2014 Astros Minor League System in Review

Discussion in 'Houston Astros' started by tellitlikeitis, Nov 18, 2014.

  1. tellitlikeitis

    tellitlikeitis Contributing Member

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    Let's take a look back on the year that was on the farm.

    (A Few) Stories of the Season

    - The struggles of Mark Appel, who seemed to have found his form late in the season and in the Arizona Fall League.
    - Carlos Correa was tearing the California League apart before a broken ankle derailed his season.
    - Brett Phillips' breakout, which will likely vault him into top-10 prospect status in the upcoming Baseball America/Baseball Prospectus rankings.
    - Pitchers not only having respectable seasons, but dominant seasons in Lancaster???
    - Teoscar Hernandez achieving a 20-30 season.
    - The Vanderbilt duo of Tony Kemp and Conrad Gregor ascending to Corpus in their first full pro seasons.
    - The college trio of Derek Fisher, A.J. Reed, and J.D. Davis having excellent debuts in pro ball. Obviously, without Brady Aiken in the fold, they'll be the players that will carry the 2014 draft class.
    - The debut of a 2nd Dominican Summer League team. Enthralling, isn't it?

    So, who in the Astros system took a step or two forward this past season? Who took a step back? Who do you think is a guy who could put himself on the radar in 2015?

    First up: a quick recap of each affiliate's season. I'll go more in-depth later on.

    Oklahoma City

    The RedHawks, in their final season as an Astros affiliate, finished 74-70, which put them in a tie for 2nd in the PCL American Southern division. They had a chance to make the playoffs but got swept in their final series of the year.

    Corpus Christi

    Despite a +31 run differential, the Hooks were 34-36 (4th) and 33-37 (3rd) in the Texas League South, giving them a 67-73 record, which was last overall in their division.

    Lancaster

    The JetHawks earned a playoff berth by winning the 1st half in the California League South with a 44-26 record. They were 3rd in the 2nd half at 34-36, giving them an overall record of 78-62.

    In the playoffs, they swept Inland Empire in 3 games and defeated Visalia 3-2 to win the California League Championship.

    Quad Cities

    The River Bandits' 70-69 overall record was 5th in the Midwest League's Western division. They were 35-34 (5th) in the 1st half, and 35-35 (also 5th) in the 2nd half.

    Tri-City

    The ValleyCats were 48-28 and ran away with the New York-Penn League's Stedler division. They appeared in the NYPL Championship Series for a 3rd straight season, but fell just short of defending their crown.

    TC swept Connecticut in the semis, and fell 2-1 to State College in the Championship Series.

    Greeneville

    The Appy Astros were 32-34, putting them in 5th place in the Appalachian League West. They were in the hunt for a playoff spot in August, but their form deserted them at the worst possible time.

    GCL

    The Kissimmee Stros finished in last place (out of 4 teams) in the GCL Northeast at 28-32.

    DSL Blue

    At 35-34, the Blue team was 4th in the DSL's Santo Domingo North division.

    DSL Orange

    In their inaugural season, the Orange team went 31-39, which put them in 7th place in the 10-team Boca Chica North division. They finished strong after languishing for much of the season in the cellar.
     
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  2. Joe Joe

    Joe Joe Contributing Member

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    I miss getting to see Astros prospects play so most of what I go on these days is stats and scouting reports. Guys that sound like they could make a jump in what they are projected to do to me are Vincent Velasquez and Kyle Smith. Velasquez sounds like his future value is being mitigated due to injury concerns. Based on his stats and scouting grades, he could see a big bump as a prospect by just doing what he's doing at higher levels without getting dinged up.

    Kyle Smith is a guy who is being downgraded due to lack of a dominating pitch. However, he struck people out while demonstrating good control at AA at a relative young age. Usually, if you can strike out guys at AA, you can at AAA. He'll most likely get a look at majors in a year or two to see if the scouts are right.
     
  3. tellitlikeitis

    tellitlikeitis Contributing Member

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    2014 Draft Class in Review

    Well, obviously, the one that got away was Brady Aiken. Failing to sign the #1 overall pick also blew up the Astros' $1.5 million deal with 5th-rounder Jacob Nix. We can go on and on about the medicals, but this thread isn't the place.

