tellitlikeitis, I would be very interested in getting your thoughts on how you'd rank the Astros CURRENT top 20 prospects, along with some explanation for each player belonging on the list. I suppose you could add Correa (but not any unsigned draft picks) and Toney. If you could also note (maybe at the end) where some other draft picks (like McCullers, Fontana, Virant, Hinojosa, etc.) would slot in on that list. Perhaps you could then update it after the signing deadline.
I appreciate all the work you put in to your minor league updates and figured you'd be well-positioned to give a thoughtful analysis of the Astros' top prospects as of right now.
Thanks Bima! First off, I'd like to apologize for not being very prompt in my response. I've been on the road all day and just got back to Houston.
Earlier in the thread, I made a top 30 list that was based off of Baseball America's Top 30 that was released in their Prospect Handbook. Admittedly, I just threw names in without giving much thought to anything. But, I'll go ahead and give it a shot.
Originally Posted by tellitlikeitis
This is Baseball America's Top 30 Prospects list from the beginning of the season. Well, we're coming off the Draft, and the class is signing (or is considering signing) their deals to play for the Astros. Let's change up the list to reflect the new signees, current player performance, and guys that will probably play short-season ball. You can change this up however you see fit, this list is just my opinion and conjecture.
Original Top 30
30. Chris Wallace
29. Jack Armstrong
28. Rhiner Cruz
27. Vincent Velasquez
26. Jose Cisnero
25. Mike Kvasnicka
24. Tanner Bushue
23. Jio Mier
22. Jorge De Leon
21. Dallas Keuchel
20. Marwin Gonzalez
19. Juan Abreu
18. Austin Wates
17. J.B. Shuck
16. Ross Seaton
15. Ruben "R.J." Alaniz
14. Ariel Ovando
13. Jake Buchanan
12. Nick Tropeano
11. Adrian Houser
10. Telvin Nash
9. Mike Foltynewicz
8. Delino DeShields Jr.
7. Brett Oberholtzer
6. Domingo Santana
5. Paul Clemens
4. Jonathan Villar
3. George Springer
2. Jarred Cosart
1. Jonathan Singleton
New Top 30
30. Jodbuan Morales
29. Dallas Keuchel
28. Jonathan Meyer
27. Vincent Velasquez
26. Jose Cisnero
25. Matt Duffy
24. Bobby Doran
23. Jose Martinez
22. Jason Stoffel
21. Hunter Virant (if he signs)
20. Adrian Houser
19. Ariel Ovando
18. Jimmy Paredes
17. Austin Wates
16. Telvin Nash
15. Brett Oberholtzer
14. Jiovanni Mier
13. R.J. Alaniz
12. Paul Clemens
11. Rio Ruiz (if he signs)
10. Jonathan Villar
9. Nick Tropeano
8. Lance McCullers (if he signs)
7. Mike Foltynewicz
6. Delino DeShields
5. Domingo Santana
4. Jarred Cosart
3. George Springer
2. Carlos Correa
1. Jonathan Singleton
Top 30, For Real
30. Wallace Gonzalez- This one seems like a pick out of left field, but it's not often that you hear a 6'5", 240 guy as possibly having five-tool potential. Gonzalez was being recruited to play tight end.
Gonzalez has a really long swing but he generates a ton of leverage with it. He has a huge power ceiling and is a good athlete but it could open him up to K a ton.
Originally Posted by Baseball Draft Report
7. 1B Wallace Gonzalez (Bishop Amat HS, California)
We’re issuing a major upside alert with Wallace Gonzalez, a rare first base prospect that can lay claim to legit five-tool upside. Those tools run the gamut from “wow” (plus raw power and a bazooka – not literally, that would be a “WOW!” tool – attached to his shoulder) to “hmm, didn’t expect that” (watching a 6-5, 220 pound man with 45 speed is cognitive dissonance personified). With great upside often comes great rawness, however. Gonzalez is better known as a football star with intriguing upside as a tight end capable of developing into a dangerous downfield threat. His commitment to the gridiron makes his signability just murky enough that some teams could shy away on draft day. Years of football experience also means less time honing his baseball skills, so the onus will be on his drafting team to really coach him up. At this point in the rankings, a boom or bust prospect like Gonzalez makes a lot of sense.
