George Springer is very fast. George Springer can hit baseballs long distances. George Springer is hitting .300 in AA, is a plus center fielder, and is in just his second professional season. Yet, George Springer is not universally considered a top 50 prospect. It's easy for Astros fans to look at this as an injustice, but it's important to recognize our prospects for what they are, and in Springer's case, there are imperfections that hold him back from elite status.
Springer is a supreme baseball athlete. His physical skillset is matched by few, if any at the minor league level. Not only is he highly athletic, his traits translate immediately to the diamond and he possesses four tools that grade out at above-average or better at the major league level. However, his contact rates continue to be worrisome at best, and hitting the baseball with consistency is arguably the most important trait a position player can possess. So, as Springer continues to swipe bags and put balls into the seats, making it difficult to keep expectations in check, Astros fans have to appreciate him for what he is- a Curtis Granderson or a Chris Young, not a Matt Kemp or Carlos Gonzalez.
Holmes, Jankowski Baffle Loons, River Bandits Win 6-1
Brian Holmes was a player I tabbed as a possible fast riser given his polish and solid average stuff, but he has struggled to get out of the gates this season. On Monday, he found his groove. Tasked with tossing the first five frames of Quad Cities' contest against Great Lakes, Holmes rose to the occasion and struck out ten while allowing just one unearned run and four baserunners to lower his season ERA to a workable 5.40. Another potential sleeper, Jordan Jankowski followed Holmes and finished out the game with four clean innings and was rewarded with a nontraditional save as the bats of Teoscar Hernandez and Joe Sclafani, who had two hits each, lifted the Bandits to their 14th victory of the young season.
Springer Lone Bright Spot as Hooks Fall in Frisco
Corpus Christi's club has mirrored the big league team all season- the team has a glut of mediocre pitching highlighted by a couple of star arms in Nick Tropeano and Asher Wojciechowski, and the squad's hitters have shown the ability to go either boom or bust, with big time power but equally big time strike out tendencies. On Monday, things fell closer to the bust end of the spectrum. Though George Springer sparked the offense early with a 3rd inning two-run homer, he and the rest of the lineup combined to fan ten times as the Hooks fell, 4-2.
Unlikely Hero Hallock Gets the W for the RedHawks against Nashville
Last year, Kyle Hallock opened the season with Lexington with the hopes to rise quickly after a highly successful debut in the NYPL in 2011. Seen as extremely polished, Hallock was expected to breeze through the low minors with his command and diverse arsenal. However, he struggled with injuries and ineffectiveness and failed to move up the ladder. This season, he made a brief appearance in Quad Cities before leaping all the way to Oklahoma City, where he has had mixed results but has impressed given the circumstances. Monday was probably his best day yet as a RedHawk, as he posted four and one third shutout frames in relief of Ross Seaton and earned the win. Trevor Crowe reached base five times and hit a home run as the offensive star, and Jonathan Villar added three more hits to raise his average all the way up to .290. Jake Elmore also added a home run in the victory.
Quad Cities River Bandits (A)
Teoscar Hernandez- 2 for 4, K
Jobduan Morales- 1 for 3, K
Jordan Scott- 1 for 2, BB, K, SB
Brian Holmes- 5 IP, 2 H, 1 R (0 ER), 2 BB, 10 K
Jordan Jankowski- 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K
Corpus Christi Hooks (AA)
George Springer- 1 for 4, HR, K
Domingo Santana- 2 for 4, 2B, K
Michael Burgess- 2 for 4, OF assist
Jiovanni Mier- 0 for 3, 2 K (hitting .169)
Matt Heidenreich- 4 IP, 4 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 2 K
Ruben Alaniz- 3 IP, 3 H, 2 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 2 K
Oklahoma City RedHawks (AAA)
Trevor Crowe- 3 for 3, HR, 2 BB, 3 SB, E
Jake Elmore- 2 for 4, 3B, HR, BB, SB
Jimmy Paredes- 2 for 5, 3B
Marc Krauss- 1 for 4, 3B, BB, K
Brett Wallace- 2 for 5, 2 K
Jonathan Villar- 3 for 4, 3B, BB, SB
Ross Seaton- 1.2 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 3 BB, 2 K (ERA now at 11.57)
Kyle Hallock- 4.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 0 K
Jose Valdez- 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, SV