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The State of the Houston Astros Minor League System

Discussion in 'Houston Astros' started by tellitlikeitis, Jul 16, 2013.

  1. tellitlikeitis

    tellitlikeitis Canceled
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    Well, now that the big club is on its All-Star break, I felt that this would be an appropriate time to see how the system is faring at this point of the season.

    Unfortunately, the Astros are working on back-to-back-to-most-likely-back worst seasons ever. But, the farm is flourishing. We've seen a few of those fruits in Robbie Grossman, Marc Krauss (the jury's still out on them) and Jarred Cosart's one-off appearance on Friday. We'll be seeing more of them come August.

    I will always trust in Jeff Luhnow's decisions until it's clear that he no longer deserves it. I totally understand why George Springer is in AAA, although I don't necessarily agree with it. With that said...

    For the Astros, the post-All-Star break portion of the schedule should be a time to inject some excitement into the major league club. Time to cut the dead weight from the 25-man roster. That means... no more Ronny CedeƱo. Ever. It's time to see if Jonathan Villar can cut it as an everyday major league shortstop. George Springer will finally be making his much-ballyhooed debut. Jarred Cosart will be in the rotation to stay. We might be seeing Asher Wojciechowski cut his teeth against American League lineups. We'll see if Brad Peacock can use the lessons he learned in a rough first month and in his stint with Oklahoma City and apply them as he tries to reach the ceiling of a #2 starter.

    Come August, we should be seeing the first wave of the Astros' future core playing at Minute Maid Park, and at ballparks all across the AL country and the one in Canada.

    Now that I'm done with the spiel, let's see where we are regarding the minor league system. First up... midseason awards, and one dishonor that shouldn't be handed out. I have to warn you... this may be moar nonsense coming your way.

    MVP, so far

    [​IMG]

    Well... yeah. This wasn't even close. George Springer laid waste to the Texas League and is currently laying waste to the Pacific Coast League.

    Season stats (combined): 90 games, .315/.418/.624, 26 HR, 72 RBI, 68 R, 52 BB, 115 K, 28 SB (7 CS)

    20 seconds in: "I don't know what league George Springer belongs in, but it's not the PCL."

    <iframe src='http://www.milb.com/shared/video/embed/embed.html?content_id=28759903&width=400&height=224&property=milb' width='400' height='224' frameborder='0'>Your browser does not support iframes.</iframe>

    Apologies to: No one. George Springer has simply been in a different realm this season. I have said quite a few times that there are few, if any, valid reasons to keep him in the minors.

    Full-Season Pitcher of the Year, so far

    [​IMG]

    On the other hand, choosing the winner on the pitching side was not as clear-cut. However, I went with the guy whose breakout is continuing. Mike Foltynewicz has evolved from a run-of-the-mill mid-rotation starter to a possible frontline guy. The walk rate is a bit concerning, but he is the 4th-youngest pitcher in the Texas League at the moment. I imagine that he's under orders to refine his secondary stuff, as well. And I'll be honest here, I'm going to be even more excited to see his debut than Jarred Cosart's.

    Season stats (combined): 22 appearances (14 starts), 5-1, 2.80 ERA, 90 IP, 78 H (8 HR), 38 R (28 earned), 46 BB, 95 K, 1.38 WHIP, .239 opponent average

    I have to tell you. I never get tired of watching this video.

    <iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/68236446" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe> <p><a href="http://vimeo.com/68236446">Three Mike Foltynewicz Strikeouts (6/11/2013)</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/user3214266">Jason Cole</a> on <a href="https://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>

    Apologies to: Pretty much everyone. Jarred Cosart, Jake Buchanan, Vince Velasquez, Lance McCullers, David Martinez, et al.

    Short-Season Pitchers of the Year, so far

    [​IMG]

    Michael Feliz has just torn the New York-Penn League apart. Also, he's one of the younger players in the circuit, so what he's done so far has been pretty damn impressive. He was tabbed as a sleeper in the system in the 2013 BA Prospect Handbook. Feliz has a mid-90s fastball and a potential plus slider.

    Season stats: 5 appearances (4 starts), 3-1, 1.07 ERA, 25.1 IP, 14 H (1 homer), 5 R (3 earned), 4 BB, 32 K, 0.72 WHIP, .161 opponent average

    [​IMG]

    Chris Lee won't turn 21 until next month. He was an 18-year-old juco freshman when he was drafted. This is his 3rd season in Greeneville; his 2nd tour of duty was cut short due to an injury. Although his debut in 2011 was pretty uneven, he certainly showed some promise. What I liked was that he was rather adept at inducing weak contact, which shows in his 2.64 groundout/airout ratio. This year, it's at 4.29 through 5 appearances (4 starts). Lee also had issues with issuing free passes, as he walked 34 in 48.2 innings in 2011 and 9 in his abbreviated 2012. In 2013, though, he's only walked 4 in 23 innings while striking out 30. I think the ingredients are certainly there for Lee to become the system's top left-handed pitcher. I also think he'll assume that title by season's end.

    Season stats: 5 appearances (4 starts), 1-0, 2.74 ERA, 23 IP, 17 H (2 homers), 8 R (7 earned), 4 BB, 30 K, 0.91 WHIP, .205 opponent average

    Apologies to: Troy Scribner, Jandel Gustave, J.D. Osborne, Frederick Tiburcio

    Surprise!!!

    This section is dedicated to the two guys (1 position player and 1 pitcher) that have literally come out of nowhere.

    [​IMG]

    M.P. Cokinos showed a few things with the bat last year as Tyler Heineman's backup in Tri-City. In Lancaster, though, he's really taken off as his bat just can't be taken out of the lineup. He's seen action at 1B, DH, catcher, and even 3 games in left field. However, he's probably not a catcher moving forward. Now that he's gotten regular playing time, though, he's now the California League's leading hitter. He's not just doing it in Lancaster, either.

