Erik Williams-USA Today Sports

Houston Astros Minor League Update

Here's an update on the Houston Astros minor league system.

Touting some of the best prospects in baseball, the Astros minor league teams have not been logging as many wins as one might expect.

A team’s farm system is important, but it is not the wins that matter here, it’s the player development.

Here is a look at the current state of the teams and the prospects that make up those teams.

Fresno Grizzlies

Despite the Grizzlies losing 4 of 5 this past week we can still find some bright spots in the losses. Just look at the hot hitting of Derek Fisher.

He is hitting .333 with 8 home runs in 34 games this season. His 8th home run of the game this past Friday was one of only 3 hits the entire game.

Trent Thornton (P) had a decent start through five innings, but gave up four runs. He did still manage six strikeouts. After he exited the game, Ashur Tolliver picked up the slack nicely in 1.2 scoreless innings of work.

Aaron West finished off the game by only giving up one run in the final inning while also logging two strikeouts. Unfortunately they have fallen victim to streaky hitting and an inconsistent output from the pitching staff.

This staff that isn’t filled with “top prospects”, but has some quality arms. It is safe to say for now that the Grizzlies road to Minute Maid Park is not in their pitching but with their bats, and with the right amount of production you will see players pop up to the majors to get those MLB swings when needed.

The call-ups (most temporary, some possibly more long term) to look for in 2018 from Fresno are: Derek Fisher, Andrew Aplin, Jon Kemmer, Tyler White, A.J. Reed and Tony Kemp. This group provides some speed, ability to mash, and some good defense.

Corpus Christi Hooks

The Hooks are on a nine game losing streak going into Saturday, and as I mentioned at the top, the minors’ levity and strength is in player development.

This rough stretch for the Hooks as come at the expense of putting guys on base but not being able to bring them in, and if you watch the Astros this season most of their success is in their batting average with runners in scoring position. Regardless there are still those who are hitting and pitchers worth mentioning.

The hot hitters (if you can use that term on a 9 game losing streak) currently are Drew Ferguson, J.D. Davis, and with a team high .297 batting average, Antonio Nunez. One of the top rated prospects, Ramon Laureano, is having a rough time at the plate, but is sure to come around and bring his average up.

The pitchers you can see when they do well, it shows and is more obvious at times. Deen Deetz threw 5 Innings, gave up 6 hits, 2 runs, as well 8 K’s.

He has a 1.30 ERA with 29K in 27.2 innings this season; he is (3-1) on the young season. Josh James and Andrew Thome are both 2-1, and hold ERA’s currently under 3.

Another pitcher to watch is Cy Sneed who came over in the Jonathan Villar trade, it would be good for him to eventually make an impact in the future. His ERA is inflated and he is 1-3, but it sure is tough to gain a solid win/loss record with a team that can’t find a way to win.


The other teams and players:

High A Buies Creek Astros

This team has the most talked about prospect since Alex Bregman. I know that was ages ago, and Bregman is a seasoned, well 2nd year major league player. Kyle Tucker is tearing up whatever league he is in.

This past week we has named player of the week by Overall he went 8-for-23- (.348), scoring 7 runs, 3 doubles, a triple, 4 HR’s while adding 7 RBI. At the end of this week he is over .300, and at 20 years old the future is bright for this young man in an Astros uniform.

The top 3 hitters currently are: Kyle Tucker (RF), Jason Martin (CF), Myles Straw (LF), and Dexture McCall (1B). Tucker and Martin lead the team in HR’s with 8 for Tucker and 5 for Martin respectively. As well they lead in RBI, Steals, and doubles.

The teams top pitching prospects are as follows: Nick Hernandez, Yohan Ramierz, and a hot starting Alex Winkelman. Winkleman is 2-0 with a 1.55 ERA adding 39 K’s this season.

Nick Hernandez has 5 saves, with a 2.20 ERA, and 23 K’s. These are the only pitchers having success, Yaonys Quiala, and Akeem Bostick, have sub 3 ERA’s and have a combined 51 strikeouts.

Quad Cities River Bandits

This squad boast Daz Cameron one of the most talked about prospects in recent years but hasn’t been swinging the bat well.

There are others, Rodrigo Ayarza, and Randy Cesar are both hitting over .300, Jake Rogers leads the team in HR’s, and Daz is tied for 3rd despite the low BA.

This team also has many prospects pitching wise and we will hopefully see them move through the system.  Carson laRue, and Ryan Hartman lead the team in wins, and Bret Adcock leads in K’s with 37 despite only having 1 win. Jorge Alcala joins Bret, with 35 K’s followed by Carson LaRue 25k’s, and Forrest Whitley with 25.

Forrest Whitley is a young arm the Astros hope develops into a Major League talent. At only 19 he is doing well, he has a high ceiling and high expectations.

Fresh out of high school, he will need to be groomed, but if you look at pitchers of recent history the Astros have the personnel to ensure he makes it to the Big Show when the time is right.

There are many players in the Astros farm system that points to a bright future. The front office will have discussions to make in the future, and that is where the chess match is with baseball.

Who do the Astros keep, who do they trade. Regardless you will see these guys coming to a major league park near you. Hopefully that is Minute Maid Park.

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