29. J.B. Shuck- A very pedestrian season so far for Shuck. Great speed, but doesn't know how to use it. Power is next to non-existent. Great plate discipline is pretty much neutralized because he isn't very aggressive on the bases. He is what he is: a reserve OF in the Majors.
28. Brett Phillips- Just starting out. An excellent athlete. Reminds me of Javaris Reynolds, who the Astros picked in the 7th round last year. But Phillips is probably a little more refined offensively.
27. Mike Kvasnicka- Crucify me for this if you want, but Kvasnicka has come around in a big way after that nightmare start he had to kick off the season. He's showing some power for the first time since turning pro. His struggles last season (according to club officials) were attributed to him trying to make the adjustments in order to play 3B. Also, he was trying to get acclimated to switch-hitting, which he started when he turned pro. The problem here is that Kvasnicka is being shuffled around everywhere and hasn't had the opportunity to settle at a position. He's also got a .256 BABIP this season. The South Atlantic League average BABIP is .312. He looks like an overdraft, but he isn't as bad as everyone's making him out to be.
26. Dallas Keuchel- Congratulations on reaching the bigs. He doesn't have the stuff; he just knows how to pitch. And he does that pretty well.
25. Jobduan Morales- Acquired from the Marlins in a trade sending Justin Ruggiano over there. Yeah, a catcher in short-season ball might be the Astros' best prospect at the position. He's a switch-hitting catcher that might have some offensive upside. A bit raw on defense, as well, as he was a converted infielder.
24. Vincent Velasquez- Underrating him since I haven't seen him in a while. Glad to see he's progressing nicely from Tommy John surgery. Injury history is a concern, as he didn't pitch his junior year of high school because of a stress fracture and a strained ligament in his elbow. I imagine he'll be on a pretty strict pitch count, even in Tri-City.
23. Bobby Doran- Has the potential to be this year's Jake Buchanan. Last year in Lancaster, he was just mauled. This time around he looks much more composed and has done a complete 180. He's certainly forcing the issue over who should be promoted to Corpus.
22. Matt Duffy- He's probably the top 3B in the system. Yeah, that's the state of 3rd base in the Houston Astros organization. He was probably Tri-City's most consistent hitter last year. He flashed some nice gap power despite hitting only 2 homers. Now the power has definitely arrived this season. He could hold his own in Corpus, where there really isn't anyone blocking him. Jonathan Meyer, who is a level ahead, is a slick fielder, and is hitting relatively well, but he's got a relatively empty average.
21. Jose Cisnero- Just threw a complete game 2-hitter. Excellent strikeout numbers, spotty command. "Spotty" is putting it very nicely at times. Mediocre off-speed stuff. I think he's glad that he isn't in Lancaster anymore.
20. Jason Stoffel- Stoffel looks like he could be worth a look in September. Corpus' primary closer touches 95-96 and is trying to perfect a breaking ball. It was a power curve at Arizona, and it's turned (or is turning) into a slider that he throws in the 80s. The knock on him was his regression in command, but he has improved in that area so far this season. At 0.89, he's the only Corpus pitcher with a WHIP under 1.
19. Telvin Nash- He's looking like a Three True Outcomes guy right now. And right now, he's only getting two outcomes. It's nice that he'll take a walk every now and then, but he'd probably have to walk at least 3 times a game to offset his exponentially rising strikeout rate. No doubt that he'll crush balls to oblivion. The problem is that he just wants to swing for the fences every. freaking. time. he comes up. At this rate, he'll probably eclipse 200 strikeouts with a month in hand.
18. D'Andre Toney- Showed five-tool potential in complex-league Rookie ball. At 5'10", 170, he looks like a guy with explosive athleticism, and is deceptively strong too. 7-18 on stolen bases means that he has some work to do on his jumps and pickoff evasion.
17. Ross Seaton- Finally, some consistency. He's been rushed in his career, and the results have been pretty messy. Can you believe he was part of the same draft class as Jordan Lyles? Finished strong last season, and he's definitely feeling comfortable repeating a level for the first time ever. His last time out, he actually set a new season high with 7 strikeouts. He's not a strikeout pitcher to begin with, but his K rate is pretty bad.