    Yes, it'll be talked for a while, but I feel that the Astros added some solid players to the system via the draft, and talking incessantly about the team's failure to sign Aiken would be incredibly unfair to the players in the 2014 draft class that are in the system.

    With their next 3 picks, the Astros got 3 outstanding college bats in Derek Fisher, A.J. Reed, and J.D. Davis. Without Aiken, this class may very well hinge on these three.

    Fisher is a 5-tool prospect in the outfield who put his wheels on display in Tri-City, as he led the ValleyCats with 17 stolen bases.

    Reed, the Golden Spikes Award winner, is a big left-handed power bat who also served as Kentucky's ace. He advanced to Quad Cities to end the 2014 season, but he could be a candidate to start in Lancaster, where he could put up ridiculous numbers. Reed will end this calendar year with 35 home runs.

    Davis, out of Cal State Fullerton, is described as having pole-to-pole power, and he showed it off with 13 homers between Tri-City and Quad Cities.

    Dan Mengden pitched with a back issue for most of the spring, but he was able to get some work in with the GCL club and Tri-City. He should be at full strength and in the Quad Cities rotation for 2015.

    Brock Dykxhoorn, a 6'9" Canadian, had a solid introduction to pro ball. He had a 4.31 ERA that was inflated by an outing where he gave up 6 runs in just 1.1 innings in July. He finished strong, and was named the Appalachian League Pitcher of the Week in the final week of the season.

    Derick Velazquez put up a 24:2 K:BB ratio at Tri-City with a 3.10 groundout/airout ratio. He could be one to watch as a bullpen arm that quickly ascends through the system.

    Bobby Boyd, who was their 8th-round pick out of West Virginia, was rated as one of the fastest runners in the college ranks by Perfect Game, also tore up the bases after signing as he racked up 19 stolen bases.

    The Astros also got some contributions from some late-round picks. Nick Tanielu, an over-100K signing in the 14th round, played in 62 of 76 games for Tri-City, primarily at 3B. He had a solid debut at the plate with a .300/.353/.425 line with 3 homers and 40 RBI.

    Ryan Thompson (23) employs a, um... unconventional delivery. He racked up a 67% groundball rate, a 3.64 groundout/airout ratio, and saved 12 games for the ValleyCats.

    Edwin Medina (33), a fleet-footed outfielder from St. Thomas, an NAIA school in Miami, showed good on-base skills and stole 28 bases in just 50 games between the GCL and Greeneville.

    Supplemental 1st Round: Derek Fisher, OF, Virginia

    <script type="text/javascript" src="http://widgets.sports-reference.com/wg.fcgi?css=1&site=br&url=%2Fminors%2Fplayer.cgi%3Fid%3Dfisher001der&div=div_standard_batting"></script>

    2. A.J. Reed, 1B, Kentucky

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    3. J.D. Davis, 3B, Cal State Fullerton

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    4. Dan Mengden, RHP, Texas A&M

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    6. Brock Dykxhoorn, RHP, Central Arizona College

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    7. Derick Velazquez, RHP, Fresno State

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    8. Bobby Boyd, OF, West Virginia

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    9. Bryan Radziewski, LHP, Miami

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    10. Jay Gause, RHP, Faulkner

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    11. Dean Deetz, RHP, Northeast Oklahoma A&M

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    12. Ryan Bottger, OF, UT-Arlington

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    13. Jamie Ritchie, C, Belmont

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    14. Nick Tanielu, IF, Washington State

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    15. Connor Goedert, 3B, Neosho County CC (Kansas)

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    16. Ramon Laureano, OF, Northeast Oklahoma A&M

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    17. Ben Smith, LHP, Coastal Carolina

    Signed, but did not play as he was recovering from Tommy John surgery.

