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Houston Astros Minor League Recap: 5/14/13

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Asher Wojciechowski extends into the sixth inning with a 91-pitch outing, Carlos Correa and George Springer have multi-hit days, and Brett Oberholtzer wins a major award.

First Things First

I took a look at several statistics for Astros farmhands, and compared them to the league average rates to see who the best performers have been so far this year, in comparison to their league averages (which age-corrects the numbers to a reasonable degree.)

I should note that players were eligible at any level where they had 50 PAs (and averages were based only on players in the league with 50 PAs, as well), so if they've been promoted/demoted, they may be listed in more than one league.

One of the first guys to jump out is Joe Sclafani. Sclafani isn't a highly-touted prospect around these parts, but maybe he should be. He's managing to out-Fontana Nolan Fontana, after all, with a higher walk rate relative to league, strikeout rate relative to league, and BB/K relative to league.

I'm going to say it one more time, you guys. I'm not sure we've been paying enough attention to Joe Sclafani. I've only seen him in one game since he got promoted to Lancaster, but he's as smart a ballplayer as his Dartmouth degree suggests. He's sneaky fast, he's got a really good eye at the plate, and he makes good contact. He's never going to be a power hitter (1 professional home run in his career, and only 11 as a four-year starter at Dartmouth,) but he's another Nolan Fontana type to keep an eye on.

Less of a surprise, perhaps, is George Springer's power. We knew he had it, after all. But maybe we didn't realize quite how well he compares to the rest of the Texas League. In fact, did you realize that only one player - Xavier Scruggs - in the entire league has at least 50 plate appearances and a higher ISO than Springer? Scruggs is also two years older than Springer.

BB% vs. League

Joe Sclafani A +11.70%
Nolan Fontana A+ +10.53%
Ryan Dineen A +9.60%
Robbie Grossman AAA +9.39%
Carlos Correa A +8.50%
Marc Krauss AAA +6.59%
Rio Ruiz A +6.20%
Jordan Scott A +6.20%
Domingo Santana AA +5.80%
Che-Hsuan Lin AAA +5.39%
Telvin Nash A+ +5.33%
Austin Wates AA +5.32%
Andrew Aplin A+ +5.03%

K% vs. League

M.P. Cokinos A+ -15.53%
Ben Orloff AA -14.56%
Andrew Aplin A+ -14.43%
Tyler Heineman A+ -13.03%
Carlos Perdomo A+ -12.23%
Joe Sclafani A -11.68%
Ryan McCurdy A+ -9.13%
Jake Elmore AAA -7.23%
Enrique Hernandez AA -6.76%
Che-Hsuan Lin AAA -6.63%
Trevor Crowe AAA -6.33%

BB/K vs. League

Joe Sclafani A +1.89
Andrew Aplin A+ +1.37
Ben Orloff AA +1.34
M.P. Cokinos A+ +0.69
Nolan Fontana A+ +0.65
Che-Hsuan Lin AAA +0.62
Tyler Heineman A+ +0.52
Carlos Perdomo A+ +0.52
Ryan Dineen A +0.46
Trevor Crowe AAA +0.42

ISO vs. League

George Springer AA +0.229
Domingo Santana AA +0.162
Brett Wallace AAA +0.120
Marc Krauss AAA +0.115
Telvin Nash A+ +0.091
Matt Duffy A+ +0.091
Zachary Johnson A+ +0.090
Drew Muren A+ +0.085
Jimmy Paredes AAA +0.066
Jesse Wierzbicki A +0.059

For the pitchers, I set a threshold of 20 innings pitched, which unfortunately eliminated Josh Zeid, whose 34.8% strikeout rate has come over just 17 innings.

K% vs. League

Vincent Velasquez A +12.10%
Asher Wojciechowski AA +7.30%
Jarred Cosart AAA +7.25%
Brian Holmes A +6.80%
Lance McCullers A +6.60%

BB% vs. League

Jake Buchanan AA -5.85%
Aaron West A+ -5.75%
Joe Bircher A -4.84%
Daniel Minor A -4.54%
David Rollins A+ -3.95%

WHIP vs. League

Jake Buchanan AA -0.69
Wes Musick AAA -0.43
Asher Wojciechowksi AA -0.35
Joe Bircher A -0.31
Jarred Cosart AAA -0.31
David Martinez AA -0.30

FIP vs. League

Aaron West A+ -1.40
Asher Wojciechowski AA -1.34
Lance McCullers A -1.31
Vincent Velasquez A -1.27
Jordan Lyles AAA -1.27

Springer Dinger

Remember I told you George Springer has a lot of power? Remember how you didn't believe me and you were all, "Nuh uhhh, blee blee bloo bloo blah blah"? You remember? Well, check this out and tell me I'm wrong!

Oh! berholtzer!

The Tacoma Rainiers (SEA) are pretty good, but Brett Oberholtzer is pretty good-er, and he held Tacoma to a single hit and no runs, striking out 9 walking two. That's what got him named Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week, so congrats, Oberholtzer!

Perfect Ten

Prior to yesterday's game, Bobby Doran and David Martinez were both 5-0 for the Corpus Christi Hooks. Now, that is significant because before this year, no pitcher has ever started the season 5-0 for the Corpus Christi Hooks. This year, two of them have. Of course, Doran is aided by the fact that his piggyback rotation mate is Nick Tropeano, who is something of a monster. On the back end of the tandem, Tropeano has only allowed a single run all year. That is... before yesterday...