16. Austin Wates- If he were a middle infielder, he'd be a bit higher on this list and would have nowhere to go, as Jose Altuve and Jed Lowrie have pretty much entrenched themselves. I think he can stick in center field. He doesn't have a cannon, but his arm is adequate enough for center. The black J.B. Shuck. (Did I do that correctly?)
15. Ariel Ovando- Repeating Greeneville. That's alright with me. The biggest objective for him is to stay healthy, as he missed quite a bit of time with various problems. Very raw. Too hard to project his ETA right now. As the big-money bonus baby, I hope he's aware of the huge expectations that have been heaped on him. Hopefully he gets some run in Tri-City, too.
14. R.J. Alaniz- Well, he couldn't escape the Lancaster Effect forever, right? Otherwise, he's proven that you can have success pitching in such an extreme offensive environment. Hard thrower (there are reports of him getting up to 97), with a potential plus pitch in his changeup and a curve that was thought to be the best in the system. His curveball hasn't been as sharp this season. As with Foltynewicz, he could do a little better with the K rate. Controls his fastball pretty well, too.
13. Jio Mier- He turned it around in a big way before getting hurt. I hope it wasn't a fluke. We saw what Mier can be truly capable of in his debut in Greeneville. He's not as flashy as Villar or DeShields, but he's probably put himself back into the discussion with a renaissance season.
12. Adrian Houser- Him starting off in Greeneville was a bit surprising to me. The potential is certainly there, with a nice sinking fastball and a hard curve. His fastball touched 95 last year; I wonder if he added some MPH to it. Spotty command, but what 19-year-old pitcher doesn't have spotty command?
11. Nick Tropeano- I'd like to see him get some run in Corpus soon. Best changeup in the system is aided by a fastball that picked up some velocity since he arrived on the scene. Slider is average at the moment. He should still move fairly quickly through the system. Excellent command. Mowing down Low-A hitters, but to sustain his sucess, his slider needs to show progress. Weird: He's given up 72 hits in 74.1 innings of work for a .254 average against him. His BABIP is .348. His 2.23 FIP is a full run lower than his 3.27 ERA.
10. Brett Oberholtzer- Been a pretty uneven season. He'd follow up a gem (or at least a solid start) with a couple of stinkers. He is the top left-handed starter in a system that has next to none. Signing Virant would be a much-needed boost.
9. Paul Clemens- At this point of the season, I thought he'd be in Houston by now. He went down with back spasms and really has not looked the same since. If he was touching 96-97 in the spring, he's probably down in the low 90s up to 94 right now, due to his back.
8. Mike Foltynewicz- Stuff wise, he's probably 2nd or 3rd in the system. The only area of concern is his low strikeout total, especially at a level he's repeating.
7. Delino DeShields- He struggled mightily in his first full season, but it's still WAY too early to write him off. Plenty of factors contributed to his struggles last season. His potential peeked through at times in 2011 and is starting to reveal itself this season. DeShields has already blown away his stolen base total from last year, and he could flirt with 100, but I think he'll pan out in the 85-90 range. With his speed, he should beat out plenty of infield hits. I love the way he's changed his approach this season. Simply put, he's become much more threatening because his plus-plus speed is on base more often. He's got decent pop, and he might be a 15-20 homer guy in the future.
6. Jarred Cosart- Still a very high-upside guy. Unfortunately, the results have not come this season. Toss in his 1-game suspension for insubordinate conduct, and his stock has been hurting quite a bit. May have raised some questions with his attitude, as well. His tweet can also be interpreted as him having much to prove to the Astros, and to himself as well. A .331 BABIP probably means that he's giving up some cheap hits. A guy with his stuff can do much better than a 7.25 K/9.
OremLK (aka OremLK) brought up a very interesting question regarding Cosart a few nights ago on the Crawfish Boxes.
5. Domingo Santana- The PTBNL might turn out to be the best player out of the Astros' recent forays into the Phillies' system. Oddly enough, his home/away splits have been pretty even, for the most part. Next to Telvin Nash, his power is by far the best in the organization. Free swinger. However, when he gets all of the ball, a home run is just about certain. He did get slowed up by an injury in April, but has been raking ever since. Santana is 19 (turns 20 on August 5) and probably needs the entire year in Lancaster. I'd give him a couple of weeks in Corpus to finish off the year.
