Originally Posted by robbie380
i don't think he was ever an astros. what is the name of the A ball team he played for?
In 1997, Johan was promoted to Houston’s Kissimmee affiliate in the Gulf Coast League, where he threw 36 innings of relief and got hit hard. He also started a game for the Auburn Doubeldays of the New York-Penn League at the end of the year. Johan was back in Auburn for most of the 1998 season, where he regained his form as a starter, winning seven games and racking up 88 strikeouts in 87 innings.
Johan spent the entire 1999 campaign with the Michigan Battle Cats of the Class A Midwest League, under the tutelage of Al Pedrique, who would later manage the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Astros stockpiled Pedrique’s pitching staff with a group of top prospects, including Roy Oswalt, Tim Redding, Mike Gallo, Jacob Whitney and Mike Nannini. Johan led the staff in starts with 26, going 8-8 with a 4.66 ERA and a team-high 150 strikeouts in 160 innings.
For the second straight season, he showed improvement in his fastball, curve and change, and showed arm strength well beyond his 20 years. Unfortunately, the Astros felt Johan was still years away from wearing a Houston uniform. When they had to set their 40-man roster, the last spot came down to Johan and teammate Aaron McNeal, who was coming off a 38-homer 131-RBI season. They opted for McNeal, exposing the young lefty in the Rule 5 draft.