Some things to talk about while we marvel about our minor league guys churning out a mock draft. Seriously, I thought they only did that in football...
1) Astros names organizational players of the month
Though it was announced Thursday afternoon, here's a quick rundown of Houston's organizational Players of the Month for April. I'll have some thoughts below:
Triple-A Oklahoma City
Pitcher of the Month - Jarred Cosart
Hitter of the Month - Marc Krauss
Double-A Corpus Christi
Pitcher of the Month - Asher Wojciechowski
Hitter of the Month - George Springer
High A Lancaster
Pitcher of the Month - Luis Cruz
Hitter of the Month - Nolan Fontana
Low A Quad Cities
Pitcher of the Month -Vince Velasquez
Hitter of the Month - Teoscar Hernandez
This is an interesting group, no? I don't think we can argue with anyone on this list, but it should also tell us something about who the organization is high on right now. The way Krauss has killed the ball has obviously been noticed and you've already seen a promotion happen for Asher Wojciechowski. We know Houston is high on Nolan Fontana, and his presence on this list confirms that.
It's also no surprise that Teoscar Hernandez has done well. Astros brass is pretty high on him and he could be a sleeper candidate in this somewhat deep system.
At any rate, I wonder if we'll see the Triple-A winners in Hosuton sooner rather than later. Who do you think gets called up first? Will Wojo join Cosart in the big league rotation in June?
2) Roy O unretires
Well, I guess he never REALLY retired. But, Roy Oswalt will be playing major league baseball again after he signed a minor league deal with the Colorado Rockies. He'll head to their Double-A team first before working his way back to the majors.
Here's a weird stat for ya. Oswalt has only started five career games in Coors Field. He's got a 2.25 ERA in 36 innings there with 31 strikeouts and eight walks while allowing four home runs. His last start there was in 2010 with the Astros, when he went 7 innings, allowing four hits, two runs and two walks with nine strikeouts.
Last season, Oswalt was 4-3 with a 5.80 ERA in 17 games and nine starts for the Texas Rangers. He threw 59 innings, striking out 59 and walking 11.
As someone already joked, I guess Oswalt picked up more from Clemens than just pitching habits...
3) Mark Appel scouted on Baseball Beginnings
Let's talk about confirmation bias, everyone, because I've got it in spades about Mark Appel.
I just don't like him. Didn't like him last year. Don't like him this year. I've been coming around on him, though, as so many of our esteemed draftniks around this site have convinced me his stuff is good enough to overwhelm.
Then, I read this excellent scouting piece by John Klima about Appel and go right back to assuming it's Jonathan Gray at the top of the draft for Houston. Or Clint Frazier. Or Kris Bryant. Just so long as it's not Appel with his slurvy slider:
His slider stinks. It’s basically a hard slurve, a push pitch, 85-87. You look at the gun and say, "Holy Number Nine, an 85 slider!" But, alas, the gun is a crutch, and so is Appel’s slurvy breaking ball. This is not a major league weapon. This is a thumb slider thrown by a guy who is very strong. This comes back to Appel’s natural arm action. He basically is mid ¾, which is going to make it hard for him to get on top of a slider or a curveball, because he doesn’t have the time to turn his hand over. So he’s on the side of it and pushing. You can’t give him a curveball, because he’ll have the same problem. You don’t really see this as a weakness in college, but you will in the majors, because it threatens to make him a two-pitch guy.
To be fair, Klima loves Appel's fastball and his change, saying it's even better than Michael Wacha's was last year. There's a lot to like with Appel, but I'm still not sold. Every chink in his armor makes me less sold.
So, you prospectors out there. Tell me why I'm wrong. Tell me why Appel's slider can be a big league pitch and I'll be fine with it.