America ranks each of the 50 states and Puerto Rico as well as the players associated with each section. They rank it on a 1-5 star system, with a “1-star” grade being the lowest and a “5-star” grade being the highest grade (a 5 grade indicates a draft class that is “one for the books”). The only area that received a 5-star grade was Puerto Rico, with Astros draftee Carlos Correa being the top talent.
The Astros first nine picks came from three areas: the Southeast (Puerto Rico and Florida), Arizona, and California. Florida and California received 4-star grades (12 total draft picks from those two areas) while Arizona received a 2-star grade (3 draft picks). Houston also drafted nine total players from its home state of Texas (3-star) and three from Illinois (2-star)
Florida and Puerto Rico:
The Astros, under the influences of Larry Pardo (amateur scout for Southern Florida and Puerto Rico), John Martin (amateur scout for Northern and Central Florida), and JD Alleva (Houston’s East Regional Supervisor), drafted some of the region’s top players. We all know Correa was the top talent in Puerto Rico, but Houston feasted on this area hoping it will pay dividends in the future.
List of P.R. and FL Draftees (rankings indicated per Baseball America, high school talent in italics):
Carlos Correa, SS – 1st (P.R.)
Lance McCullers JR, RHP – 3rd (FL)
Nolan Fontana, SS – 9th (FL)
Brett Phillips, OF – 17th (FL)
Preston Tucker, OF/1B – 34th (FL)
Terrell Joyce, OF – NR
Mike Martinez, 1B – 62nd (FL)
Arizona State’s baseball program is a powerhouse. Known for its success (Barry Bonds, Reggie Jackson, Andre Ethier, Dustin Pedroia just to name a few), Arizona State finds itself ranked this year among the nation’s elite. So it is easy to see why Houston would want to grab a few players from that program.
List of AZ Draftees:
Brady Rodgers, RHP – 4th
Andrew Aplin, OF – 9th
Erick Gonzalez, RHP -29th
California is widely considered one of the best, if not the best, state for baseball talent year-in and year-out. Lauded for its talent in the collegiate ranks (UCLA, Cal-State programs, Stanford), California has a huge advantage: its ability to sustain high-quality baseball all year long.
List of CA Draftees:
Rio Ruiz, 3B – 21st (Northern Cal.)
Tyler Heineman, C – 53rd (Northern Cal.)
Hunter Virant, LHP – 10th (Northern Cal.)
Much like Florida and California, Texas is another state that has the ability for an athlete to participate in a sport year-round. Texas might be the best state for producing pure athletic talent, no matter the sport. With nine selections from all over the state, the Astros clearly have a taste for home cooking.
List of TX Draftees:
Daniel Minor, RHP – NR
Austin Elkins, 2B – 63rd
Travis Ballew, RHP – 45th
CJ Hinojosa, SS – 9th
Angel Ibanez, 3B – NR
John Neely, RHP – NR
Mike “MP” Cokinos, C – NR
Mitchell Traver, RHP – 13th
Joe Shaw, RHP – 64th
Make sure you keep checking the blog for updates on who has signed! ValleyCats roster coming soon!