4. Jonathan Villar- Holy crap, did he ever get off to a bad start. I'm thinking that Carlos Correa's arrival might have turned the light on for him. Villar was known to coast through games last season... but with a talent like Correa coming in, yeah, those days are probably over. He's hitting .267 at the moment; that would be the high end of his average, where I expect him to be around .270. After scuffling to open the year, he looks like he's starting to put everything together.
3. George Springer- Yes, it's the California League. Has mashed at home, while being a little more pedestrian on the road. Springer might have the most aggressive approach in the entire system. All of his tools have been on display this season. Most notably, his defense. He'll win Gold Gloves in this league. Too bad it's an all-flash award. On the other hand, he can make the flashy play, and he can probably do it consistently down the line.
2. Carlos Correa- I'll put him at #1 when he destroys the GCL and the Appalachian League. He's got all the ingredients to become a superstar, and maybe even a HOFer.
1. Jonathan Singleton- Was the #1 entering this season, and his offensive performance has pretty much justified why he's the top prospect. Despite 1B not really being a big defensive position, he has the potential to be a competent defender there. His stock is holding steady, despite being currently mired in a pretty bad slump this month.
Where would the unsigned picks rank in this list?
Lance McCullers would probably come in as a top-5 guy. Obviously, there are the conflicting reports of his ultimate ceiling, whether he's a frontline starter or a dominating closer. If he turns out to be Billy Wagner, then I'd take that any day.
Rio Ruiz would instantly be the top 3B prospect and would probably be in the 9-13 range.
Hunter Virant will be the top lefty in the system and I'd slot him in the 15-20 range.
Fontana was being touted as the top defensive SS in the 2012 Draft, and also gets on base at an impressive clip. One of the hallmarks of statistical analysis permeating the baseball establishment. I'll slot him in around #12-15.
I really hope Hinojosa signs, but he's probably a fallback in case Ruiz doesn't. He'd probably fit somewhere in the top 20.
Some other guys to watch for:
These are mainly lower-level guys. Most are currently on the GCL roster.
Reymin Guduan, P, GCL Astros: Jeff Luhnow made a journey to the Dominican Republic in the offseason and noted Guduan as an "impressive" arm.
Terrell Joyce, LF, Greeneville: 11 homers in 42 games in the JUCO ranks. I'm really liking his power potential.
Chan-Jong Moon, SS, Lexington: Signed for $350K out of South Korea in 2009, his glove was considered a better tool than his bat. Now, in a small sample size, it looks like his bat is coming around, as he's showing a bit of pop. Also he's quite a character in the Legends clubhouse. He took Brandon Meredith and Jordan Scott out for Korean food a couple of weeks ago.
Going to get Korean food forMy first time with @JTScott1 and moon... Pray for me
Teoscar Hernandez, OF, GCL Astros: Led the Academy in almost every statistical category last year. Now, he's making his U.S. debut, where I think he'll get most of the time in RF for the GCLstros.
Jose Montero, P, GCL Astros: Had a great debut as a 17-year-old in the Domincan Summer League, then lost all of last year to an injury.
Brady Rodgers, P, Tri-City: I expect him to move pretty quickly through the system. Another guy that knows how to pitch, and how to pitch effectively.
Juan Santana, SS, GCL Astros: One year in the Academy was apparently enough for the Astros to realize that they might have something in Santana. Judging from his numbers, he has a pretty advanced approach at the plate for a teen (16 most of last year). He'll be 17 for almost the entire season. Bat seems to be ahead of glove right now for Santana.
Michael Feliz, P, GCL Astros: Originally signed by Oakland for $800K, he had to sit out 50 games for a violation of the substance abuse policy, and the contract was voided. The Astros swooped in and signed him for 50% off. Held his own during his first go-round in the GCL as a 17-year-old. I expect him to make the jump to Greeneville at some point this season. Although that's a little too hopeful.
Ernesto Genoves, C, Greeneville: Genoves repeating Greeneville was definitely a surprise. I thought that he made enough strides offensively to advance.
Luis Reynoso, SS, DSL Astros: He was the big-money international signing of 2011, as he got a $700K bonus. Plus-potential defense, great athlete.
has an athletic, projectable body and combines solid tools with instincts and feel on both sides of the ball.