Magnetic Fields

Josh Fields' Rehab Road Trip® hits Corpus Christi this week. Fields, of course, is best known for his electric 0.00 ERA as a major league baseball player, as well as his kind-of-a-head-scratcher 0.01 FIP and his ridiculous career 13.50 K/9... all as a major leaguer. He's also never issued a walk in his entire career, which spans not one but two thirds of an inning! Better get your tickets now, Hooks fans, because he won't be there long. Soon, he'll be back in the majors in search of his third third of an inning.

Make it a Baker's Dozen

Because of the flurry of rainouts and flooding earlier this season, the Quad Cities River Bandits are in the middle of a 13-games-in-11-days stretch. Which, I mean let's be honest here, is absolutely insane. After doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday, they play a game a day until May 21st, which is a week away. Then they have a modest 14 games in 13 days. In total, in case you're counting, that's a 25-day stretch in which they will play 27 games. After that, a day off on June 4th, then 13 more games in 12 days before the Midwest League All-Star Break. There's something to be said, I guess, for youthful energy. But this seems a bit extreme.

What Happened Was... (with a tip of the hat to Nashmeister)

Oklahoma City RedHawks (AAA) - Look, let's just cut to the chase here. You all want to know the same thing, so I'm just going to go ahead and confirm it. Yes, Brett Wallace scored the game-winning run. The man is basically unstoppable. Seriously. I challenge you to go to where Brett Wallace is right now and stop him. You can't do it. Especially when the bases are loaded with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, tied 2-2, and you're Austin Wates. Because in a case like that, why, you'd be the one who hit the walk-off single to score Wallace and win the game, 3-2, over the Salt Lake Bees (LAA). Oh... and Jose Valdez earned the win, and now stands at 3-0 with a 1.96 ERA and 9 saves. Just, you know. FYI.

Oklahoma City: 23-15, 1st Pacific Coast League American Southern

  • SS Jonathan Villar - 0/4, K, E
  • 1B Brett Wallace - 1/4, R, K
  • LF Marc Krauss - 1/3, 2B, R, BB, K, CS
  • CF Che-Hsuan Lin - 2/3, 3B, RBI, K, HBP, CS
  • RF Austin Wates - 1/4, R, RBI, K
  • C Jason Jaramillo - 1/2, 3B, RBI, BB
  • RHP Asher Wojciechowski - 5.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 1 IBB, 3 K, 91/51
  • RHP Jason Stoffel - 0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 15/7
  • LHP Kevin Chapman - 1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 15/9
  • RHP Jose Valdez - 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 18/9

Corpus Christi Hooks (AA) - Well, that escalated quickly. The San Antonio Missions (SDP) got out of the gate with a 2-run first inning against Bobby Doran of the 5-0 start, and it only got worse from there. A run in the 2nd, 5 in the 3rd, and 3 in the 5th before Jorge de Leon and Kenny Long closed the door and managed to latch that little hooky thingy in the eighth and ninth innings. The damage was done, though, as Corpus Christi fell 11-5.

Corpus Christi: 22-16; 1st Texas League South

  • SS Jiovanni Mier - 1/5, R, 2 K
  • CF George Springer - 3/5, R, RBI, 2 K
  • RF Domingo Santana - 1/4, 2B, R, RBI, BB, 2 K
  • 1B Erik Castro - 2/4, 2B, RBI, E
  • LF Michael Burgess - 2/4, R, K, E
  • RHP Bobby Doran - 2.1 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 59/39
  • LHP Pat Urckfitz - 1.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, HBP, 34/22
  • RHP Nick Tropeano - 3 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 69/42
  • RHP Jorge de Leon - 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 10/7
  • LHP Kenny Long - 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 11/7
Lancaster Jethawks (A+) - The Jethawks had the day off, which means that Telvin Nash only struck out twice. They pick back up today at 3:30 Pacific Time, when they take their five-game winning streak to Visalia.

Lancaster: 23-15, 1st California League South

Quad Cities River Bandits (A) - It started off so poorly. And then so well. After falling down 4-1 after the first inning, the Bandits rallied for five runs in the top of the second and another in the fourth to grab a 7-4 advantage. That would hold them until the bottom of the seventh, when they gave up 4 runs, and another in the 8th, to drop the game to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (MIL), 9-7.

Quad Cities: 21-16; t-2nd Midwest League Western; 4.5 GB

  • CF Teoscar Hernandez - 0/4, R, BB, 2 K
  • SS Carlos Correa - 2/5, 3 R
  • 1B Jesse Wierzbicki - 2/4, 2B, R, 2 RBI, BB, K
  • LF Terrell Joyce - 1/5, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 K
  • 3B Rio Ruiz - 1/4, RBI, K, E
  • DH Brian Blasik - 3/4, 2B, R, SB
  • RF Ariel Ovando - 0/4, 3 K
  • C Roberto Pena - 1/4, 2B, R, K
  • RHP Jamaine Cotton - 5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 54/36
  • RHP Vincent Velasquez - 1.2 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, WP, 42/23
  • RHP Richard Rodriguez - 1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the minor league recap. I feel like I did pretty well. Well enough, I think, to earn an Andrew Aplin BP Bat Flip: