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2020 Astros Minor League Thread

Discussion in 'Houston Astros' started by tellitlikeitis, Dec 15, 2019.

  1. Snake Diggit

    Snake Diggit Member

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    The Astros own the Corpus Christi Hooks, so owning both the Hooks and the Skeeters doesn’t leave any obvious path for them to continue being affiliated with the Express.
     
  2. Snake Diggit

    Snake Diggit Member

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    I don’t think pissing off the Ryan’s was any part of their motivation; best I can tell Reid didnt generate any bad blood in his time. I think Crane (at Luhnow’s McKinsey-style convincing) concluded he wanted his AAA team closer and he wanted to own all 4 affiliates, and that set things in motion (Crane buying the Hooks and Woodpeckers, Luhnow leading the proposed contraction/realignment, Crane planning to buy the Skeeters). The desired endpoint didn’t align with what the Ryan’s likely wanted (continuing to own the Express as an MLB affiliate).
     
  3. Joe Joe

    Joe Joe Go Stros!
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    The Hooks may be contracted or sold to another team. Having the Express as the AA affiliate would be worth more in the long run than the value of the CC Hooks.
     
  4. Snake Diggit

    Snake Diggit Member

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    You’re saying you expect the Astros to sell or close down the Hooks within 3 years of buying them? That would be pretty far-fetched, but I suppose anything is possible.
     
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  5. Joe Joe

    Joe Joe Go Stros!
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    Crane made the conclusion he wanted to buy a AAA team and move it to Sugar Land or the Woodlands a long time ago (7-8 years ago), but went back to Round Rock when Reid Ryan was brought into the fold. I think Reid Ryan is the main reason RR is currently the Astros AAA affiliate. I don't think Crane intentionally pissed off the Ryans (well Nolan at least), but it happened. Reid Ryan has handled the situation like Brantley handles an at bat.
     
  6. Joe Joe

    Joe Joe Go Stros!
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    I believe Crane is a business man that isn't going to let a sunk cost keep him from making money. I don't think it will happen as I doubt he'll get the chance to buy the Express.
     
  7. HTown2017Champs

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    Now, out of curiosity, is there evidence of Minor League affiliates actually influencing fanbases? Just curious. Would love the Astros base to be more than just Houston (and Beaumont) areas, putting your AAA team in the next county over is NOT the way to do tat AT ALL (on paper).

    Though from what I've read (and seen) Austin/San Antonio is not particularly loyal to any team as a whole. Some Astros fans, some Rangers fans, some fans of other teams, and a large number of "frontrunner" (or bandwagon fans). I know of a good number of people who were Astros fans when we first went to the WS in 2005, then supported the Rangers during their 10/11 runs, then came back to us when we were in the ALCS and WS more recently.
     
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  8. Snake Diggit

    Snake Diggit Member

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    Anecdotally, I have noticed a change in the numbers of Astros/Rangers gear out and about in Austin when the Express have changed affiliations. That also seemed to correlate to when those teams were good/sucked, so who knows. I would imagine there would be some impact; whether or not it is enough for it to warrant that being an overriding factor in where teams put their affiliates, I don’t know. I would think Austin, Corpus, San Antonio, and New Orleans (along with maybe Little Rock) would be prime targets for Astros expansion.
     
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  9. HTown2017Champs

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    From my experience, when visiting SA/Austin, that sounds about right. I know logisitics and stuff, but wouldn't Crane think about that when considering. Everyone except SEA and ATL has theirs out of market, and Austin or SA is not that bad of a flight, and a hell of a lot better than Fresno. Speaking of Fresno, I've never been there but per reports there was no "affiliate effect" in terms of fans there. Not surprised since it's in California.
     
  10. No Worries

    No Worries Contributing Member

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    Don't some teams like the Yankees run 2 complex league teams?
     
  11. Snake Diggit

    Snake Diggit Member

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    Yes. Some orgs have 2 US complex teams and 2 Dominican complex teams. It’ll be interesting to see how that’s addressed in the new arrangement. I’m hoping they expand or eliminate the roster limit for the complex leagues. I also wonder if orgs will be allowed to have signed players play in unaffiliated leagues; so maybe teams are limited to 6 affiliated minor league teams each with the associated roster limits, but are allowed to sign additional players who play for independent league teams. That could lead to some teams essentially forming their own minor league levels outside the affiliated leagues, which might be an issue.
     
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  12. Snake Diggit

    Snake Diggit Member

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    Spent some time combing google to see if I could find any updates on what some of the Astros minor leaguers have been up to in this lost season. Notes:

    1B Jake Adams has been volunteer coaching
    SS Jeremy Pena has been working out in Rhode Island
    OF Chandler Taylor expected to start 2020 in AA
    SS Grae Kessinger has been lifting and trying to add muscle weight
    OF Jordan Brewer had surgery right before the season was cancelled and would have missed the season anyway
    OF Alex McKenna is playing in an independent league and has been working out quite a bit
     
  13. Snake Diggit

    Snake Diggit Member

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    There’s a podcast by the High A affiliate called “Woodpeckers Baseball Podcast”, and they have been interviewing a bunch of minor leaguers this year. I haven’t listened to any, but gonna start with the episode including IF David Hensley and Astros Dir of Player Eval Charles Cook.
     
