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Astros Minor League Recap: September 5, 2012

Whew! The box scores were tough to write today...only Tri-City played yesterday. Good thing there were some good performances in that game to talk about.

Not long after the draft, Jeff Luhnow named a few prospects from this years draft class as sleepers. Those three were Aaron West, Travis Ballew, and Dan Gulbransen. Definitely can't argue that the first haven't put up good numbers, because West has anchored the rotation and Ballew has been one of the better bullpen arms for Tri-City. However, Gulbransen has really struggled to translate his game to professional ball.

He's shown good plate discipline with an 11% walk rate and doesn't strike out a ton with a 17% strikeout rate, but he just doesn't have a ton of hits as he's batting just . 218. Part of that is that his BABIP is low at .244, but the other is that he hasn't been driving the ball as evidence by a 12% LD%.

Now, Dan Gulbransen is a power hitter and has some loft in his swing. He has a low GB%, low LD%, and an elevated FB%. The biggest problem right now is that he has a very high infield fly-ball percentage. So, the question is if he's swinging to the fences because he's struggling and popping up, or is there too much loft in his swing? Looking a video of his swing, I was kind of surprised to see that it's not an overly lofty swing. So, I'm going to guess it's the former.

All that is to say that he hit two home runs last night to bring him to a total of six for the season. That puts him tied for 11th in the New York-Penn League in home runs and second on the ValleyCats team behind Preston Tucker. So, the power part of his game hasn't struggled to translate, nor has his approach to the plate. It's simply driving the ball and getting balls to fall for hits. I'd say Luhnow was right in naming him a sleeper as he's shown some good peripheral stats in areas. I'm interested to see how he does if he can drive the ball more.

More tidbits! With their win last night, Tri-City set a franchise record in wins at 51! They have one more game left in the regular season, so they have a chance to break their own record.

Lancaster announced their playoff rotation which will start off with Tyson Perez and followed up by Nick Tropeano and David Martinez will be third if needed. Interesting that Tyson Perez is the front man. Trope has obviously been the best pitcher on the team since he came on board and Martinez is currently the next one in line as far as stats go, and his FIP is a very nice 4.03. Perez has a 4.87 FIP but you can say he has pitched some of the best games for Lancaster this season. Since Perez has better potential than Martinez to pitch a gem, Rodney Linares is going with him.

The Lancaster and Corpus playoff series get started tonight. CC will be on

Tri-City ValleyCats won 9-3

  • Juan Minaya-6 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 SO, 8/1 GO/AO
  • Jamaine Cotton-1 1/3 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 SO, 2/2 GO/AO
  • Blake Ford-1 2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 1/2 GO/AO
  • Joe Sclafani SS-5-5, 2 2B
  • Tyler Heineman C-2-5
  • M.P. Cokinos DH-3-4
  • Dan Gulbransen LF-2-4, 2 HR, SO, SB-Reached on a fielding error