Arturo Michelena, SS, DSL Astros: Venezuelan igned for $220K, he's been playing 2B in deference to Reynoso. Defense is ahead of bat for right now.
Harold Arauz, P, DSL Astros: Panama native signed for $300K after being showcased in the Dominican Prospect League. Projectable, athletic RHP.
The RHP was among the most impressive arms in this year’s DPL July 2nd class. He has an athletic wiry body with room to fill out and develop. He shows an effortless delivery with good command of Fastball (86-89) topping out at 90, his Curveball has a chance to be above average and shows a feel for Changeup.
Jose Fernandez, SS, Lexington: Not to be confused with the Marlins pitcher of the same name, he's currently in Lexington right now, but I would imagine that he goes down to one of the short-season clubs to get regular playing time. Skipped the Academy altogether in 2009, and then-assistant GM Ricky Bennett touted him as a 10-12 homer player once he's fully developed.
As good as the pence trade was the Bourn trade was just as bad. Particularly for instance when you consider what the mets got for 1/3rd of a season of Beltran. The Bourn trade was the perfect example of the downside of the quanity over quality approach
Yup, I completely agree... Imagine if Wade had also not made the Wallace deal.
Yup, I completely agree... Imagine if Wade had also not made the Wallace deal.
While it's obvious the Pence-trade is showing much better early returns than the Bourn trade; it's like anything else prospect wise, you gotta wait and see how they pan out years down the line. The Pence trade has actually contributed the least to the major league team.
So far from the Pence trade: 0.0 WAR
So far from the Bourn trade: 0.7 WAR (Schafer)
So far from the Gose/Wallace swap: 0.5 WAR this season (0.2 total)
I'm still pretty sure we'll get a reasonable amount of 3/4-type starter innings at the major league level from Clemens/Obie down the line. As for Gose/Wallace, until Gose hits the show that trade is still a wash too. He's as likely to bust out as he is to bust.
Please disregard the time stamp on my Top 30 post. I started writing that at 9 last night and kept copying and pasting what I wrote so the post submission window wouldn't expire and I probably would've had to restart everything.
Astros 2, Rangers 1.
Some very nice pitching performances in the system last night.
Round Rock Express fans, have fun with that last-place team of yours. After all, you wanted to hitch your wagon to a team that won all the time. OKC took the first two out of 3 with an 8-5 victory. A 5-run 5th was enough to withstand a late 9th-inning rally in which the Express scored 3 in the bottom of the inning. 5 guys had 2 hits apiece, led by Crash Hessman, who had a 2-run homer (19) in the 5th. One batter later, Brad Snyder followed up by going solo for his 10th of the year. Landon Powell only had 1 hit in the game, but it turned out to be his 5th homer of the season in the 8th inning. Jimmy Paredes, Angel Sanchez (2 hits each), and Scott Moore (0-3) drove in 1 each. Mr. Almost-Perfect, Armando Galarraga, threw 5 innings and allowed 2 runs (both on a 2-run homer) on 3 hits and struck out 1. Aneury Rodriguez followed up with 3 scoreless innings of relief, allowing 2 hits and striking out 2. Juan Abreu was knocked around in the 9th as he allowed 3 runs on 4 hits (solo homer), but he had enough about himself to finish off the game.
Corpus took out Frisco 5-0 on the strength of the best pitching performance in the Astros system this season, as Jose Cisnero went the distance and tossed a 2-hitter. It took him 118 pitches to complete the game, and he walked 2 and fanned 6. Kody Hinze started off the scoring with a 2-run homer (8) in the top of the 4th. Jonathan Villar went 2-5 with an RBI single and stole his 30th base of the season. Andy Simunic was 3-4 and rounded it out with an RBI single in the 9th, took 3rd on an error, and came home to score on a wild pitch. Continuing his rehab assignment, Carlos Lee was 2-4.
Even the Rangers minor league games are annoying to watch. Carlos Lee just needs to sit on all the Frisco players.
