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Minor League Recap: Games of April 6, 2014

Your daily look at the previous night's Minor League happenings.

Preston Tucker is off to a hot start in Double-A
Preston Tucker is off to a hot start in Double-A
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

AAA Oklahoma City RedHawks: 9-1 win over Round Rock

-> Ronald Torreyes: 3-for-5, 2B, R, 2 RBI
-> Austin Wates: 2-for-5, BB, 3B, 2 R
-> Japhet Amador: 2-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI
-> Jonathan Meyer: 2-for-5, R
-> George Springer: 1-for-3, BB, 2B, SB, 3 R
-> Jonathan Singleton: 1-for-4, BB, 3 RBI
-> Carlos Perez: 1-for-4, BB, R
-> Gregorio Petit: 1-for-5, solo HR
-> Domingo Santana: 0-for-4, BB

SP David Martinez: 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 5 K (win)
RP Bobby Doran: 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 3 K (hold)
RP Raul Valdez: 1.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 2 K

Today was an even better day than what you can see there. Strikeouts? Nope, not here. Just four for the entire lineup (one each for Petit, Meyer, Santana and Perez). After combining for 12 whiffs in the first three games, it was nice to see Springleton in the middle of the order with none at all tonight.

Your super-early team MVP is Torreyes; the second sacker (listed as a SS, but he's played 2B exclusively so far) has a mere 1.000 OPS through four games, thanks to three doubles already, and just one strikeout.

Three groundouts and three strikeouts with just one fly out for Doran; I don't know that I see him as a starter going forward, but he's got a sturdy body and a good sinker, and you could see him replacing one of the multi-inning relievers at some point; as we've certainly seen already this year, there's value in that with a young, shaky rotation in the Majors.

AA Corpus Christi Hooks: 5-3 win over Springfield

-> Matthew Duffy: 3-for-5, 2B
-> M.P. Cokinos: 2-for-4, 2 RBI
-> Preston Tucker: 2-for-5, RBI, R, 2 2B
-> Andrew Aplin: 1-for-3, 2B, SB, R, 2 BB
-> Tyler Heineman: 1-for-3, 2B, 2 R
-> Delino DeShields: 1-for-4, BB, SB
-> Jiovanni Mier: 1-for-4, 2 RBI
-> Nolan Fontana: 0-for-3, BB, SB, R
-> Leonardo Heras: 0-for-3, BB

SP Thomas Shirley: 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 7 K (win)
RP Matthew Heidenreich: 2.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, 3 BB, 1 K
RP Jordan Jankowski: 0.2 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 2 K (hold)
RP Travis Ballew: 1.1 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 0 K (save)

Shirley is 25 years old and probably not a starter long-term, but he's a lefty and, according to Anthony Boyer, improved his fastball last year and now hits 95-96 MPH, so a lefty with that kind of heat will get some looks. Heidenreich got through two innings without big issue, but he failed to retire a batter in the eighth before giving up a pair of singles and a double, and being yanked for Jankowski. In fairness, Jankowski coughed up a couple of hits himself, which allowed one of those three runs to score.

Tucker has been the big man on campus so far, slashing .375/.444/.688 with a bomb and two doubles, and he has yet to strike out. DeShields has looked solid so far as well after making the big jump up to AA, hitting .286 with a .500 OBP thanks to three walks, and he's 5-for-6 in steals already. He's striking out too much, but hopefully he'll make the needed adjustments over time. Also of note is Aplin and his six walks so far, leading to a .526 OBP.

A+ Lancaster JetHawks: 7-4 win over Lake Elsinore

-> Carlos Correa: 3-for-4, HR, 3 RBI, 3 R
-> Brandon Meredith: 2-for-4, BB, HR, R, 4 RBI
-> Teoscar Hernandez: 2-for-5, R
-> Rio Ruiz: 1-for-3, R, 2 BB
-> Roberto Pena: 1-for-3, BB
-> Danry Vasquez: 1-for-4, 2B
-> Anthony Kemp: 0-for-3, R, 2 BB
-> Carlos Perdomo: 0-for-3, BB

SP Mark Appel: 2.2 IP, 2 R (1 ER), 3 H, 2 BB, 1 K
RP J.D. Osborne: 1.1 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 2 K
RP Mike Hauschild: 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 6 K (win)

So, Correa is doing okay in the California League so far. Let's see, that's a... 1.356 OPS. That should work well enough. Ruiz is looking good playing in his home state as well; he's hit .286 and drawn four walks in four games.

The unearned run from Appel was off a sac fly, the runner that scored having reached on an error by Hernandez. He also dealt with an error behind him in the second, though that wasn't the reason that second run scored. Hauschild is your pitcher of the night; four runs had scored in four innings prior to him, but there was nothing to be had once he took the mound.

A- Quad Cities River Bandits: 7-3 win over Kane County

-> Tanner Mathis: 2-for-3, BB, R, 2 SB
-> Austin Elkins: 2-for-4, 2B, RBI, R
-> James Ramsay: 1-for-2, 2 BB, 2 R, 3 SB
-> Brian Holberton: 1-for-3, BB, 2 RBI
-> Conrad Gregor: 1-for-4
-> Brett Phillips: 1-for-5, SB, R, 2 RBI
-> Jack Mayfield: 0-for-2, 2 BB, 2 R
-> Tyler White: 0-for-3, BB
-> Jon Kemmer: 0-for-3, BB

SP Adrian Houser: 3.1 IP, 3 ER, 4 H, 4 BB, 4 K
RP Patrick Christensen: 1.2 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 1 BB, 3 K
RP Gonzalo Sanudo: 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 2 K (win)
RP Zach Morton: 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 1 K

Not the first start I was hoping for with Houser, who I really think could break out this season, but it was just the beginning. The QC roster is an interesting one on the position player side, because you look at it, and you don't see the kind of star power you did last year. Last year, it was easy to say, well, there's Correa and Ruiz, there's McCullers and Velasquez, and you knew who to follow. This roster is composed more of polish than it is flashy tools.

That's not to say they're bereft of it though. Ramsay has to stick out after a three steal game, which is especially encouraging because I remember that pre-draft one of the big knocks on him was that he underutilized his speed on the base paths. Without considerable power, that will be an important part of his value moving forward. In his first four games, he whiffed just once while drawing a pair of walks. Definite lead off potential with his package of tools.

Another name to call to your attention in the early going is Tanner Mathis. Luhnow and crew picked him up in the 27th round of the 2012 draft, but he went back to Ole Miss. He went un-drafted last year and then got a second chance with the Astros. The thing he has going for him is being an OBP machine. He has virtually no power (even doubles are hard to come by with him), but he had a .422 OBP in four years in college, and posted a .425 OBP with Greeneville after signing last season. He really doesn't steal bases either, and I'm not sold on him as a centerfielder, so his value might be very limited, and it wouldn't be surprising if he's no more than an organizational guy. But he does do that one thing very well; we'll see if he can build on it.

Tomorrow's Scheduled Starters

AAA: Michael Foltynewicz vs. Jared Rogers
AA: Colton Cain vs. Jonathan Cornelius
A+: Kyle Westwood vs. Joe Biagini
A-: TBA (Thurman? Lee?) vs. Tom Robson