Astros Minor League Review: Asher Wojciechowski, RHP, Corpus Christi

For the second time in this series of reviews, we're talking about a player traded at the 2012 July deadline. This time, we're looking at 2010 draftee out of The Citadel, Asher Wojciechowski. Since coming over, Wojo (as we'll call him from here on out, so I don't have to type Wojciechowski over and over and over) made eight starts for Corpus Christi after repeating his time in the High A Florida State League with the Blue Jays.

Wojo came in averaging about 7 strikeouts per nine innings and about 2 walks per nine innings. He consistently outperformed his ERA (if you follow FIP) when in the Florida State League and just slightly over performed it with Corpus. Why was that? Well, with the Hooks, that was partly because of a low batting average on balls in play and partly because he had an insanely low home run rate.

Seriously, Wojo only gave up three home runs last season. Period. Not three in his time with the Astros, but three total in 137 innings. Let's put that in perspective, shall we? Since 1961, only nine major league pitchers have thrown at least that many innings with three or fewer home runs. Even more interesting, two of those guys played in Houston, as Hal Woodeshick did it in 1962 and Nolan did it in 1981.

Basically, Wojo is not a 2.20 ERA pitcher over the course of a whole season right now. He might become that. He also might have a very low home run rate with a heavy fastball and be able to sustain lower BABiPs with that sink. It's likely he'll go back to Corpus next season and we can see more from him then.

But, let's look a little further into him. Since I have been MIA on the site forever now, we'll liven things up and go through each of his starts with Corpus to see if that tells us anything about the kind of pitcher he was with Houston.

Start No. 1

His first victory with the Astros organization came in his first start for Corpus on July 24 in San Antonio. He threw 7 innings, allowing three hits, one run and three walks while striking out six. He needed 95 pitches to get through his innings, throwing 62 for strikes.

He generated eight ground ball outs and five fly ball outs, according to the box score. Going off the play-by-play, his totals rise to 11 ground balls, two line outs and five fly outs. All three singles were on ground balls. Three of his six strikeouts were swinging. He also struck out six different batters, not doubling up on any of the high strikeout guys in the Missions lineup.

His game score was 70, second-highest of the season.

Start No. 2

Wojo got a no-decision here in his first home start in Corpus against Midland. He threw 5 innings, giving up four hits, two runs and walking three while striking out five. He used 98 pitches with 52 for strikes. That was his lowest strike percentage of the season with Houston. Control seemed to be a problem for him in this one, as he had two hit batsmen. He only had five all season with Corpus.

He had three ground ball outs and five fly ball outs in this one, but looking through the recap, he had six ground balls, one line drive and two infield flies. Four of his five strikeouts were swinging. He struck out Anthony Aliotti twice. The big first baseman struck out 129 times in 455 at-bats.

His game score fell to 53, one of six times that his GS was over 50 in his time with Houston.

Start No. 3

His third start in Houston was his second on the road in Midland. It was another no-decision, as he threw 5 1/3 innings while giving up two hits, one run with two walks while striking out five. He threw 88 pitches, with 53 of them going for strikes.

Wojo had six ground ball outs and three fly ball outs in this one. He gave up his first fly ball single with the other hit going down as a ground ball. He also had one line out. Two of his five strikeouts were swinging, with one of them being a foul tip strikeout.

His game score in this one rose to 63, the third-highest mark he'd hit and the fourth-highest game score he had all season (with the Astros). In four of his eight starts, he posted GS marks over 60.

Start No. 4

His lone bad start of the bunch came at home against Arkansas. Wojo threw just 3 innings, allowing five hits, six runs (three earned) and four walks with two strikeouts. He threw 74 pitches with 42 strikes. That's barely better than the 53 percent strike rate in Start No. 2.

He had three ground ball outs and four fly ball outs. Through the play-by-play, those numbers went up to six ground balls and seven fly balls. Two of the singles were on ground balls and the rest were fly balls. One of his two strikeouts was swinging.

His game score of 29 wasn't the lowest in Corpus this season, but it was pretty low. Take this one out of Wojo's mix and he averaged a score of 61.

Start No. 5

Wojo faced the Travelers again on the road this time and came away with his second loss of the season. He threw 5 2/3 innings while allowing a season-high eight hits while allowing three runs (two earned) with no walks and five strikeouts. Wojo threw 95 pitches and 66 strikes. Given the hits he gave up, that percentage may have crept too high.

He got six ground ball outs and four fly ball outs. He also had six line drives, one more ground ball single and two more fly ball hits. One of his fly outs was a pop up to first base. Four of his five strikeouts were swinging.

His game score in this one was 48, only the second time in the season it dipped below 50.

Start No. 6

He pitched again on the road, this time against Springfield, getting a no-decision. Wojo threw 6 2/3 innings, allowing five hits and one run while walking none and striking out one. He threw 99 pitches and 65 of them for strikes. This was the first time he threw into the seventh inning since Game 1.

Wojo had eight groundouts and nine flyouts. Looking at the recap, he had one more ground ball that resulted in an error, two fly ball hits and four line drives with one fly out being a pop up to second base. His only strikeout was swinging.

Wojo's game score jumped to 68 for this one, given that he pitched a while without walking anyone and without giving up many runs.

Start No. 7

His first time in the winner's circle since his first Houston start, Wojo beat San Antonio again, this time in Corpus. He threw 6 innings, allowing two hits, no runs and two walks while striking out four. He threw 81 pitches and 52 of them for strikes.

Wojo had six ground ball outs in this one and four fly ball outs. He added one ground ball single, one line drive single and a line out to that mix. Three of his four strikeouts were swinging, with one foul tip out.

He equaled his game score of 70 from the first start.

Start No. 8

In his final start, Wojo put up some of his best numbers against (surprise) San Antonio on the road. He threw five innings of shutout ball, allowing just one hit and no walks with six strikeouts. He threw 65 pitches, including 49 strikes, easily his best strike percentage of the season.

He had three ground ball outs and three fly ball outs. Going through the recap, he added one ground ball single. All six strikeouts were swinging.

He continued a streak of game scores over 70 with a season-high 71.

Summary

Looking through his starts, it seems that he avoids line drives pretty well and has a pretty good skill at getting ground balls. He throws plenty of strikes, but didn't get over-worked, never topping 100 pitches with Houston. I like that, even though he's a college arm.

It's a little concerning that so much of his success came against San Antonio, but that's the problem with the Texas League and it's a small set of teams. But, next year with a full season in Corpus, we should be able to see if he can have success against other teams over a whole season.

Wojo didn't have a season to write home about, but I also don't think he's going to be another Paul Clemens, where his small sample size and peripherals don't support his success since the trade.

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