Minor League Recap: June 23rd, 2013

In today's episode- Adrian Houser dominates, Correa tops .320 and Preston Tucker lofts homers number 13 and 14 in a JetHawks blowout.

A few seasons ago, the Astros had what was easily the weakest farm system in baseball. Jiovanni Mier, Jason Castro and Jordan Lyles were the only saving graces and T.J. Steele and Jonathan Gaston were seen as top 10 players. After a couple excruciating 100-loss campaigns, what feels like a dozen trades and two superb drafts under Jeff Luhnow, the Astros now sport one of the most impressive systems in the league. And, more unexpectedly, one of the more impressive stables of young arms in baseball. Michael Foltynewicz, a holdover from the Ed Wade era, has had a dominant campaign and has flashed plus-plus velocity, Lance McCullers hasn't missed a beat in his transition to pro ball, Jarred Cosart has seen his strikeout totals leap and Asher Wojciechowski has shown continued improvement while handling the adjustment to Triple-A. And lest we forget, Mark Appel's debut is sure to come in a few short days and he could represent the biggest talent of the group. Adding in the consideration of Jordan Lyles's consistent improvement, it has been an excellent year for young Astros arms. We repeat it time and time again, but it still rings true- help is on the way.

McCullers Quiets Kane County, Correa Cracks .320

Lance McCullers has been incredibly impressive all season, but Sunday's start was a high point. Facing one of the most talented lineups in the low minors, featuring Albert Almora, Dan Vogelbach, Jeimer Candelario and the big power of Rock Shoulders, McCullers fired five shutout frames allowing a single hit to Reggie Golden in his final inning of work and walking two between his seven strikeouts. The performance dipped the 2012 41st overall pick's ERA below 2.00 again to 1.92, and the seven whiffs brought his season total to 75. He is still yet to allow a home run this season. On the other side of the ball, Teoscar Hernandez and Carlos Correa added three hits apiece and Rio Ruiz recorded two and swiped a bag. Correa's three singles brought his season average to a sterling .321, and his days of flirting with the Mendoza line are far, far in the rear view mirror.

Houser Rebounds, Gregor Flashes Discipline as ValleyCats Win

Though he's been very up and down since being a second-round pick two years ago, Adrian Houser is still just 20 years old and among the younger players in the NYPL this season. Coming off of a disastrous season debut, Houser found his groove on Sunday and whiffed six in five shutout innings, allowing just four baserunners while taking a no-decision. Houser was topped by fellow former second-rounder Tanner Bushue, who has erupted out of the gates with the ValleyCats after two rough, injury plagued seasons, followed Houser with four perfect innings and six strikeouts to put his ERA on the young short season at 2.16. On offense, Dan Gulbransen recorded two hits, Tony Kemp walked and stole a base, and Conrad Gregor singled and registered two free passes while hitting out of the 3-hole.

Tucker, Aplin Lead JetHawks Blowout vs. Rancho Cucamonga

Lancaster is always capable of producing video game box scores, and Sunday was a definite example of that. Preston Tucker, who has battled back from a plodding start to bring his average all the way to .324, was the offensive star with two of the JetHawks' four home runs, driving in six. Breakout player M.P. Cokinos kept things rolling with a double and two walks to raise his batting average to .333, and Andrew Aplin reached base four times in the victory. Jonas Dufek earned the win with a strong two inning performance, and Aussie Cameron Lamb recorded four outs in relief to lower his Lancaster ERA to 1.93.

Springer Bids AA Adieu with Homer #19, Folty Posts More Goose Eggs

Polarizing prospect George Springer has continued his free swinging attack on Double-A pitching this season, and yesterday it was announced that he was on his way to Oklahoma City where he's sure to be pounding on the door to the big leagues in short order. In his AA farewell performance, he turned in a classic George Springer performance- lofting his 19th home run of the season while striking out three times in five plate appearances, helping Michael Foltynewicz, who through three frames allowing just one unearned run, earn a W.

Notable Lines

Greeneville (Rk.)

Bobby Borchering- 0 for 3, BB

Ariel Ovando- 0 for 4, K

Frederick Tiburcio- 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K

Krishawn Holley- 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K

Tri-City (SS)

Tony Kemp- 0 for 4, BB, K, SB

Conrad Gregor- 1 for 3, 2 BB

Dan Gulbransen- 2 for 5, SB

Jon Kemmer- 1 for 5, 3 K

Adrian Houser- 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K

Tanner Bushue- 4 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K

Quad Cities (A)

Teoscar Hernandez- 3 for 5, HR, CS

Carlos Correa- 3 for 5

Rio Ruiz- 2 for 5, K, SB

Brett Phillips- 1 for 4, K

Lance McCullers- 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K

Daniel Minor- 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K

Lancaster (A+)

Andrew Aplin- 3 for 4, BB

M.P. Cokinos- 1 for 2, 2B, 2 BB

Preston Tucker- 2 for 4, 2 HR

Tyler Heineman- 2 for 4, CS

Matt Duffy- 1 for 4, K

Chris Devenski- 4 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 3 K

Jonas Dufek- 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K

Cameron Lamb- 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K

Corpus Christi (AA)

Rene Garcia- 3 for 5

George Springer- 1 for 5, HR, 3 K

Jonathan Meyer- 2 for 5, 2B

David Martinez- 3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K

Michael Foltynewicz- 3 IP, 5 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 1 K

Oklahoma City (AAA)

Jonathan Villar- 1 for 5, 2B, K

Brett Wallace- 1 for 8, 3 K

Brandon Laird- 2 for 8, 2B, HR, 2 K

Jonathan Singleton- 1 for 5, 3 BB, K

Brady Rodgers- 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 4 K

Brad Peacock- 6 IP, 7 H, 5 R (2 ER), 6 BB, 1 K, 1 HRA

Kevin Chapman- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K

Jason Stoffel- 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K

Josh Zeid, 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K

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