In their final game before the California League All-Star break, Lancaster topped Inland Empire 5-3. Chris Epps has taken full advantage of his new offensive environment, as he went 2-3 with a 2-run homer (3; 5 season) in the 4th. George Springer was 2-5 and scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the 3rd for the first run of the game. He also ripped a 2-run double to deep center in the 6th, but paid for his greediness by getting thrown out at 3rd. Bobby Doran turned in another fine start for the Jethawks in his 7 1/3 innings. He allowed 2 runs (1 inherited) on 3 hits (solo homer), walked 2, and struck out 3. Jose Trinidad allowed one of Doran's runners to score and one run of his own in trying to finish out the 8th. Andrew Robinson shut the door for his 4th save of the season.
Lexington defeated Asheville 4-1 behind Jonas Dufek's best start of the season. He allowed a run (solo homer) on 3 hits, walked 2, and struck out 7 in 7 innings of work. Evan Grills and Dayan Diaz put the finishing touches on this one. The Legends scored 2 in the 6th to take the lead. Mike Kvasnicka, who finished 2-4, had an RBI single, and Brandon Meredith (1-4) had an RBI groundout. On his birthday, Zach Johnson went 2-4 and came through with a 2-run single in the 7th. Delino DeShields went 0-2 with 2 walks and a run scored.
The Academy was shut out by the Athletics, losing by a TD. They were held to 5 hits in the game; Brauly Mejia had 2 of them. Johan Arias went 3 innings and allowed a run on 2 hits, walking 5 and striking out 2.
Armando Galarraga: 54
Jose Cisnero: 87
Bobby Doran: 65
Jonas Dufek: 72
Johan Arias: 48
Zach Johnson, 1B, Lexington
2-4, 2 RBI
Happy (belated) Birthday to you. He might be viewed as an organizational guy, but he gets the job done. I'd like to see him on his way up too.
Jonas Dufek, P, Lexington
W, 7 IP, 3 H, ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 72 Game Score
He outdid Mr. Almost-Perfect in relief a week ago, and now, he fired off his best performance of the year. Is settling in nicely after being pretty uneven to start the season.
Jose Cisnero, P, Corpus Christi
W, CG, 2 H, 2 BB, 6 K, 87 Game Score
After a tough May, Cisnero has just owned the Texas League this month. He might have middling off-speed stuff, but his fastball is as nasty as they come. Was still at 94-95 in the 9th. He now has the best performance by an Astros Minor League pitcher this season.
Chris Epps, LF, Lancaster: Probably loves his new home park. He's not too bad on the road either. He might have cemented his spot in Lancaster now that Grant Hogue is on the DL.
George Springer, CF, Lancaster: Would you expect anything less?
Evan Grills and Dayan Diaz, Lexington: Jason Chowning has moved on, but Grills has taken his spot in a dominant Legends bullpen. Diaz needs to be on his way up at some point.
Well, the Academy was held to 5 hits in a shutout loss. Someone had to be the goat...
OKC and Round Rock wrap up their series at 7:05 tonight, with Paul Clemens matching up against our old friend Roy Oswalt.
Corpus and Frisco will finish up at 6. Brett Oberholtzer draws former Aggie Barret Loux. At 11-0, Loux has won all but 1 of his 12 starts.
Lancaster is enjoying their All-Star break right now. The California League All-Stars will be traveling to Winston-Salem, North Carolina to face off against the Carolina League All-Stars on June 19. George Springer and Bobby Doran will be representing the Jethawks.
As part of the festivities, Springer will also be taking part in the home run derby. He'll go up against Stockton's Miles Head, Visalia's Chris Owings, Rancho Cucamonga's C.J. Retherford, Winston-Salem's Michael Earley and Brady Shoemaker, Carolina's Jeremie Tice, and Lynchburg's Chris Garcia.
Lexington and Asheville will finish off their series in a matter of minutes at 1:35 Eastern. Nick Tropeano will match up against Tyler Anderson, the 20th pick in 2011, and the #7 prospect in the Rockies' system. After that... they'll be on an All-Star break as well. The game will be held in Charleston on June 19.
Astros prospect pitches two-hitter for first career shutout
By Robert Emrich / Special to MLB.com06/17/2012 12:12 AM ET
Jose Cisnero has a 1.59 ERA over his last five starts for Corpus Christi. (George Tuley/MiLB.com)
Jose Cisnero has been a different pitcher over the last few weeks. Nothing summed that up better than his outing on Saturday night.
