Astros Minor League Review: Landon Powell, C, Oklahoma City

Harry How - Getty Images

If you don't know why I'm doing this review then you must be new. I am a part-time University of South Carolina student and as such I love everything South Carolina, except for the constantly rising in parking pass prices and tuition fees (honestly I don't use the computer labs so why am I paying for it, again? And there's a fee for evening students? Seriously?!?!).

As you've probably guessed by now Landon Powell is a USC alumni and as such I've been designated by the Cyborg (David Coleman edit: yeah, yeah...don't I actually have to produce stuff to earn that nickname? I've been terrible lately at that.) to write an article about him.

Powell has already spent significant time in the Major Leagues in 406 plate appearances with the Oakland Athletics he's posted a .207/.284/.328 slash line with a .252 BABIP and solid defensive numbers.He also caught Dallas Braden's perfect game back in 2012.

In Oklahoma City this year he posted a .251/.353/.377 slash line in 279 plate appearances. His walk rate was 12.9% and his strikeout out rate was 20.1% this year. Defensively he threw out 39% of would be base stealers and posted a .992 fielding percentage. Now usually we would laugh at fielding percentage when evaluating a player, but that's really all we have and his reputation in the big leagues would confirm that he's a solid defensive catcher. Also apparently pitchers really like working with him. If the Astros choose to re-sign him for next year he could be in the running as the backup for Jason Castro.

The tragedy for Powell is that he's got some medical issue that affect his play on the field. In 2010 Powell was diagnosed with "autoimmune hepatitis, a rare liver disease with no known cure." Essentially his body mistakes good cells for bad cells in the body and attacks them. The symptoms of that disease are, Abdominal distention, dark urine, fatigue, general discomfort, itching, loss of appetite and nausea among others. Try competing at a high level of baseball while also dealing with that. The fact that he's even putting up the numbers is a testament to his talent and determination. His medical condition is manageable but eventually he's going to need major surgery.

Considering that the Astros called up Carlos Corporan instead of Powell probably means that the Astros consider Powell to be the fourth on the catcher depth chart. And deservedly so, Corporan had a slightly better offensive and defensive year that Powell. Still we shouldn't overlook what the Redhawks got out of Powell: an adequate offensive and good defensive catcher that handles the pitch staff well. Maybe he didn't make the Majors this year but he did provide depth and development value to an organization looking to rebuild.

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