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Astros Prospect Report: pitching gems abound despite losses

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

Mark Appel pitched the best game of his season to date
Mark Appel pitched the best game of his season to date
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

AAA Fresno Grizzlies: 4-2 loss to Las Vegas (NYM)

-> Tyler Heineman: 2-for-4, 2B, RBI, R
-> Tony Kemp: 2-for-5, RBI
-> Jonathan Villar: 1-for-4, BB, 2B
-> Robbie Grossman: 1-for-4, R
-> Alex Presley: 1-for-4
-> Matt Duffy: 1-for-5
-> Jon Singleton: 0-for-2, 2 BB
-> Andrew Aplin: 0-for-2, 2 BB
-> Nolan Fontana: 0-for-2, BB

SP Asher Wojciechowski: 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 H, 0 BB, 5 K
RP James Hoyt: 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 K (hold)
RP Jason Stoffel: 0.2 IP, 4 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 2 K (blown save, loss)
RP Jose Veras: 0.1 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 1 K

Nice day for Wojo here. Eight outs on the ground in addition to the five punch outs. He has three rough outings this year (14 ER in 16.1 IP in those), but in the other six, he owns a 1.82 ERA. So perhaps just a bit more consistency is needed.

A couple of days ago the TCB writers had a spirited discussion on Tony Kemp. While few see him as a future star, it seemed we were pretty split on his future role; solid utility guy/low-tier starter, or more of a legit non-star starter. For his part, Kemp has done nothing but produce so far. He has at least one hit in each of his AAA games, and if you go back and include AA, he's on a 24-game hitting streak. Yeah, that took me a little by surprise, too. He's hitting .412 during that streak; 13 of the 24 games have been multi-hit games. Put me in the camp that says Kemp has a good shot to develop into a solid starter. I think back to Michael Bourn; Kemp won't be that big of a threat on the bases, but I think he'll walk more and strike out less. Kemp's main knock is the arm, but Bourn's arm sure isn't special. Bourn was a rock-solid starting player in CF for a number of years; I think Kemp can be, too.

Singleton continues to be sort of hot and cold. He struck out four times on Saturday, but he hadn't struck out in the two games before that, and didn't tonight. So that's zero, zero, four, and zero strike outs in his last four games. He's just going to be one of those guys.

Heineman isn't walking in AAA yet, but he's continued hitting basically the same, and he's also struck out just once in 15 games. Once! I really like his floor.

AA Corpus Christi Hooks: Doubleheader!

Game One: 2-1 win over San Antonio (SDP)

-> Danry Vasquez: 2-for-3
-> Teoscar Hernandez: 1-for-2, BB, R, 2 SB
-> Chan Moon: 1-for-3, SB, R
-> Jiovanni Mier: 1-for-3, SB
-> Conrad Gregor: 1-for-3
-> Brett Booth: 1-for-3
-> Colin Moran: 0-for-1, BB, RBI
-> Jon Kemmer: 0-for-1, BB, RBI

SP Mark Appel: 7.0 IP, 1 R (0 ER), 4 H, 0 BB, 6 K (win)

Game Two: 3-1 loss to San Antonio (SDP)

-> Chan Moon: 1-for-2, BB, 2B
-> Jiovanni Mier: 1-for-2, BB
-> Jon Kemmer: 1-for-3, RBI
-> Colin Moran: 0-for-2, BB
-> Teoscar Hernandez: 0-for-3, R

SP Kyle Westwood: 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 3 K (loss)

Yes, here we go. This is the Appel we're looking for. Eight outs on the ground (to four on the fly) in addition to all the other good. This is actually four strong starts in a row; 1.54 ERA, 1.93 BB/9 and 7.71 K/9 over that span (23.1 IP). Over his first nine games he threw 62.0% strikes; that's up a bit to 65.7% over his last four. His BB/9 through the first nine games was 4.05 though, so rather than just reducing the walk rate by throwing it right over the plate, his actual location and selection has likely been much improved. Nice signs.

Westwood was almost as good, something of a tough-luck loser tonight. Two of the three runs came on a pair of long balls to the same hitter (Hunter Renfroe). It's especially interesting when you consider the 11-4 GB/FB out ratio. So for the most part, not walking guys, not getting beat up, keeping the ball on the ground...but one guy just has his number. It happens. But yeah, 14 of 21 outs either on strikes or on the ground, that works. Westwood hasn't allowed more than three earned runs since May 16, and has a 3.20 ERA in the six games since then.