The Astros prospect tossed a two-hitter for his first career complete game and shutout as the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks coasted past the Frisco RoughRiders, 5-0.
Cisnero, signed as a non-drafted free agent in December 2007, struck out six and walked two. He threw 81 of 118 pitches for strikes and faced five batters over the minimum.
The 23-year-old right-hander retired 11 in a row before Jose Felix opened the sixth inning with a single. He followed that hiccup by setting down the next 11 batters before shortstop Jonathan Villar committed a two-out error in the ninth.
"He's got a power fastball, and it might be hard to believe, but he didn't have his best fastball tonight early," Hooks pitching coach Gary Ruby said. "He commanded the strike zone very well, he's got a hard curveball and he was around the plate with it tonight. As it got deeper into the game, the fastball started to come around and he ended the last inning around 94-95 mph. Tonight, the big thing was that he challenged hitters early in the count."
Cisnero has been cruising, compiling a 1.59 ERA over his last five starts. He's allowed 23 hits and struck out 34 over 34 innings during that stretch, going 1-1. Overall, he's 4-6 with a 3.86 ERA in 14 starts.
"He's a big horse and he's really been improving. Every outing has been a little bit better," Ruby said. "At this level, it's confidence. He's always got the weapon, he's got a tremendous arm. His changeup is still a work-in-progress, but his curveball has been the biggest improvement. He's got a fastball that gets on you pretty quick and I think that the addition of off-speed with command is the biggest step."
Most importantly, Cisnero has walked only five batters in his last five starts after issuing 25 free passes in his first seven. A year ago at Class A Advanced Lancaster, he walked 75 while piling up 152 strikeouts over 123 1/3 innings.
"I think it's trust in what he does," said Ruby, who's in his first season with Corpus Christi. "When you come to this league, in particular with these players, the ball flies pretty good and you can get a little tentative early and pitch away from the bat. I think once he figured out that he can throw it in the zone with his stuff, I think that's been the biggest thing, his confidence of throwing the ball in the strike zone. He's been impressive the last five or six starts."
Ruby said he believes that with continued work, Cisnero can make his mark at higher levels.
"He's got a great arm and I think the rest of the way it's the overall command of his three pitches," he added. "The more he throws and the more he gets better at the bottom of the strike zone, the more success he's going to have at the upper levels. He's making great progress."
Carlos Lee was 2-for-4 in his final rehab appearance for the Hooks, while Kody Hinze slugged a two-run homer, his second in as many games.
Robert Emrich is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
Nick Tropeano loses no-hitter in 6th and has been a bit off command-wise, but he has just worked out of a 2nd and 3rd jam to keep Asheville scoreless. No score heading into the bottom of the 6th in Lexington.
Villar is still very young, but so far he hasn't been able to turn tools into performance.
His overall season stats are misleading because he was dog-**** terrible at the beginning of the season. He's actually been quite good over the last month.
Villar, 21, selected as a reserve infielder, leads the league with 29 steals and has come on strong over the last three weeks. In his last 20 games, Villar is batting .333 (26x78) with four home runs, 21 runs and 15 RBIs.
Yep, for that league and that team, it is terrible.
The team OPS is .849. The team OBP is .377 while his is .368.
He would no way, no how be our starting center fielder right now.
For an easy comparison, Wallace had an .868 OPS there, and we see how he is in a more natural baseball environment.
Gose needs to get his OPS up around .850 before I would even give him a second thought as a major leaguer. I am having flashbacks to Eric Anthony hollow PCL stats. I bet Eric Anthony wishes those PCL stats translated, he would be sitting next to Mantle and Mays in the Hall of Fame right now.
Nick Tropeano's control abandoned him, but Lexington got some timely hitting.
OKC had to settle for a split as they fell 4-2 to Round Rock. Scott Moore went 1-3 with an RBI single in the 3rd, and Angel Sanchez was 3-4 with an RBI single in the 6th. Paul Clemens allowed 4 runs on 13 hits (solo homer) and struck out 4 in 6 innings of work. Enerio Del Rosario finished the game, allowing a hit and striking out 1 in 2 scoreless innings.
