The Grizzlies have a ton of talent on their roster, as many of the players that helped propel them to the Triple-A Championship a year ago have returned to the fold, while some positions have received upgrades. Here is a quick recap of the transactions, scores, and standout players from the first week of Pacific Coast League action on the Astros farm.
4/12/16: Matt Duffy optioned to Fresno Grizzlies.
4/7/16: Tyson Perez placed on the 60-day disabled list.
4/7/16: Chris Devenski contract selected by Houston Astros.
4/7/16: Michael Feliz optioned to Fresno.
4/5/16: Danny Reynolds assigned to Corpus Christi Hooks from Fresno Grizzlies.
4/5/15: Trent Woodward assigned to Corpus Christi Hooks from Fresno Grizzlies.
4/5/16: Roberto Pena assigned to Fresno Grizzlies from Corpus Christi Hooks.
The Grizzlies and Las Vegas 51's (Mets) split the first two games of their series, dropping the opening game of the season 6-4 before erupting for 15 runs in their 15-10 win the following day. The final two games of the series were rained out and have been postponed. From Las Vegas, the team traveled to Salt Lake City to face the Bees (Angels) where they again split the series at two games a piece. Fresno outscored Salt Lake 21-14, thanks in large part to their 6-0 victory on Wednesday evening, but dropped a pair of one-run games, including a back-and-forth 10-9 loss on Thursday night.
Fresno finally arrives at home for an eight-game home-stand against these same two squads beginning on Friday night, which includes a championship flag giveaway for the first 5,000 fans through the turnstiles for the opener.
A.J. Reed is the player that everyone is keeping an eye on down in Fresno, even though Tyler White is doing more than holding his own up in Houston. Reed is the team's best offensive prospect, and has been performing quite well through the first six games, batting .280 with a .400 on-base percentage and 7 rbi. He also added his first Triple-A home run on Thursday night in the loss, a two-run shot in the 1st. Even while averaging more than a run batted in per game, Reed doesn't quite hold the team lead in the category. That distinction belongs to third baseman Colin Moran who has driven in 8 thus far, including a 4 spot on Thursday night, and at least one in five of the first six games.
The one drawback from Moran's line is that he has struck out eight times compared to just two walks, all in 20 at-bats. That percentage (currently 40%) will certainly go down as he gains experience in Fresno, but even with the high strikeout rate, Moran is still batting .350 with a .391 OBP. For comparison's sake, Reed has six strikeouts and five walks in 25 at-bats.
Right behind Reed on the rbi leaderboard is, you guessed it--Danny Worth--with six. The player that you were likely thinking of, Jonathan Singleton, is 4th on the team with four. On the bright side for Singleton, albeit in a small sample size and a bit too late, his bases on balls total of five is two more than his strikeout total. He is also only batting .190, ten points lower than the defensive-minded catcher in Pena.
Tony Kemp has continued to impress, holding team-highs in both batting average (.474) and OBP (.583).
On the mound, Feliz got the start for Fresno in last night's series finale, his first action since coming on in relief in Yankee stadium in the second game of the season. Feliz lasted just 3.1 innings, allowing seven earned on six hits and four walks while striking out four. Feliz has had more stints in Houston than he has with Fresno, spending the majority of last season in Double-A with a short stint at High-A Lancaster and a cup of coffee in the bigs.
James Hoyt, the man that Feliz beat out for the final bullpen spot for opening day, has totaled 3 innings pitched, hasn't allowed a run, and has struck out six, which leads the team--starters or relievers. 28-year-old lefty Edwar Cabrera has allowed just one hit and two walks over 3.2 innings, but that one hit was a double, which followed one of those two walks, and his ERA stands at 2.45. Cabrera made his MLB debut back in 2012 with the Colorado Rockies, tossing 5.2 innings for the Rox that year. Hoyt, 29, has yet to make his big league debut.
In the shutout win, Tommy Shirley got the start and lasted 5 innings, giving up just three hits and a walk. He and Hoyt are the only two pitchers left that have not allowed an earned run this season. Oddly enough, three of the starters, Mike Hauschild, Brad Peacock and Brady Rodgers, each gave up two earned runs in their starts this past week. Hauschild went 6 innings and holds the slightly lower ERA (3.00), but Peacock and Rodgers were each arguably more dominant, combining to allow fewer hits (6) than Hauschild's seven.