So who is Jon Kemmer? Well, he was our 21st round pick back in 2013 (the Appel class). He's a left-handed batter who broke out in Lancaster last season. There have been a lot of those before, and few have done anything subsequently of note. Kemmer looks like he might be one of the few, though; he's currently hitting .314/.398/.529 in 42 games in AA. That's good for a legit .215 ISO. He has eight bombs in those 42 games, which is roughly 30 HR power over a full MLB season sample. That's probably a lot to expect, and he is striking out a bit, but he's also drawing walks. So we have some probably 20+ HR power and a good walk rate, along with a not-horrible strike out rate. Hey, you never know; J.D. Martinez was a 20th-round pick.

A+ Lancaster JetHawks: 7-5 loss to Lake Elsinore (SDP)

-> J.D. Davis: 3-for-4, 2B, R, 2 RBI
-> A.J. Reed: 2-for-3, RBI, R, 2 BB
-> Jack Mayfield: 1-for-3, R, 2 BB
-> Ronnie Mitchell: 1-for-3, BB
-> Jose Fernandez: 1-for-4, 3B, 2 RBI
-> Brett Phillips: 0-for-4, BB, R
-> Derek Fisher: 0-for-4, BB, R

SP Troy Scribner: 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 3 H, 3 BB, 6 K (loss)
RP Tyler Brunnemann: 2.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 0 K
RP Keegan Yuhl: 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 0 K

All five runs off Scribner were on a pair of dingers. You just have ot be careful out there in Lancaster. 20 MPH wind out to RF. I still expect to see him rebound; he may just need to move up to AA to do it. But adversity builds character, if you'll let it. 5.06 BB/9 means he's not helping himself, either.

Reed is hitting .571 over his last ten games, during which time he's walked 11 times and struck out just five. He's up to .335/.442/.616 on the season. I'd be stunned if he isn't promoted sometime this week after the All-Star Game. Stunned.

Davis hasn't been as great and is a little more blocked than Reed, with Colin Moran up in AA. In May, the strike out rate went up and the walk rate down, but they're both moving in the right direction in June. .296/.380/.543 on the month, with five bombs.

A- Quad Cities River Bandits: 3-1 win over Burlington (LAA)

-> Jacob Nottingham: 3-for-4, RBI, SB, R
-> Bobby Boyd: 1-for-3, BB, SB, R
-> Sean McMullen: 1-for-3, BB, SB
-> Jamie Ritchie: 1-for-3, BB
-> Nick Tanielu: 1-for-3, BB
-> Luis Reynoso: 1-for-3, BB
-> Jason Martin: 1-for-4, solo HR
-> Kristian Trompiz: 1-for-4, 2B

SP Akeem Bostick: 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 3 K
RP Brandon McNitt: 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 4 K (win)

BOSStick at it again. Nine outs on the ground, just two on the fly. He hasn't walked more than one batter in any of his games. He's allowed more than one ER in just one of his eight games. 1.50 ERA, 0.64 BB/9 and 7.07 K/9. He has 11 strike outs per walk. Boom.

The Sheriff is hitting .330/.387/.560 on the season now, with 10 bombs and 18 doubles. He's another solid bet for a promotion some time after the All-Star Game.

SS Tri-City ValleyCats: 1-0 loss to Connecticut (DET)

-> Bryan Muniz: 2-for-3, 2B
-> Kolbey Carpenter: 1-for-4, 2B
-> Cesar Carrasco: 0-for-3, BB
-> Trent Woodward: 0-for-3, BB

SP Dean Deetz: 5.0 IP, 1 R (0 ER), 4 H, 1 BB, 3 K (loss)
RP Joselo Pinales: 0.2 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 2 BB, 1 K
RP Agapito Barrios: 2.1 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 2 K

If you're the type that cares about the minor league teams winning, this is the concern you have with Tri-City this year; the offense is far from stacked. It seems like Bregman may well start in full-season ball, too. Maybe Kyle Tucker will show up at some point, hm?

Deetz provides a nice highlight though. I liked this pick last year. Sits 91-93 MPH but can hit the mid-90's with some regularity, solid breaker, and a developing change-up. Walked a ton of guys and got generally lit up in Greeneville last year, which was sad. But he looked quite good here. Hopefully this is the start of a nice rise through the system. Nine outs on the ground in this game, by the way.

Today's Scheduled Starters

AAA: Off Day
AA: Chris Devenski vs. Casey Kelly
A+: All-Star break
A-: All-Star break
SS: Harold Arauz vs. TBD