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Astros Prospect Report: Pitching highlights abound despite 1-3 night on the farm

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

Brian Holmes, a breakout candidate?
Brian Holmes, a breakout candidate?
Timothy De Block

AAA Fresno Grizzlies: 2-0 loss to Tacoma (SEA)

-> Preston Tucker: 1-for-3, BB, SB
-> Matt Duffy: 1-for-3, BB
-> Domingo Santana: 0-for-3, BB

SP Luis Cruz: 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 3 BB, 3 K
RP Tyson Perez: 2.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 2 K (loss)
RP Darin Downs: 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 1 K

Yikes, a two-hit shutout tossed against Fresno. They've scored 11 runs in their last four games, for just 2.75 runs per game. So they've been scuffling with the sticks for the last week.

Leave it to Tucker to be the only guy to actually do much on offense. He's hitting .329/.376/.671 with nine bombs in 21 games so far, even though he's cooled off slightly (hitting .275 over his last ten games). He still has a two homer lead over a group of guys with seven each in the PCL. His 1.047 OPS is the 8th-best mark in the league.

Cruz's outing was the highlight. He's allowed just two runs over his last two starts, totaling 10 innings. His strike out rate on the year is a strong 8.5 K/9. He's been mediocre on the whole, but he may be starting to heat up. Six outs on the ground tonight, compared to three on the fly.

A couple days ago, the TCB writer's email group briefly discussed Jon Singleton and his struggles in AAA. He hasn't had a hit in five straight games now, and while his OPS is still a solid .839, he's hitting just .230 and has struck out 12 times in his last ten games. I took the side of saying it's too early to be worried; what's your take?

AA Corpus Christi Hooks: 5-4 loss to Frisco (TEX)

-> Tony Kemp: 2-for-5, 2B, SB, R
-> Brandon Meredith: 1-for-3, BB, R
-> Tyler White: 1-for-4, BB, RBI
-> Roberto Pena: 1-for-4, 2 RBI
-> Jon Kemmer: 0-for-2, BB, RBI, R
-> Carlos Correa: 0-for-3, R, 2 BB, 3 SB
-> Conrad Gregor: 0-for-3, BB, SB

SP Mike Hauschild: 4.2 IP, 3 R (2 ER), 8 H, 0 BB, 5 K
RP Daniel Minor: 1.1 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 1 BB, 2 K
RP Jonas Dufek: 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 1 BB, 1 K
RP Jandel Gustave: 1.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 2 K (blown save, loss)

So Correa goes hitless, still reaches base twice thanks to walks, and steals three bags with his "fringe-average" run tool. He's now 8-for-8 in steal attempts in 20 games, which would put him on-pace for 65 stolen bases in 162 games. I don't even know what to say anymore. Is there anything this kid can't do? Yes, yes there is; fail.

Third-straight multi-hit game for Kemp. TK is hitting .350/.458/.400 on the season in 21 games so far. The base stealing hasn't quite been there (3-for-6), but he's still drawn more walks than he's struck out. Geeze, he's struck out once in his last six games. That's like 30 plate appearances.

Gustave doesn't have a game started since rejoining the Astros. I wonder if this means they're looking at him as a potential future closer. He's got the heat for it, no doubt, and his control has been pretty decent so far (just two unintentional walks in nine frames). He's only struck out four guys in those nine innings so far, but there's no telling what they have him working on. Hey, maybe they're just stretching him out after KC used him mostly in short stints, who knows? Keep an eye on him.

A+ Lancaster JetHawks: 3-2 loss to Modesto (COL)

-> Jose Fernandez: 2-for-4, SB
-> Danry Vasquez: 2-for-4
-> A.J. Reed: 1-for-3, HR, R, 2 RBI
-> Brett Phillips: 1-for-4, SB, R
-> Ronnie Mitchell: 1-for-4
-> Jack Mayfield: 0-for-3, BB
-> Marc Wik: 0-for-3, BB

SP Brian Holmes: 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 7 K
RP Edison Frias: 3.1 IP, 3 R (1 ER), 4 H, 0 BB, 3 K (blown save, loss)

Boy, tough loss. Lancaster had a 2-0 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh; Modesto scored a run in each of the seventh, eighth and ninth innings to come from behind and walk it off.

