HOUSTON, TX - The Houston Astros added seven minor league players to the 40-man roster today, General Manager Jeff Luhnow has announced.
They are: Right-handed pitcher Jose Cisnero, right-handed pitcher Jarred Cosart, outfielder Robbie Grossman, right-handed pitcher Chia-Jen Lo, left-handedpitcher Brett Olberholtzer, right-handed pitcher Ross Seaton and infielder Jonathan Villar. The deadline for all Major League club’s 40-man rosters to be set prior to the December 6 Rule 5 Draft is 10:59 p.m. CT tonight.
Luhnow also announced that right-handed pitcher Mickey Storey was claimed off waivers by the New York Yankees and that infielder Scott Moore has been outrighted to Triple A Oklahoma City. Moore has the option of accepting the assignment or electing free agency.
The Astros currently have 36 players on their 40-man roster.
The 23-year-old Cisnero was among the organization’s leaders in victories in 2012, posting a 13-7 record in 28 combined starts at Double-A Corpus Christi and Oklahoma City with a 3.70 ERA (61ER/148.1IP). Cisnero (6-3, 228), who was twice named Texas League Player of the Week, had one of the top strikeouts-per-innings-pitched ratios among starting pitchers with 148 K’s in 148.1 innings of work. A native of the Dominican Republic, Cisnero was originally signed by Houston as a non-drafted free agent on December 6, 2007.
Cosart, 22, was 6-7 with a 3.30 ERA (42ER/114.2IP) in 21 combined appearances (20 starts) at Corpus Christi and Oklahoma City. He posted a 2.60 ERA (8ER/27.2IP) in six appearances (5 starts) for Oklahoma City, was a Texas League Mid-Season All-Star and also earned Player of the Week honors while at Corpus Christi. Cosart, who is from League City, TX, is ranked as the Astros top pitching prospect by both Baseball America and MLB.com. Additionally, Cosart made six starts for the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League and was one of the starters in the AFL Rising Stars Game on November 3. He was acquired by the Astros from Philadelphia on July 29, 2011, as part of the trade involving Hunter Pence.
Grossman, 23, was acquired by the Astros from Pittsburgh on July 24 as part of the trade involving Wandy Rodriguez. In 131 combined games at Double A Altoona and Corpus Christi, he hit .266 with 28 doubles, six triples, 10 home runs, 47 RBI, 77 walks and 13 stolen bases while posting a .376 on-base-pct. In 2011, Grossman was the Pirates Minor League Player of the Year after hitting .294 at Class A Bradenton with 127 runs, 34 doubles, two triples, 13 home runs and 104 walks with a .410 on-base-pct. and an .869 OPS. His 127 runs scored were tops in all of minor league baseball.
Lo, 26, is coming off a solid Arizona Fall League season, during which he appeared in 14 games, going 1-0 with three saves and a 2.40 ERA (4ER/15IP) for the Mesa Solar Sox. He missed the first two months of the regular season while recovering from injury, but returned to post an 0.90 ERA (3ER/30IP) in 19 appearances combined for the Astros GCL affiliate (8g) and the Class A Lancaster JetHawks (11g). The right-handed reliever was originally signed by the club as an international free agent out of Taiwan in October of 2008.
Oberholtzer, 23, split his 2012 season between Corpus Christi and Oklahoma City, combining to post a 10-10 record with a 4.37 ERA (81ER/166.2IP) in 28 starts. He began his 2012 season with Corpus Christi and earned Texas League All-Star honors before his promotion to Oklahoma City. While with the RedHawks, the left-handed starter finished his season posting a 3-5 record and a 3.31 ERA (24ER/65.1IP) in his final 10 starts. Oberholtzer was acquired by Houston from Atlanta on July 31, 2011 as part of the return in the Michael Bourn trade.
Seaton, 23, went a combined 8-9 with a 3.93 ERA (74ER/169.1IP) and 117 strikeouts in 29 starts between Oklahoma City (4g) and Corpus Christi (25g). The 6-foot-4, 213 pound right-hander spent the majority of the 2012 season with Corpus Christi, where he went 8-8 with a 4.07 ERA (66ER/146IP) and just 31 walks. Seaton ranked tied for seventh in all of minor league baseball with 169.1 innings pitched in 2012, and led the Texas League in strikeouts (91) over the course of his final 18 starts with the Hooks. The Sugarland, TX native also made four starts at the Triple A level with Oklahoma City last season, posting a 3.09 ERA (8ER/23.1IP). Seaton was originally selected by the Astros in the third round (supplemental) of the June 2008 draft out of Second Baptist High School in Houston.
Villar, 21, hit .261 (85x326) with 54 runs, 11 homers, 50 RBI and 39 stolen bases in 86 games with Corpus Christi in 2012. The switch-hitting shortstop was a 2012 Texas League Mid-Season All-Star and led the league in steals despite missing the final 54 games of the season due to a broken hand. Entering the 2012 season, Villar was ranked by Baseball America as the fourth best prospect in the Astros minor league system, tabbing him as the Best Defensive Infielder in the organization with the Best Infield Arm. The Dominican native was acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies as part of the Roy Oswalt trade on July 29, 2010.