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Astros Prospect Report: Appel lit up by Midland; stars shine for Quad Cities

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

Jacob Nottingham went off again to lead the RiverBandits
Jacob Nottingham went off again to lead the RiverBandits
Timothy De Block

AAA Fresno Grizzlies: 7-2 loss to Nashville (OAK)

-> Tyler Heineman: 1-for-3
-> Jon Singleton: 1-for-4, RBI
-> Domingo Santana: 1-for-4
-> Carlos Correa: 0-for-1, R, 2 SB, 3 BB
-> Robbie Grossman: 0-for-3, R

SP Brady Rodgers: 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 8 H, 2 BB, 5 K (loss)
RP Jordan Jankowski: 1.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 0 K
RP Kevin Chapman: 1.2 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 3 K
RP Tyson Perez: 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 1 K

So Correa has five multi-hit performances in his last six games, including two bombs, and then goes "oh wait, I should probably show them that I can still walk and steal bases when I want to, also." Goodness. I mean...he's ready. He knows it, the Astros know it, we know it, the world knows it. It's coming soon. It has to.

AA Corpus Christi Hooks: 12-8 win over Midland (OAK)

-> Jon Kemmer: 4-for-5, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI
-> Andrew Aplin: 2-for-3, 2 BB, 3 R
-> Teoscar Hernandez: 2-for-4, HR, SB, R, 2 RBI
-> Jiovanni Mier: 2-for-5, 2x solo HR
-> Roberto Pena: 2-for-5, R
-> Tyler White: 1-for-3, HR, 2 BB, 2 RBI, 2 R
-> Conrad Gregor: 1-for-3, 2B, RBI, R, 2 BB
-> Leonardo Heras: 0-for-4, RBI

SP Mark Appel: 3.2 IP, 7 ER, 8 H, 1 BB, 2 K
RP Travis Ballew: 1.1 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 1 K
RP Kyle Westwood: 1.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 1 K
RP Chris Cotton: 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 2 K (win)
RP Jandel Gustave: 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 2 K

The frustration with Appel continues. At some point we may have to discuss what his future is, because it's not looking great right now. He's not all that young by prospect standards, he's repeating AA, and his performance has gone in the wrong direction. While his BAbip is high and there will likely be some improvement based on that, he's sitting with an ERA of 6.03. Even if you want to be generous and shave a whole run and a half off of that to account for some bad luck, he still doesn't look good. In 34.1 innings he's walked 15 and whiffed 25; that's 3.93 BB/9 and 6.55 K/9, and a 1.67 K/BB ratio. Those are concerning numbers. For me, the strike out rate especially is a problem. This is a 1-1 pick whose main draw was his polish of multiple off-speed throw in a mid-to-upper-90s heater, and a strike out rate like that against AA hitters is not really acceptable, without even mentioning that his walk rate is up almost a full walk per nine innings. In eight starts, he's gone the full tandem five just three times (and yes, they were all starts; he hasn't come in on the back half in any of his eight games), and those were his only three good starts. At this point, I'm starting to worry a bit. I'd love to hear it come out that he's working on some certain pitch or something that could help explain this sudden scuffling.

Double bombs from Mier. Okay, I'm officially interested. His first month was just plain good (.323/.432/.516), but things have normalized and he's hitting just .245 this month. That said, thanks to walks and power, he still has a .854 OPS in May. That's more encouraging to me than April was, because realistically, he's not that. But this? Defense, walks, some pop, and a passable-enough average to give him a solid OPS? This I can potentially buy into being real, and if it is, we may well get something out of this first round pick yet. It should be noted that the Luhnow regime has largely done away with the prospects and players acquired by the Wade regime (aside from the guys who clearly panned out, like Altuve and Keuchel and so forth), but that Mier is still around. They have to think there's something there, right?

A homer, two walks and no strike outs from White tonight. He's up to 25 walks and 13 strike outs on the season. I some point, plain getting it done has to count. 25 games still isn't a huge sample, but that's a heck of an impressive plate discipline showing.

Too bad to see Aplin scuffle enough to get demoted, but he's doing well in a small six game sample so far in Corpus (.400/.556/.600). He was actually walking a lot and not striking out too much in Fresno, so maybe he's not far off from seeing AAA again.