Wasn't even Frias' fault that much. The guy that scored in the seventh reached on a passed ball by catcher Jobduan Morales, and Morales made a throwing error the next inning that plated a run, too. It was just an ugly ending. For his part, Frias did throw a wild pitch that allowed the walk-off run to score in the ninth. On the season he's allowed no more than two ER in four of his five outings, but one blowup has his ERA not looking so hot. Still, the 1.5 BB/9 and 9.0 K/9 tell a more favorable story.

Holmes was great though. That's easily his best outing of the year. His 3.54 ERA already looks pretty nice considering the league, but his innings have been limited thanks to the tandem rotation, so it might be even better if he'd been allowed to go an extra inning here or there. He hasn't allowed more than three earned runs in any game he's pitched. 3.1 BB/9 and 12.4 K/9 on the year look pretty nice, too. Looking back over his history, he's always missed bats and had decent control numbers. I don't know how legit I think he is, but he's pretty much performed at every turn so far. Put him in with Thomas Shirley and others; unassuming, unheralded college arms who might have more of an MLB future than lots of traditional scouts would think.

Fourth bomb on the year for Reed. Contact has just still been an issue, with eight whiffs in his last five games. He's hitting .213/.351/.453 on the season.

A- Quad Cities River Bandits: 2-1 win over Wisconsin (MIL)

-> Jason Martin: 1-for-3, BB, 2 RBI
-> Alex Hernandez: 1-for-3, BB, SB, R
-> Mott Hyde: 1-for-4, BB, 3B, R
-> Bobby Boyd: 1-for-4, BB
-> Derek Fisher: 1-for-5, 3B
-> Jacob Nottingham: 0-for-3, BB
-> Kristian Trompiz: 0-for-3, BB
-> Thomas Lindauer: 0-for-3, BB
-> Jamie Ritchie: 0-for-4, BB

SP Chris Lee: 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 H, 0 BB, 4 K (win)
RP Keegan Yuhl: 2.2 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 4 K (hold)
RP Ryan Thompson: 1.1 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 3 K (save)

Well well, hello Jason Martin. Apparently he was injured initially, thus the late start to the season. Nice to see him get to Quad Cities and immediately start to contribute. Definitely a name to watch, and he should be a good boost to an already-strong River Bandits club.

Nice to see Fisher back and looking fine. Bomb last night, triple tonight. He's hitting .304/.381/.643 on the year with eight extra-base hits in 15 games.

Best start of the season so far for Chris Lee. That's not saying a lot, considering it's just the second time he's allowed fewer than three earned runs. I keep expecting him to break out, but he's been slow developing, kind of like Adrian Houser. Still, this was a nice game. 3.1 BB/9 and 7.0 K/9 are decent, and he's one of the better ground ball pitchers in the low levels; nine outs on the ground tonight. Good ole' MLBFarm.com and your fast updates, I so love you; including this start, Lee owns a 66.7% GB rate this season. Yeah boy.

Double dose of bullpen spotlight today; Keegan Yuhl owns a 1.35 ERA in 13.1 innings. His 3.4 BB/9 and 7.4 K/9 aren't stunning, but he has a 67.7% GB rate to help back them up. Thompson, on the other hand, is the more traditional strike out guy; his GB% is barely over 40%, but he owns sparkling 1.7 BB/9 and 9.8 K/9 peripherals. They have combined for an 0.74 ERA and have been a big factor in Quad-Cities' early season success.

Today's Scheduled Starters

AAA: Brady Rodgers vs. Sam Gaviglio
AA: Lance McCullers vs. Alec Asher
A+: Michael Feliz vs. Konner Wade
A-: Kevin Comer vs. Zach Hirsch