Pregame Meal: Wednesday, June 19th

By Matt Appel (@mattappel)

A good Wednesday evening to everyone out there in cyber-space reading today’s Pregame Meal! Big news around the stadium today, but we’ll get to that in a second. Tonight, the ValleyCats will go for the three-game sweep of the Vermont Lake Monsters, after taking last night’s game by a final of 9-6. The ValleyCats haven’t started 2-0 since 2005, so a 3-0 start would be unprecedented in recent history as well. Also, it’s 80’s Night here at The Joe, so hopefully we’re in store for a “Thriller” (too far?). As to that big news I was talking about…….:

-Today in Houston, at #1 overall pick Mark Appel’s (for the first, but certainly not last time, there is no relation) press conference, Astros GM Jeff Luhnow said that he “would like” to see Appel begin his professional career here with the ValleyCats at some point in the near future. Now, we don’t have any sort of a time table for this, but it does sound like there is a pretty good chance that the first overall pick in this year’s draft will be at The Joe at some point this summer. Exciting stuff, folks. Look out for a venn diagram comparing and contrasting myself and Mark.

-How about Tony Kemp, huh? After getting three hits in his first game, Kemp, who hit one home run in college, hit one deep to right last night that gave the ‘Cats a 2-0 lead at the time. He has shown, so far, to be more than reliable at the plate. And we haven’t even really seen him use his best tool yet: his legs. Look for big things from Kemp moving forward.

-A few roster additions today to pass along. RHP Andrew Thurman, who was the 2nd round pick of the Astros this year, was officially added to the roster after signing earlier this week. I talked to him before the game, and he said he should appear in his first game sometime on the upcoming road trip. Tri-City heads off to Lowell for three games, and then Connecticut for three more before returning home on the 26th. The other roster change is the addition of RHP Charles Basford, acquired in a trade with the Yankees late last night. Basford had appeared in one game for the Staten Island Yankees this year. He will come out the ‘pen for Ed Romero.

-As is typical early in the year, the Astros send rover instructors to all of the minor league teams to work out with the players. In fact, former MLBer Adam Everett was here for the first two games of the series. It always fascinates me that the one thing they drill the most into the hitters during BP is the practice of bunting. They will make the same player repeat bunting drill after bunting drill if they aren’t executing correctly. Goes to show you that no matter how high up you make it, the fundamentals still count.

-Batting Practice Hero: 1B Conrad Gregor unleashed some mammoth home runs during his round today. We haven’t see that from Conrad yet, so it will be interesting to see if that is just “5’o clock power” as the Astros instructors were saying today. Gregor isn’t known for his power, but based on what he displayed today, he certainly has some in him

Tonight’s Lineup

2B Tony Kemp

SS Jose Fernandez

1B Conrad Gregor

C Ernesto Genoves

LF Jon Kemmer

DH Michael Martinez

RF Dan Gulbransen

CF D’Andre Toney

3B Chan Moon

RHP Michael Feliz

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