Hernandez is doing better, but there's work left to do. His OPS is more than .200 better in May than it was in April (at .638 it's still not good, but hey, progress).

A+ Lancaster JetHawks: 7-5 loss to Inland Empire (LAA)

-> Brett Phillips: 2-for-4, BB, 2 R
-> Alfredo Gonzalez: 2-for-5, R, 2 RBI
-> A.J. Reed: 1-for-3, BB, 2B
-> James Ramsay: 1-for-4, 2B, R
-> Marc Wik: 1-for-4, RBI, R
-> Chase McDonald: 1-for-4, 2B
-> Danry Vasquez: 1-for-4, RBI

SP Bryan Radziewski: 4.2 IP, 4 R (3 ER), 6 H, 2 BB, 4 K
RP Reymin Guduan: 2.2 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 4 K (loss)
RP Frederick Tiburcio: 1.2 IP, 1 R (0 ER), 2 H, 1 BB, 1 K (blown save)

Four game hitting streak for Phillips now, with the last three being multi-hit games. He's hitting .329 now with a gaudy OPS and 21 XBH. His numbers may be approaching the "mastery/dominance" level that seems to foreshadow promotion.

Reed has at least one hit in 18 of his 20 games played in May, and eight of them have been multi-hit games. He has 10 doubles, 11 bombs, 28 walks and an OPS over 1.000 in 40 games now.

Radziewski's third start in Lancaster wasn't as strong, but I will note that two of the four runs came on a two-run jack, and there was a nearly-30-MPH wind blowing out to center, so perhaps take the final stat line with a grain of salt. He's walked five guys in his last 9.2 innings of work, so that's one area that's definitely on his shoulders that he'll be looking to tighten up in the future.

A- Quad Cities River Bandits: 8-1 win over Peoria (STL)

-> Jacob Nottingham: 4-for-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI
-> Jamie Ritchie: 2-for-2, 2B, R, 3 BB
-> Derek Fisher: 2-for-4, BB, SB, R
-> Ryan Bottger: 2-for-4, R
-> Bobby Boyd: 2-for-4
-> Jason Martin: 1-for-4, solo HR
-> Nick Tanielu: 1-for-5, HR, R, 2 RBI
-> Mott Hyde: 1-for-5, 2B, RBI, R

SP Daniel Mengden: 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 4 K (win)
RP Austin Chrismon: 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 3 K (save)

Okay, yeah. Woo woo! The Nottingham Express is leaving the station, all aboard the train please. Seven of his last eleven games have been mutli-hitters, four of those have been 3+ hitters, and he's batting .316/.385/.581 with 16 XBH (seven bombs) in 31 games. In 162 games at that pace, he'd hit 42 doubles, 37 homers, and drive in 141 runs. As a catcher.

He didn't actually catch tonight, though; Ritchie was behind the dish! I haven't seen him there much on my nights to cover the games, so that was fun. Catch a ball game and reach base five times, no biggie. The man has walked 34 times in 33 games. It's like he's Nolan Fontana but he can catch.

And a multi-hit game from The Shark, too. Gosh this team is stacked right now. Three mutli-hit games in his last four. Fisher is up to .320/.404/.539 on the season with 17 extra-base hits, and is 7-for-8 in steal attempts, too. That's a 162-game pace for 25 HR, 34 SB.

And then the pitching. Well, Mengden allowed a run, which makes this his worst start since April 17 (where he got lit up for two whole runs). Goodness. 1.16 ERA, WHIP under one, opponents hitting .216 against him, and 4.5 strike outs for each walk. The Houston native likely won't spend too much more time in Low-A.

This was Chrismon's fourth scoreless outing, and he's allowed more than a run just twice on the season. His ERA is down to 2.37 now. Geeze, he was like this team's #4 starter coming into the season. And now that Musgrove and Radziewski have moved on, we have Bostick and Martes coming in, and Joshua James takes a 3.14 ERA into tonight's game, and even guys like Dykxhoorn and Comer have shown some really nice flashes. The amount of mid-rotation pitching talent in this organization is stunning.

Today's Scheduled Starters

AAA: Tommy Shirley vs. Brad Mills
AA: Chris Devenski vs. Nate Long
A+: Adrian Houser vs. Christopher Ellis
A-: Joshua James vs. Luis Perdomo