Astros Minor League Recap (8/21): Talkin' Carlos Rodon, George Springer and Lance McCullers

USA TODAY Sports

Recapping the night in Astros Minor League Baseball, and some early 2014 MLB Draft talk.

With the Minor League season is winding down, and the Astros all but locking up their third consecutive number one pick, I think now is a great time to have some preliminary draft discussions.

We briefly discussed who would currently rank second on our individual boards – behind Rodon – in the Crawfish Boxes Google group, and there were a handful of different answers. The 2014 class is good, and of all three years the Astros will have selected first, this is easily the best group of guys they'll have to chose from. (Not to mention two more top 40ish picks).

One of my favorite draft writers published a free Top 50 this week. In his column, he explains that he would have selected either of his top two players ahead of Mark Appel – the consensus top pick – last year. Here's a snapshot of his Top 5:

1. Carlos Rodon, LHP, North Carolina State

Isn't without his faults but flashes 70 fastball and slider on 20-80 scouting scale with improved changeup that's above average at times.

2. Jeff Hoffman, RHP, East Carolina

Went from solid first round arm to legitimate 1-1 threat with dominating 24.1 IP on Cape reminiscent of Adam Wainwright.

3. Tyler Kolek, RHP, Shepherd HS (TX), No college commitment

Massive 6'5/240 righty hit a few 99s on my gun with a plus curveball and is still growing into his frame.

4. Trea Turner, SS, North Carolina State

Had a tough summer battling an ankle injury but has had two super productive springs with 80 speed as the calling card.

5. Alex Jackson, C/RF, Rancho Bernardo HS (CA), Oregon commit

Projects as a plus hitter with plus power and arm; likely moves to right field but has a chance to play behind the plate with some work.

Jeff Hoffman is having himself a summer like Sean Manaea had last season. Kolek is built like Jonathan Gray, and like Gray, has a monster fastball. Turner could easily push his way into the 1-1 discussion because of his plus-plus speed, makeup and position. Jake Gatewood is another guy I could see creeping into the Top 5.

I've been driving the Rodon train for a while now, but there's still a long ways until the draft, and the possibility that he doesn't hear his name called first in June is real. Rodon v. Hoffman is going to be an epic battle to watch this season – similar to a Luck/RG3 situation – and the Astros will just sit there, licking their chops.

Maybe we can get some preliminary draft discussion going on this off-day. Anyway, on to the night in MiLB baseball ...

Oklahoma City (76-56): Won, 4-2

The Redhawks won their sixth consecutive game on Wednesday, behind a solid pitching performance from recently-called-up Ross Seaton.

Sadly, despite our best efforts, George Springer did not win the fan portion part of the USA Today Minor League Player of the Year Vote. Whatever. Springer has clearly been the best prospect in the Minors in 2013, and he's beyond ready for the Majors. Being the Minors first modern day 40/40 player is still within reach. The best part: his < 19% K rate in the month of August, to go along with his > 19% BB rate. #FutureFaceoftheFranchise

PS Remember when Mark Appel complained on Twitter about signing authographs after the game?

--

For as good as Springer has been in OKC, Jon Singleton has been just as bad. He's had good stretches here and there, but slashing .211/.337/.352, with a 32% K rate just isn't going to cut it. His season obviously got off to a horrible start – lucky for him, he's still only 21 years old. Might as well chalk this up as a lost season – It better not bleed into 2014.
  • George Springer - 0-2, 2 BB
  • Jonathan Singleton - 1-4, 2B, K
  • Jimmy Paredes - 1-3, HR, BB
  • Rene Garcia - 3-4, K, CS
  • Mark Krauss - 0-2, 2 BB
  • Ross Seaton - 5.2 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 7/4 GO/AO
  • Eric Berger - 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
  • Jorge De Leon - 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K

Corpus Christi (77-51): Won, 3-1

The Hooks won their third straight game behind a solid start from Luis Cruz. Now that Springer, Singleton and Stassi have all passed through Corpus – and Domingo Santana is injured – their lineup is beginning to look pretty bleak. Expect some low scoring games from them, as the season concludes.

  • Preston Tucker - 2-3, 2 2B, BB
  • Raoul Torrez - 2-3, 2B, CS
  • Drew Muren - 2-3, 2B, 3B
  • Luis Cruz - 6 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K , 8/4 GO/AO
  • Andrew Robinson - 2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K

Lancaster (74-54): Lost 4-3

  • Nolan Fontana - 0-4
  • Tyler Heineman - 2-4, K
  • MP Cokinos - 3-4
  • Brandon Meredith - 1-3, BB, SB
  • Joe Sclafani - 1-4, SB
  • Aaron West - 5 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 3/5 GO/AO
  • Kenny Long - 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K

Quad Cities (71-55): Lost, 6-1

It appears Lance McCullers has been shut down for the season after 104 IP, and I'm all for it. The 19-year-old is one of the more exciting prospects in the system, but he clearly hit a wall during his first professional season. Maybe this was the 'stros plan all along, or maybe they saw something in his last start, where he lasted four innings, walking four and striking out only two.

In 16 games prior to his ASB, McCullers had a sterling 2.08 ERA, with a 68/26 K/BB ratio in 60 IP. He also induced 2.34 GO for every AO. The nine games following, his ERA ballooned to 4.70, while his GO/AO ratio dropped to 1.62. His walks also went up (23 in 44 IP). Let's make sure he's ready for Lancaster (?) next season.
  • Teoscar Hernandez - 1-4, 2 K
  • Tony Kemp - 1-4, K
  • Danry Vasquez - 1-3, K, ASSIST
  • Carlos Correa - 0-4, K
  • Rio Ruiz - 2-4, 2B, 2 K
  • Jobduan Morales - 2-2
  • Daniel Minor - 3.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 5/3 GO/AO
  • Richard Rodriguez - 3 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K

Tri-City (37-25): Won, 3-2

  • D'Andre Toney - 1-3, 2B, BB, 2 SB
  • James Ramsay - 2-6, BB, K
  • Conrad Gregor - 1-6, BB, SB
  • Tyler White - 2-6, HR, BB, K
  • Ronnie Mitchell - 1-5, 2B, 2 BB, K, CS
  • Brett Booth - 2-4, 2 BB, K
  • Michael Feliz - 6 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 6/4 GO/AO
  • JD Osbourne - 1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
  • Gonzalo Sanudo - 1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

Greenville (34-25): OFF

GCL Astros (24-29): Lost, 6-7

  • Jason Martin - 0-2, BB, K, CS
  • Jean Bautista - 0-2, K
  • Yonathan Mejia - 1-4, 2 K
  • Luis Reynoso - 1-4, ERROR
  • Jacob Nottingham - 1-3, BB
  • Jose Fernandez (not that one) - 2-4, HR
  • Mesac Laguna - 1-4, HR, 3 K
  • Reymin Guduan - 3.2 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 3/2 GO/AO
  • Juan Santos - 3.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 3/3 GO/AO

DSL Astros (33-29): Won, 4-2

  • Luis Payano - 1-4, K
  • Kristian Trompiz - 0-4, BB, K
  • Arturo Michelena - 2-5, 2B, 2 K, CS, ERROR
  • Randy Ceasr - 3-4, BB
  • Brauly Mejia - 2-4, BB, K
  • Starlyng Sanchez - 5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 7/4 GO/AO
*BOLD indicates Top Prospect*

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