Corpus and Frisco had a late start, as rain delayed the first pitch for 1:41. And they had a late finish, as well. The Hooks dragged it on even longer as they got plenty of insurance in the 11th, as they ran off 9 in the top half to turn a 5-5 game into a 14-5 romp. Well, all 9 Hooks runs came off position players, but it's whatever. Everyone had at least 1 hit in this one. The 11th was fueled by a 3-run homer from Kody Hinze (9, his 3rd straight game with a homer) and 2 2-run homers from Jair Fernandez (2) and Jonathan Villar (5). Fernandez was one of 4 players with 3 hits apiece. He was 3-6 with the homer, an RBI single, and scored 3 times. Drew Muren also went 3-6, with 2 doubles and 3 runs scored. Adam Bailey was 3-5 with a double. And lastly, Jose Martinez was 3-7 with 3 RBI singles. Villar added an RBI double to go along with his homer. All 3 homers in the 11th came with 2 outs. Andy Simunic and Jonathan Singleton drove in 1 each.
Pitching-wise, Brett Oberholtzer allowed 3 runs (1 earned) on only 2 hits (solo homer) in 6 innings, walking 1 and striking out 5. Fernandez and Martinez had RBI singles in the top of the 9th that gave the Hooks a 5-3 lead, but Jason Stoffel was unable to finish it off, blowing his first save of the season. Erick Abreu pitched 2 scoreless for the win, allowing a hit and walking 2.
Lexington earned a split in their final game before the SAL All-Star break, as they topped Asheville 2-0. The Legends finally broke through with 2 in the bottom of the 8th. Brandon Meredith led off the 8th with a triple and came home on Justin Gominsky's RBI single. Chan-Jong Moon sent Gominsky home on a long, long double. Gominsky also had himself an outfield assist, as he threw out Ryan Casteel at home to end the 7th. Casteel and Asheville manager Joe Mikulik ended up getting the heave-ho after throwing simultaneous tantrums.
Nick Tropeano threw 7 shutout innings, allowing only 3 hits and striking out 7, but he also issued 5 walks in the process. Murilo Gouvea got the win by pitching a scoreless 8th, allowing a hit and striking out 2. And finally, Dayan Diaz finished it off with his 8th save of the season.
Paul Clemens: 34
Brett Oberholtzer: 64
Nick Tropeano: 73
Came up with some real clutch plays late. First, the throw home that preserved a scoreless game in the 7th, and then the base hit that put the Legends on the board in the 8th.
Nick Tropeano: 7 IP, 3 H, 5 BB, 7 K
Murilo Gouvea: W, IP, H, 2 K
Dayan Diaz: S (8)
Legends pitching has been damn good this year. All three of these guys should be moving on up soon.
Corpus Christi Hooks
W 14-5 @ Frisco
14 R, 19 H, 3 HR
Well, there you go. What a way to get the victory.
Chan-Jong Moon, SS, Lexington: So, he missed tying the game by a couple of feet on Saturday, but no matter. He provided the insurance for the Legends in this game.
Angel Sanchez, SS, Oklahoma City: He's still hanging around?
Drew Muren, CF, Corpus Christi: He's pulling out all the stops to try and stick around once Austin Wates comes off the DL.
And for the first time this season, Jason Stoffel couldn't close the deal. Oh well, all was forgiven when Corpus blew the game wide open in the 11th.
Maybe it's just me, but Jair Fernandez looks like a darker Wilton Lopez.
OKC is on the road for tomorrow, and they'll be kicking off a series with Nashville beginning Tuesday night at 7:05 Eastern. Wes Musick will face off against Claudio Vargas that evening.
Corpus is looking to haul ass out of Frisco ASAP, as they're set to kick off a series in San Antonio beginning at 7:05. Jake Buchanan will get the start for the Hooks; opposing him will be Andrew Cashner, I believe.
Lancaster and Lexington are on their All-Star breaks.
Short-season ball will be kicking off, as the Tri-City Valleycats will be in Burlington, Vermont, to square off against the Vermont Lake Monsters.
Vincent Velasquez will make his first start since 2010 in the @ValleyCats season opener tomorrow #astros
He's been rushed his entire career but it looks like he's starting to put it together.
Good point. He had a bad start but he has been very good since May. He is having a monster June. Still only 21 years old but already has 30 SB this year. He also has been walking a little more this year.