Major League Alumni: Tri-City ValleyCats

Team: Tri-City ValleyCats
League: New York-Penn League
Class Level: Short-Season A
Major League Affiliate: Houston Astros
City: Troy, New York
Population: 50,129
Ballpark: Joseph L. Bruno Stadium

The ValleyCats began playing in 2002 in Troy and have been affiliated with the Houston Astros for the past ten seasons. Prior to 2002 the ValleyCats franchise was relocated from Pittsfield, Massachusetts where it existed as the Pittsfield Mets (1989-2000) and Pittsfield Astros (2001), and was affiliated with the New York Mets and Houston Astros. The original franchise was based in Little Falls, New York and named the Little Falls Mets (1977 to 1988) and was affiliated with the New York Mets.

Some notable alumni that played for the ValleyCats before making it to the major leagues include:

Matt Albers (RHP): In 2003, Albers posted a record of 5-4 with a 2.92 ERA in 15 games with Tri-City during his second professional season. Albers was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 23rd round of the 2001 MLB amateur draft out of Clements High School (Sugar Land, Texas). Albers has pitched for Houston, Baltimore, and Boston over his six year major league career.

Devern Hansack (RHP): In 2002, Hansack posted a record of 3-4 with a 3.60 ERA in 12 games with Tri-City during his first professional season. Hansack was signed by the Houston Astros in 1999 as an amateur free agent out of Nicaragua. He pitched in 9 games with the Boston Red Sox over three seasons.

Jason Hirsh (RHP): In 2003, Hirsh posted a record of 3-1 with a 1.95 ERA in 10 games with Tri-City during his first professional season. Hirsh was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 2nd round of the 2003 MLB amateur draft out of California Lutheran University (Thousand Oaks, California). Hirsh has pitched in 32 MLB games over parts of three seasons in the show as a member of Houston and Colorado.

Hunter Pence (OF): In 2004, Pence hit .296 with 8 HR and 37 RBIs in 51 games with Tri-City in his first professional season. Pence were drafted by the Houston Astros in the 2nd round of the 2004 MLB amateur draft out of University of Texas-Arlington (Arlington, Texas). The two-time All Star (2009 & 2011) has played in 734 MLB games as a member of Houston and Philadelphia.

Ben Zobrist (IF): In 2004, Zobrist hit .339 with 4 HR and 45 RBIs in 68 games with Tri-City in his first professional season. Zobrist was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 6th round of the 2004 MLB amateur draft out of Dallas Baptist University (Dallas, Texas). Zobrist has played in 604 MLB games with Tampa Bay after being traded by Houston as part of the Aubrey Huff deal in July 2006. He was a member of the 2009 American League All-Star team.

Mark McLemore (LHP): In 2002, McLemore posted a record of 1-5 with a 14.09 ERA in 9 games with Tri-City during his first professional season. McLemore was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 4th round of the 2002 MLB amateur draft out of Oregon State (Corvallis, Oregon). McLemore pitched in 29 games with Houston in 2007, his only time in the majors.

Felipe Paulino (RHP): In 2005, Paulino posted a record of 2-2 with a 3.82 ERA in 13 games with Tri-City during his third professional season. Paulino was signed by the Houston Astros in 2001 as an amateur free agent out the Dominican Republic. Paulino has appeared in 86 MLB games in his four year career as a member of Houston, Colorado, and Kansas City.

Chad Reineke (RHP): In 2004, Reineke posted a record of 1-2 with a 2.45 ERA in 23 games with Tri-City during his first professional season. Reineke was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 13th round of the 2004 MLB amateur draft out of Miami-Ohio University (Oxford, Ohio). Reineke has appeared in 7 MLB games over three seasons as a member of San Diego, Oakland, and Cincinnati.

Drew Sutton (SS): In 2004, Sutton hit .280 with 1 HR and 16 RBIs in 63 games during his first professional season. Sutton was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 15th round of the 2004 MLB amateur draft out of Baylor (Waco, Texas). Sutton has played in 86 MLB games in parts of three seasons as a member of Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Boston.

Bud Norris (RHP): In 2006, Norris posted a record of 2-0 with a 3.79 ERA in 15 games with Tri-City during his first professional season. Norris was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 6th round of the 2006 MLB amateur draft out of Cal Poly (San Luis Obispo, California). Norris as appeared in 69 games with Houston over the last three seasons.

Chris Johnson (3B): In 2006, Johnson hit .212 with 1 HR and 29 RBIs in 60 games with Tri-City during his first professional season. Johnson was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 4th round of the 2006 MLB amateur draft out of Stetson University (DeLand, Florida). Johnson has played in 212 games with Houston over the past three seasons.

Jason Castro (C): In 2008, Castro hit .275 with 2 HR and 12 RBIs in 39 games with Tri-City during his first professional season. Castro was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 1st round (10th overall) out of Stanford (Stanford, California). Castro played in 67 games with Houston in 2010 before missing the entire 2011 season due to a knee injury (torn ACL and damaged meniscus).

Brian Bogusevic (OF): In 2005, Bogusevic posted a record of 0-2 with a 7.59 ERA in 13 games with Tri-City in his first professional season. Bogusevic was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 1st round (24th overall) out of Tulane University (New Orleans, Louisiana). The pitcher turned outfielder has played in 106 games with Houston over the past two seasons.

Jordan Lyles (RHP): In 2008, Lyles pitched in 2 games with Tri-City posting a 6.35 ER over 5.2 innings in his first professional season. Lyles was drafted by the Houston Astros in the supplemental 1st round (38th overall) out of Hartsville High School (Hartsville, South Carolina). Lyles pitched in 20 MLB games with Houston in 2011, his first in the majors.

Jose Altuve (2B): In 2009, Altuve hit .250 with 7 RBIs and 7 stolen bases in 21 games with Tri-City in his second professional season in North America. Altuve was signed by the Houston Astros in 2007 out of Venezuela. Altuve played in 57 MLB games with Houston in 2011.

J.D. Martinez (OF): In 2009, Martinez hit .326 with 7 HR and 33 RBIs in 53 games with Tri-City in his first professional season. Martinez was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 20th round of the 2009 MLB amateur draft out of Nova Southeastern University (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida). Martinez played in 53 MLB games with Houston in 2011.

J.B. Shuck (OF): In 2008, Shuck hit .300 with 4 HR and 24 RBIs in 65 games with Tri-City in his first professional season. Shuck was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 6th round of the 2008 MLB amateur draft out of Ohio State (Columbus, Ohio). Shuck played in 37 MLB games with Houston in 2011.

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Topics: Houston Astros, New York Penn League, Tri-City Valley Cats

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