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  14. HTown2017Champs

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    I like Alex McKenna a lot. Doing well in the CCC, and as I already pointed out, is a big-time pitchers’ league wi tu low AVG and SLG. Could turn into what I hoped Ronnie Dawson would be. Speaking of which, any news on him? Loved his speed and power but high K rate seems to be his downfall. Was great at Ohio State, was hoping he’d pan out. Luhnow 2nd founders seemed to be kinda cursed.

    Also glad to see Kessinger is looking to improve his strength and power. As an SEC baseball fan I was impressed with his hitting ability. Dark horse guy. He’s a legacy player (grandpa is a Cubs legend, uncle also played in MLB, father in MiLB), and it’s well-known I love those. Usually leads to good natural instincts and work ethic. Excited to see him in he minors next year.
     
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  15. Snake Diggit

    Snake Diggit Member

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    There have been disappointingly few updates on how the guys in the alternate site have been doing, so no news on Dawson. He elevated his status the last 2 seasons by improving his defensive profile (he now projects as a guy who can man CF), but the strikeouts have proven to be a serious flaw. That he was passed up in the Rule 5 and hasn’t been mentioned as an option for next season are also bad signs. It would not surprise me if he reached the majors but for now it looks very unlikely that he is anything more than a AAAA/4th OF type.
     
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  16. HTown2017Champs

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    The fact that Springer, Brantley, and Reddick are all FA after this year helps make room for a AAA outfielder, but Dawson whiffs too much for an everyday. Too much of a 3 outcomes player, but his defensive improvement is nice. Could find room as a pinch runner/late inning sub, whether for us or someone else. Of course, not what you'd hope for from a 2nd rounder.
    Here's a wrap-up on our (non-comp/comp balance) second rounders under Luhnow:

    2012: Nolan Fontana - Did nothing for us. Cup of coffee with the Halos, out of baseball.
    2013: Andrew Thurman - Nothing special. Throw-in in Gattis deal, out of baseball after 2017.
    2014: AJ Reed - Had high hopes, but flamed out. Bad work ethic and conditioning, retired last Spring.
    2015: Tom Eshelman - Used in the Giles trade. Not that good in HOU/PHI systems. Starting to get it together in BAL.
    2016: Ronnie Dawson - Not looking good. Best path to the majors is at this point a PR/def sub.
    2017: JJ Matijevic - Had setbacks, notably the failed drug test. High K rate too. But not that bad, could still sneak in as a AAAA guy.
    2018: Jayson Schroeder - Still young, drafted out of HS. As of now he has plenty of time to turn around, but his stats so far. Ouch.
    2019: Grae Kessinger - Jury still out. Hoping he can buck the trend, I do have hopes for him.

    As you can see, not very good. The first 4 were busts for us. Dawson probably will be too. Matijevic is not that bad but nothing special, probably a bench bat at most at this point. Schroeder not looking good but can turn things around, especially since he's still very young. But having a WHIP above 2.6 (yes, you read that right) across all levels in your first full year in the system is not a good way to make the best first impression. Kessinger has showed little power but good walk rates and defense in limited sample size and can still improve. I think he can become a good player eventually.
     
  17. htownbball

    htownbball Member

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    I never understood the Fontana pick and the Kessinger pick seems very similar. Low ceiling light hitting utility types. Just seems like you'd want to get someone with a bit more upside in the 2nd round
     
  18. HTown2017Champs

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    Dang, did not think of that. I thought Kessinger was better than Fontana, but digging through the stats they are more eerily similar than I would have thought. Kessinger does have better fielding, had a better junior year and I do anticipate him to, at the very least, not be a total bust. But come to think of it, we have had very bad luck with college infielders sans Bregman.
     
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  19. Snake Diggit

    Snake Diggit Member

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    It’s easy to comp Kessinger to Fontana because they were both 2nd round big school SS with plus on-base skills and questions about power and ability to stick at SS. But I think they are very different prospects.

    Fontana was drafted purely because his on-base skill was elite enough that it (combined with his ability to play an up the middle position) made him about as can’t miss as a prospect can be when it comes to projecting a guy to reach the majors. Fontana was always a very low ceiling player. He had below average speed and well below average power, and there was nothing physically that indicated there was room for improvement in those areas. As likely as he was to reach the majors, his ceiling was always extremely limited; his absolute best case was a guy who could play SS everyday, using his walk rate to justify a spot at the bottom of the order. But by far the most likely outcome was exactly what he ended up being: a fringy defensive infielder who big league pitchers could simply attack to negate his walk skill.

    Kessinger is different. Yes, his current profile paints him as an on-base first prospect who is merely average at short. But Kessinger already boasts average speed and raw power, and at 6’2”/200 (as opposed to Fontana’s 5’10”/190), there is quite a bit of physical upside in Kessinger. Kessinger’s on-base skill is not as good as Fontana’s, so his floor is a lot lower, but he has a much higher ceiling. It’s not impossible for Kessinger to become a solid defensive SS with double digit HR and some baserunning value; that’s a 3 win player.
     
  20. Nook

    Nook Member

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    Don't expect to hear much until the off season and even then you are only going to get what they want to tell you. Putila is a very shrewd and close to the chest guy. Most of the remaining organization is the same (Goldstein, Firkus and Bokhari). Gelles has said some things in the past, but that was before she joined the Astros.

    My understanding is that Click, Putila and Bokhari are the ones primarily making decisions with input from Goldstein.
     
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