July All-Prospect Team
The first thing I'm going to talk about is the July version of Baseball America's monthly "All-Prospect Team." Three Astros prospects made the list - Max Stassi, Delino DeShields, and George Springer. More on Springer later. Stassi was also awarded the Texas League's Offensive Player of the Week award.
Smilin' Max Stassi
Max Stassi, the TOPPS Texas League Player of the Month, has earned quite a few accolades for his play this season. The least-heralded part of the Jed Lowrie trade, he's making believers of a lot of people. Matt Rogers compares him to Todd Greene and former University of Houston pitcher Jimmie Cherry.
More Tools Than a Home Depot Warehouse
In the Midwest League, Lance McCullers Jr. walked away with "Best Breaking Pitch," while Carlos Correa got both "Best Defensive SS" and "Best Infield Arm."
In the California League, no surprise, Nolan Fontana was awarded "Best Strike-Zone Judgement."
In the Texas League, it was all George Springer, all the time. "Best Batting Prospect," "Best Power Prospect," "Best Defensive Outfielder," and "Most Exciting Player." Mike Foltynewicz grabbed "Best Pitching Prospect," "Best Fastball," and "Best Breaking Pitch." David Martinez got "Best Control." And Jonathan Meyer was awarded "Best Defensive 3B" and "Best Infield Arm."
In the Pacific Coast League, Jonathan Villar walked away with "Best Defensive SS" and "Best Infield Arm" (that's becoming a theme.) Che-Hsuan Lin (!) won "Best Outfield Arm." And George Springer won "Most Exciting Player."
Sound familiar? That's right. George Springer is the most exciting prospect in two different minor leagues!
Is it just me, or is this mental countdown to Springer's debut really fun? Within a month, the Astros will unleash this Manbeast on the baseball world. It's been fun to watch Robbie Grossman and Jonathan Villar make their debuts. Jarred Cosart has given us a glimpse of a future full of competitive ballgames. But the George Springer era, for better or worse, is going to change everything. Right?
Not So Fast, My Friends
It's something I talk about a lot: Taking prospects for granted. As much as we like to dream on Delino DeShields,Mark Appel, Mike Foltynewicz, Carlos Correa, and the rest of our top prospects, history has taught us that we'd be very lucky if three of them became very good major leaguers. The bust rates on prospects - even on top prospects - is higher than a lot of people realize. That's why building the depth that we have in the minors is such a good thing. It creates a lot more options.
One of the first "can't-miss" prospects I remember ever hearing about was a guy named Andy Marte. Marte was a corner infielder in the Braves - and later the Indians - system. And he's one of the focuses of an excellent article that Matthew Kory wrote about "can't-miss" prospects.
In the end, we missed on Marte, but we didn't miss anything particularly massive. It seems to be a bunch of small things that either didn't develop, never improved or even got worse. But that's all in retrospect. It's much harder to look at the 20-year-old Marte and say, that guy won't ever amount to anything. Even if you downgrade the hype, at the time he still looked very good. He still looked like an above-average major leaguer.
The whole article is worth a read for any prospect hound. Matthew is an exceptional writer, and I'm thrilled to link to him in this article.
I don't say this as a way of dampening your Springer Fever. I think you should embrace it. Feel it. Love it. But remember that even the can't-missiest prospect in the world can, in fact, miss.
Is George Springer one of the top hitters you've worked with?
The closest person I've come across in all my years is Andruw Jones. Springer is still just a puppy. He's had a good career up until now. He's just now starting to tap into his potential. He's a five-tool guy with a lot of talent. The best thing I like about him is his mentality, how he goes about things. He doesn't ever get too frustrated. He understands what he needs to do. What little, simple suggestions I give him he looks at me like, ‘Don't worry coach, I've got it.' He picks up on things pretty easy. He has an impressive overall package, a really bright future.
What Happened Was...