    18. Tony Nuñez, SS, Western Oklahoma State College

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    19. Ruben Castro, C, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy & High School

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    20. Trent Woodward, C, Fresno State

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    22. Bryan Muniz, 1B, Southeastern

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    23. Ryan Thompson, RHP, Campbell

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    24. Vince Wheeland, RHP, Oklahoma State

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    25. Zach Davis, LHP, Central Missouri

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    26. Mott Hyde, 2B, Georgia Tech

    <script type="text/javascript" src="http://widgets.sports-reference.com/wg.fcgi?css=1&site=br&url=%2Fminors%2Fplayer.cgi%3Fid%3Dhyde--001dan&div=div_standard_batting"></script>

    27. Brandon McNitt, RHP, Stony Brook

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    28. Aaron Greenwood, RHP, Ole Miss

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    29. Richard Gonzalez, C, Alabama State

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    30. Sean McMullen, OF, LSU

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    31. Dexture McCall, 1B, Hillsborough CC (Florida)

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    32. Robert Kahana, RHP, Kansas

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    33. Edwin Medina, OF, St. Thomas (Miami)

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    34. Josh James, RHP, Western Oklahoma State College

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    35. Keegan Yuhl, RHP, Concordia (Irvine, California)

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    36. Justin Ferrell, RHP, Connors State College (Oklahoma)

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    37. Eric Peterson, RHP, North Carolina State

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    40. Alex Hernandez, 2B, Miami

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    The Astros also signed 4 undrafted free agents.

    Aaron Vaughn, RHP, Northwest Nazarene (Idaho)

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    Dayne Parker, IF, Wichita State

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    John Gatlin, RHP, Ole Miss

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    Kyle Gehrs, LHP, Central Missouri

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    #3 tellitlikeitis, Nov 19, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2014
  4. No Worries

    No Worries Contributing Member

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    Here is my sleeper pick from this draft. Completely sick OPS.
     
  5. tellitlikeitis

    tellitlikeitis Contributing Member

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    The Astros Reconstruction entered its 3rd year, and while they're still a not good baseball team, we saw them progress from being on their own little island of suck to falling in line with the other bad teams.

    Jeff Luhnow shipped off AAAA pitching depth for lottery tickets/organizational depth, and really, the only trade that might yield anything resembling real assets for the future was the Jarred Cosart deadline deal.

    June 12: Adron Chambers traded to Blue Jays for Alejandro Solarte and Will Dupont

    Chambers was a minor league free agent signing and had a solid spring and a decent showing in Oklahoma City. So, he was flipped for a couple of low-level Blue Jays prospects in Solarte and Dupont. He appeared in 25 games for AAA Buffalo after the trade.

    Dupont only played 6 games with the GCL club and finished the season on the 60-day DL. He was recently released.

    Solarte was rather mediocre in 17 relief appearances in the GCL.

    July 3: Andrew Robinson traded to Braves for a PTBNL (Jared Cruz)

    Robinson performed rather well after shifting to a bullpen role and turned himself into a marginal prospect. He was sent to Atlanta in exchange for Jared Cruz, a 19-year-old Australian who was announced as the PTBNL on September 4.

    July 7: Alex Sogard traded to D-Backs for Cesar Carrasco

    [​IMG]

    A pitcher in the system was traded for someone who looks like he may have some promise. Then again, Carrasco might be JAG.

    July 10: Bobby Doran traded to White Sox for Jeffry Santos

    [​IMG]

    See Alex Sogard trade.

    July 31: Jarred Cosart, Enrique Hernandez, and Austin Wates traded to Marlins for Jake Marisnick, Colin Moran, Francis Martes, and a draft pick (41st overall?)

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    This trade was by far the most fruitful of the season. Marisnick, who settled into an everyday role, will likely be joining Dexter Fowler and George Springer as the Astros' starting outfielders in 2015. I think he's a good enough defender in center field to keep George Springer in right, and I thought he should've bumped Fowler onto a corner outfield spot.

    Moran will still have those questions about his power, but the bat is good enough to play at the major league level. Even if the power doesn't come, it'll be refreshing to have someone in the lineup that can, you know, put the bat on the ball.

    Martes is the wild card. A bargain signing for the Marlins ($78K in 2012), his fastball experienced an uptick after he turned pro, and it got as high as 97 in the GCL. He has a changeup that flashed plus, and a breaking ball that needs refinement. He pitched well after joining the Astros GCL club, but he was shut down with a case of biceps tightness, which shouldn't be a huge issue.
     
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