Astros Minor League Recap: 6/27/13: Centerfielders Do Good Stuff, and a No-Hitter (Kind Of)

Scott Halleran

A couple of upper level debuts, six hitless innings and some raking by the system's centerfielders

What if I told you three centerfield prospects had three hit games yesterday?

What if I told you George Springer wasn't one of them? The day on the farm was one not lacking in excitement, though the usual suspects didn't make the most noise. Springer made his AAA debut, while Preston Tucker had his second start at AA and collected his first hit and RBI. But the system's centerfield prospects stole the show. Andrew Aplin (Lancaster), James Ramsay (Tri-City) and Jason Martin (GCL) went a combined 9 for 13 with 5 RBI and a homer off the bat of Ramsay.

Aplin and Ramsay are very similar players, drafted a year apart from each other. They're among the best defensive centerfielders in the system; that's really their best tool, though they've both hit very well at the start of their professional careers. In his first full season at Lancaster, Aplin is slashing .383/.433/.816, showing a good amount of power to go along with his defense. Ramsay, of course, is in the midst of the first few weeks of his career, so his is obviously a very small sample size, but he did hit his second homer in as many games last night. Power wasn't really part of his game in college; he only hit three home runs this spring and eight for his career, though he slugged .449 in 2013. He was able to find some gaps and collect extra-base hits, but maybe the wooden bats are helping him hit for more home run power now.

I expect Aplin to be promoted to AA soon, especially considering there's a void there with Springer in Oklahoma City. Ramsay will finish the year at Tri-City, but I could see him following Aplin's lead to Lancaster to start 2014 with a good performance in High A ball. Jason Martin is the other centerfielder who had a very nice game yesterday, with three hits and two runs scored. Though SSS takes effect here as well, it's nice to see Martin off to a decent start to pro ball.

Not to be outdone by the centerfielders, Jandel Gustave tossed six no-hit innings last night, striking out seven. He's struck out 12 in 11 innings so far, and is very young so he's an early frontrunner for the Michael Feliz Award, presented to the international pitcher who has a breakout campaign. Yes, I made that award up. On to the recap!

Oklahoma City (AAA): Loss, 5-2

Future Middle of the Order Doesn't Look Very Future-y

I'm not panicking but Springer and Singleton dropped a dud last night, going a combined 0-8 with 6 K's. Something that caught my eye was last night's batting order for the Redhawks. Singleton hit cleanup, with Springer behind him at the 5 spot. I know Tony Defrancesco communicates with the front office frequently, so I wonder if he decided on where to hit Springer or if the FO had some input. It's not a big deal if Springer hits low for his first few games, but I'd like to see him in the 2 hole or hitting third ideally.

Robbie Grossman: 0-4, 2 K's

Jonathan Villar: 2-4, 2 K's

Jimmy Paredes: 1-4. 1 HR (5th of the year), 1 RBI

George Springer: 0-4, 3 K's

Jonathan Singletion: 0-4, 3 K's

Brandon Laird: 2-3, 2B, RBI

Carlos Perez: 1-2, RBI, BB

Asher Wojciechowski: 5 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 5 K's, 2 HR allowed

Corpus Christi (AA): Loss, 6-5

Though the big story in Corpus is Preston Tucker's debut, Kyle Hallock was pretty impressive in his first AA start, allowing just one hit in 5.1 innings of work. I'm only going to say this once for fear of being ridiculed, but Jonathan Meyer...he's quietly having a pretty nice season for himself. He's slugging .429 for the season and has a .991 OPS in his last ten games.

Max Stassi: 3-5, 2 K's

Erik Castro: 0-4

Jonathan Meyer: 2-4, 2 2B, RBI (46), BB, K

Preston Tucker: 1-4, RBI, BB, K

Zach Johnson: 2-5, 2B, RBI

Michael Burgess: 1-3, HR (11th), 2 RBI (34), 2 BB

Kyle Hallock: 5 IP, 1 H, 4 BB, 2 K's

Lancaster (A+): Loss, 12-6

The starting pitching got shelled, but there were a few bright spots from the middle of the order. Andrew Aplin, M.P. Cokinos and Joe Sclafani continued their production for the Jethawks, driving in five runs. Sclafani hit his fourth homer and Nolan Fontana added a double and a walk.

Delino Deshieids: 0-4, BB, K, CS

Nolan Fontana: 1-4, 2B

Andrew Aplin: 3-3, 2 R, 2 RBI (54), BB

MP Cokinos: 3-5, 2B

Joe Sclafani: 1-3, HR (4th), 3 RBI (26)

Brady Rogers: 2.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 0 BB, 0 K

Quad Cities (A): Loss, 5-4

It was a pretty quiet loss for Quad Cities, at least on paper. Carlos Correa collected two more hits and Robert Pena hit homer. Teoscar Hernandez upped his average to .265 and added a triple.

Teoscar Hernandez: 1-4. 3B (5th), RBI (30th)

Carlos Correa: 2-4 (hitting .322)

Roberto Pena: 1-4, HR (3), RBI (19)

Rio Ruiz: 0-3, BB, R

Jamaine Cotton: 3.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 1 K

Colton Cain: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's

Tri-City (Short-Season A): Win, 9-4

As mentioned above, James Ramsay had himself a great game with three hits and his second homer of the season, but he wasn't the only player making noise on offense. Dan Gulbransen and Ronnie Mitchell each had three hits as well, and Kevin Comer threw four innings of one-run ball to finish the game as the second man in the tandem rotation with Evan Grills.

Tony Kemp: 1-5

James Ramsay: 3-5, HR (2nd), 2 RBI (6)

Conrad Gregor: 2-3, 2 BB, 3 R

Dan Gulbransen: 3-5, 3 R, RBI (9)

Ronnie MItchell: 3-4, BB, 2B, 3 RBI (9)

Evan Grills: 5 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 2 K's

Kevin Comer: 4 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 K

Greeneville (Rookie): Win, 8-0

Jandel Gustave and the pitchers stole the show in this one. Gustave threw his six no-hit innings, and Sebastian Kessay and J.D. Osborne followed with three scoreless innings. All told, the Greeneville pitchers allowed two hits, walked three and struck out 14 on the night.

Tanner Mathis: 1-2, RBI, 2 BB

Juan Santana: 1-4, 2 RBI (5)

Darwin Rivera: 1-5, HR (2)

Bobby Borchering: 1-3, BB, K

Ariel Ovando: 0-3, BB, 2 K's

Alfredo Gonzalez: 3-4, 2 R, 2B, 2 RBI

Jandel Gustave: 6 IP, 0 H, 3 BB, 7 K

GCL (Rookie): Loss, 5-4

The Astros outhit the GCL Yankees and stole four bases, but still couldn't beat the Yankees. Jason Martin, Alex Gonzalez and Javaris Reynolds had multi-hit games and Tyler White had two RBI.

Jason Martin: 3-5, 2 R, RBI

Alfredo Gonzalez: 2-5, 2B

Tyler White: 1-3, 2 RBI

Jacob Nottingham: 0-4, K

Javaris Reynolds: 2-4, R, 2 SB

Agapito Barrios: 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 6 K's


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