Prospect Week continues with a series of reviews of the each of the minor league affiliate's seasons. First up is obviously our highest affiliate in AAA, Round Rock. We all have seen all of the reports that have been flying around about this being the last season that Round Rock will be affiliated with Houston, but let's ignore the business side of baseball for a bit and look at the product on the field for a moment.
Triple-A affiliates are responsible for the final refinement of players games before they make their debut's at the major league level as well as provide instant re-inforements in case of injury or a player just doesn't perform. It's difficult to balance sometimes between the need to develop a player at a position as well as having someone there who can contribute at a moments notice. That's why we have guys like Matt Kata and Shane Loux on our AAA roster so they can be called up in case of those situations as well as Chris Johnson so he could develop and then contribute.
As you all know, prospects move level to level rather frequently especially this season. So, for this series, it's difficult to determine where to talk about certain guys. Pitchers Jordan Lyles, Danny Meszaros, and Polin Trinidad, as well as others, have pitched a good bit between AA and AAA this year, and it's hard to pick where they belong in these discussions. Since Lyles pitched a large majority in AA, he won't be discussed here but Meszaros and Trinidad are because the majority of their seasons were on the AAA roster, although Meszaros pitched more in AA.
The long season for Round Rock has finally ended. Round Rock finished with a Pacific Coast League worst 57-87 record that included some very humilating losses such as 23-5 loss to Omaha on August 30th. That terrible record probably has something to do with them actually doing their job though by providing the major league roster with immediate help in guys like Chris Johnson, Jason Castro, Jason Bourgeois, and Wilton Lopez (even if he only pitched in three games before his call-up). The offense was just atrocious being that it ranked dead last in runs, average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and consequently, OPS. They also ranked second to last in hits, doubles, triples, and homeruns while ranking third to last in walks. The pitching wasn't quite as bad as I thought it was ranking in the upper half of most team pitching statistics, including ERA. They were actually the best in allowing walks but also ranked dead last in strikeouts by a margin of 87 strikeouts from the next worst team.
Brian Bogusevic, outfield/first base-It was a tough decision between Bogey and Drew Locke, who posted a higher OPS. But, Bogey's defensive contributions, higher OBP, and great stolen base rate tops Locke. Bogey's arm is obviously very good and he's athletic enough to play both corner outfield spots as well as being versatile enough for some occasional time in center. He has played a good bit of time at first as well. Bogey's swing is more of a line drive swing with just a little lift that led to his thirteen home runs. On the base paths, he knows how to pick his chances with 23 stolen bases and was caught stealing just one time.
Team Cy Young
Josh Banks, right hander-It hurts so bad to give him this award, but who is really deserving? This pitching staff was decent but nobody stood out. Yorman Bazardo has better numbers but was in the pen for so much of the season that he didn't pitcher nearly enough. Being that minor league contracts are only one season and Banks is on one, he likely won't be back next season.
Players To Watch
Wesley Wright, left-hander-I really hope that the Wesley Wright experiment is over. His time as a starter just didn't go over well at all this season and I hope they don't continue stretching him out. He was effective as a reliever, so if he gets put back into the pen, he could be a guy to watch out for as significant help at the major league level.
Yorman Bazardo, right-hander-He had one of the best ERA's of anyone who pitched significant innings with a 3.85. His strikeout rate wasn't the greatest nor was his walk rate. But, he was effective and could be a guy who could fill in at the big league level next season.
Danny Meszaros, right-hander-As you all know, his season was cut short by a 50 game suspension before he was able to do anything at the AAA level. He pitched a lot more in AA but I included him here. He's got a solid fastball that could carry him to the majors. He could be able to contribute at some point next season with approximately half of his suspension already served.
Players Who Disappointed
Polin Trinidad, left-hander-The Astros added to his less than desirable season with a little insult to injury when they removed him from the 40-man roster and then demoted him back to AA. It's apparent that this system has passed this soft-tossing lefty on by and hasn't thought twice. An ERA over 5.00, a worsening walk rate, and a declining groundout to flyout ratio is not what you want to see.
Collin DeLome, outfield-Collin DeLome has serious pop, SERIOUS pop. Although, he can't compliment that power with the ability to on base. His OBP is terrible at .270, but he is still able to post an OPS over .700 because of his power. His approach is almost not existant at the plate.
Best Outlook for 2011
Jack Shuck, outfield-The former Ohio State Buckeye has been great at getting on-base every since he got into the system. He's actually moving up quicker than Lyles as he made it to AA just a few weeks before Lyles. He started off really hot in AAA but cooled toward the end of the season. He relies a lot on his batting average to get on base which will have it's fluctuations throughout the season. He has a lot of speed and works hard. He's been working on his abilities on the base paths so expect for him to expand his game some next season.