Oklahoma City RedHawks (AAA) - The RedHawks were cruising along against the Colorado Springs Sky Sox (COL) on a strong start by Paul Clemens, who allowed just two hits and no walks through five shutout innings before handing the ball off to Philip Humber, who did what he's done so often this year. After pitching a clean frame with no baserunners, Humber took the mound for the seventh inning and promptly gave up a home run to Reid Brignac. He struck out Ryan Wheeler, and then proceeded to allow two more runs on a walk, a double, and a single before Alex Sogard came in to finish the inning - but the RedHawks offense had collected six runs of their own in the third inning off of starter Collin McHugh, and the rest of the bullpen hung on to win, 6-3. The RedHawks now own a club-record 12-game winning streak - one in every single game of their homestand. They have a day off before they hit the road to face jsams' hometown Las Vegas 51s (NYM).
Oklahoma City: 68-50, 1st - Pacific Coast League American Southern
- LF Trevor Crowe - 2/4, 2B, R
- DH Jimmy Paredes - 1/4, 2B, R, RBI, K
- CF George Springer - 0/3, R, RBI, K
- 3B Brandon Laird - 1/4, 2B, R, 2 RBI, 2 K
- SS Marwin Gonzalez - 1/4, 2B, K
- 1B Jonathan Singleton - 0/2, R, 2 BB
- 2B Jose Martinez - 3/4, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI
- RHP Paul Clemens - 5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
- RHP Philip Humber - 1.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
- SS Ronald Torreyes - 1/5, 2B, 3 RBI, K (!)
- RF/LF Preston Tucker - 1/5, HR, R, RBI, 3 K
- C Max Stassi - 1/4, HR, R, RBI, K
- CF/RF Domingo Santana - 1/2, 2B, R, BB, HBP, SB
- 3B Jonathan Meyer - 2/3, 2 R, BB, K
- DH Matt Duffy - 2/4, R, RBI, K
- RHP David Martinez - 8.1 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 7 K
- 2B Delino DeShields - 0/4, RBI
- SS Nolan Fontana - 0/4, 0 BB (!), 2 K
- CF Andrew Aplin - 0/3, BB, SB
- 1B Jesse Wierzbicki - 2/4
- LF Dan Gulbransen - 2/4, 2B, 2 K, E
- 3B Joe Sclafani - 1/4, 2B
- RF Chris Epps - 0/3, 2 K
- LHP Luis Cruz - 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 2 HBP
- RHP Jordan Jankowski - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
- 2B Tony Kemp - 0/4, 2 K, E
- SS Carlos Correa - 2/4, 2 2B, R, RBI, CS
- 1B Bobby Borchering - 1/4, HR, R, 2 RBI, K
- C Roberto Pena - 2/4, 2 2B, 2 R
- DH Brian Blasik - 2/3, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI
- RHP Mark Appel - 5.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
- RHP Patrick Christensen - 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K
- LHP Mitchell Lambson - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
- LF D'Andre Toney - 1/4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB, K, SB
- CF James Ramsay - 2/5, 2B
- 1B Conrad Gregor - 3/4, 2B, 2 R, K
- DH Michael Martinez - 3/4, 2B, 2 R, RBI, HBP
- RF Ronnie Mitchell - 2/3, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB, E
- RHP Kevin Comer - 3.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
- LHP Randall Fant - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
- LHP Evan Grills - 4.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K
- RHP Tyler Brunnemann - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
- CF Marc Wik - 1/3, BB
- 1B Chase McDonald - 1/4, 2 K
- C Brian Holberton - 2/3, 2B, HR, R, 2 RBI, SB
- RHP Edison Frias - 5.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, WP
- RHP Chris Munnelly - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
- RHP Raul Rivera - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
- RHP Gonzalo Sanudo - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
- DH Jean Batista - 2/4, RBI, BB, K
- 1B Yonathan Mejia - 2/5, K
- 3B Jose Solano - 3/4, 2 R, SB
- RF Ydarqui Marte - 2/3, 2 RBI, BB, CS, E
- RHP Luis Ordosgoitti (I've nailed Wojciechowski and Foltynewicz... this one I may never get) - 3.2 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
- RHP Joe Musgrove - 3.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, WP
- DH Randy Cesar - 3/4, R, RBI
- 1B Hector Roa - 1/4, HR, R, RBI
- RHP Harold Arauz - 5.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K