    Season stats: 68 games, .341/.428/.549, 10 HR, 65 RBI, 49 R, 31 BB, 22 K, 3 CS

    [​IMG]

    David Martinez spent 4 years in the Venezuelan Summer League, and after that, he's advanced one level at a time, posting solid, if unspectacular numbers. This year, he has been dazzling in Corpus. Martinez isn't a strikeout pitcher, but he's a strike thrower and doesn't walk too many hitters. This the 2nd full season in which he's been used as a starter after serving as a swingman earlier in his career. It'll be interesting to see what his role is moving forward.

    [​IMG]

    I tabbed Jonathan Meyer as a make-or-break prospect entering the season. How in the world could someone post a sub-.700 OPS in Lancaster??? In a repeat year, no less?

    Meyer has never been as highly touted as Matt Dominguez was, but they share some similarities. Both were drafted as prep 3Bs from California and they're both excellent defenders who have questions about their bats. Meyer's flirting with a 20-homer season right now. He'll probably have a Dominguez-like career at the major league level.

    Goodbye, Prospect Status

    These two guys are making the transition to becoming non-prospects.

    [​IMG]

    Just a rough season for Ross Seaton. The big blow for him was getting outrighted off the 40-man roster and sent straight to Corpus again. His time in the system has just about expired.

    [​IMG]

    We may never see Jack Armstrong pitch. $750,000 gone just like that.

    Comeback of the Year, so far

    [​IMG]

    Jake Buchanan was ranked #13 in the Astros system in the 2012 BA Prospect Handbook coming off a fine season at Lancaster (yeah, he went 5-10, but a 3.91 ERA certainly qualifies as "fine" in the Cali League, right?) in 2011. He then procceded to struggle in Corpus in 2012 and found himself back there to open up the season. Buchanan responded by posting some absolutely unreal numbers for the first 2.5 months of this season. He tapered off somewhat towards the end of June, but was able to parlay that stretch of unrealness into a promotion to Oklahoma City.
     
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  2. Progs

    Progs Member

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    I expect alot of the young guys to come up by 2014 season early on and that the Astros goal should be somewhere aroud 75 wins. Now in 2015 playoffs should be the goal. Make the goal playoffs and anything can happen.
     
  3. boozle222

    boozle222 Contributing Member

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    Thanks for the link :)

    Agree on all counts. I wish there was room for Wojo up there somewhere. I just love seeing some returns on that Happ deal although that trade could have been ruled addition by subtraction in my book.

    Another great write up!
     
  4. MadMax

    MadMax Contributing Member

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    Great thread! Thank you!!!
     
  5. Hey Now!

    Hey Now! Contributing Member

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    Officially, what are the Astros' "valid" reasons?
     
  6. The Real Shady

    The Real Shady Contributing Member

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    Assuming arbitration clock and getting another #1.
     
  7. CometsWin

    CometsWin Breaker Breaker One Nine

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    Cokinos is 23 years old in A ball? I don't know what's exciting about that so much.
     
  8. DoitDickau

    DoitDickau Contributing Member

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    The biggest one is by waiting until mid-April next year, they delay his free agency by one full year. The devil's advocate argument is that the Astros aren't contending for anything this year, so by keeping him in the minors another 70 games or so it will allow him to work out some kinks in his game (he has less than one full year above A ball) and gives the Astros another year of club control over him in 2020 when it is more likely that the Astros will be competing for something.

    There are also 40 man roster concerns. No, a Brett Oberholtzer isn't going to keep Springer off the roster, but why risk losing a potential major league piece like Oberholtzer now (or whoever off the 40 man), when a 40 man spot or two will likely open up in a few weeks at the trading deadline.

    My guess is he comes up in August after some 40 man spots open up. But, if it's any later than that, they might as well just wait till April of next year in order to hold on to him for one more year.
     
    #8 DoitDickau, Jul 16, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2013
  9. juicystream

    juicystream Contributing Member

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    A+ Ball, and this is his first full year of pro-ball.
     
  10. No Worries

    No Worries Contributing Member

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    I would not mind letting Springer become the first 40-40 minor league player. I also would not mind letting Springer play in the AAA playoffs. After that he can spend the rest of his September having a cup of coffee.
     
  11. rocks_fan

    rocks_fan Rookie

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    It's a shame that Seaton hasn't been quite able to put it all together. My old high school hasn't put out a bunch of athletes, was hoping he'd make it big.
     
  12. Buck Turgidson

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    Aaron Thompson didn't do much either.
     
  13. TimPoopura

    TimPoopura Member

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    Another "surprise!" player for me has to be Joe Sclafani. In 228 PAs this year at Hi-A Lancaster, he's hit .330/.447/.492. Playing mostly SS/2B, he's shown good pop with 6 HR and a .162 ISO. Most importantly, he's walking in 17.1% of his PAs. The caveat to all of this is he's aided by a .390 BABIP, whereas he had a .310 BABIP in 311 PAs at Tri-Cities last year.

    Jayne over at WTHBH did a profile on him, which included this nugget from Lancaster hitting coach Daryl Robinson:

    http://whattheheckbobby.blogspot.com/2013/07/an-interview-with-ss-joe-sclafani.html
     
  14. The Drake

    The Drake Member

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    thanks for the update! Really enjoy your MiLB posts :)
     
  15. tellitlikeitis

    tellitlikeitis Canceled
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    That 368-point difference between home and road OPS though... I like Sclafani, but I'm not overly enamored with him.
     
  16. bobmarley

    bobmarley Contributing Member

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    When I met Seaton in Corpus about a year ago he was a very unlikeable guy.

    Cosart on the other hand was awesome to chat with and he was very nice.
     

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