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Astros Prospect Report: Martes twirls gem; top hitters continue successful runs

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

Timothy De Block

AAA Fresno Grizzlies: 9-5 win over El Paso (SDP)

-> Matt Duffy: 2-for-3, R, 2 BB, 2 RBI
-> Tyler White: 2-for-4, BB, R, 2 RBI
-> Jonathan Villar: 2-for-5, 2B, 2 R
-> Andrew Aplin: 2-for-5, R, 2 RBI
-> Jake Marisnick: 1-for-3, 2B, 2 BB, 2 R, 3 SB, 3 RBI
-> Max Stassi: 1-for-4, BB, R
-> Robbie Grossman: 1-for-4, BB
-> Nolan Fontana: 0-for-3, 2 BB
-> Joe Sclafani: 0-for-0, R (pinch-runner)

SP Asher Wojciechowski: 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 9 H, 1 BB, 10 K
RP Jordan Jankowski: 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 2 BB, 3 K (win)
RP Kevin Chapman: 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 3 BB, 2 K

Give Wojo some credit here; four of his runs scored in a very rough first inning, but he rebounded after that and allowed just one in the next five while striking out nine. The first inning had just about everything; singles, doubles, a wild pitch, a hit batter...just a mess. After that, he looked great. Struck out the side swinging in his sixth and final inning.

White is hitting .500 in AAA. Callamup! He hit .284/.415/.426 in AA, showing excellent discipline at the plate and more power in his later games, too. It will be interesting to see how things shake out in AA, and if this promotion might lead to someone from Lancaster being moved up. More on that below.

Five hits in three days for Aplin. He's hitting a little better in his second crack at AAA, though that's not saying much. Hopefully he's starting to turn things around and put together a streak.

AA Corpus Christi Hooks: 5-0 loss to Tulsa (LAD)

-> Brett Phillips: 2-for-4, 2B, SB
-> Leonardo Heras: 1-for-2, 2B
-> Conrad Gregor: 1-for-3
-> Colin Moran: 1-for-4
-> Brandon Meredith: 0-for-3, BB

SP Adrian Houser: 5.2 IP, 5 R (2 ER), 7 H, 0 BB, 5 K (loss)
RP Juan Minaya: 2.1 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 0 K

Some days you just run into a buzzsaw; today that saw was Jharel Cotton, who posted a 1.61 ERA in the California League (yeah) and now has a 0.95 ERA in three games in AA. Whew.

Not that that matters to Brett-friggin-Phillips, apparently. He's now hitting .333/.440/.476 in his first six games in AA. Notably he's 4-for-4 in SB attempts after going just 8-for-14 in Lancaster. He's got the wheels to be a base-stealer if he can learn the finer points of the art. Good sign.

Tough luck for Houser today. Corpus had three errors behind him. The first didn't hurt, because he got a punch out and a double play immediately afterwards, but the other two were killer. Pitch count was getting up thanks to having to do extra work, so he was pulled before completing the sixth; reliever coughs up another run, naturally. Just a mess. But if things go differently, we might be talking about two earned (and nothing else) in six innings for him, with seven outs on the ground in addition to the whiffs, and no walks. It was a good outing, all things considered. This is two straight starts without allowing a walk (control has been an on-again-off-again issue with him) and he has a 6.0 K/BB ratio in his three AA starts so far.

By the way, one of those errors? A throwing error by Heras...playing second base? This is just his second game there while with the Astros, but I looked it up and he actually played a fair amount of second with his Mexican teams in the past, almost as much as LF and RF combined. But this is definitely related to the roster crunch in AA right now. White moving up has helped by opening up the DH spot, but you have Heras, Teo Hernandez, Phillips, Kemmer, Meredith and Vasquez as outfielders on this roster. Phillips is obviously going to get top priority, and Hernandez is probably in that same boat. Kemmer deserves a spot based on performance, and Vasquez is still young and has upside. That kind of puts Heras and Meredith in a tough spot. Heras being able to play some infield may just be his saving grace that helps him keep his job for a while more.

And of course, all that means things are even muddier when it comes to the "when is A.J. Reed getting promoted?" question. Perhaps the trade deadline will help clear things up...

A+ Lancaster JetHawks: 9-6 win over Inland Empire (LAA)

-> Jacob Nottingham: 2-for-4, HR, RBI, 2 R
-> Mott Hyde: 2-for-4, BB, 2B, 3B, RBI, 2 R
-> Ronnie Mitchell: 2-for-4, R, 2 2B
-> Marc Wik: 2-for-4, 2B, R, HR, 3 RBI
-> J.D. Davis: 1-for-3, BB, 3B, 2 RBI
-> James Ramsay: 1-for-3, BB, 2 R
-> Derek Fisher: 1-for-5, 2 RBI
-> A.J. Reed: 0-for-3 BB, R

SP Evan Grills: 1.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 1 K
RP Andrew Walter: 3.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 4 K (win)
RP Tyler Brunnemann: 3.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 2 K (hold)
RP Aaron Greenwood: 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 2 K (save)

Nottingham has hit in each of his three games in Lancaster, this being his first multi-hit game (and not the last, I feel safe in assuming). Just one strike out in those three games against better competition. He won't be legally able to drink until next April.

And speaking of doing well after a promotion, Mr. Hyde is hitting .312/.379/.481 in 19 games since joining Lancaster. I want to say the power isn't real (that's a .071 spike in SLG since joining the California League) but he hasn't hit a homer. It's been all doubles (nine) and a pair of triples. He does run pretty well, despite not being a burner, so...I don't know. Maybe it is. That is to say..you know, not that I expect him to maintain a near-.500 SLG long-term, but does he have some real gap power that he can tap into? I believe it.

Ramsay is one of those prospects that I'm never sure how much I believe in them. But despite that, he's hitting .313/.379/.478 in 69 games this year. The power is almost certainly not that good, but he does have gap power and does run well, is a lefty who, to this point in his career, has hit left-handed pitching. In fact...well, I just looked it up, and he's actually hit hit lefties better than righties. Notably better, and it's been at all levels, his entire pro career. This is the first time, in fact, that his average has been at least slightly better against righties, yet his SLG% is way better against LHP. Very weird.

A- Quad Cities River Bandits: 9-1 win over Peoria (STL)

-> Jamie Ritchie: 3-for-4, BB, 2B, 3 R
-> Alex Bregman: 3-for-5, 3 R
-> Jason Martin: 2-for-3, SB, 2 BB, 2 RBI, 2 R
-> Ramon Laureano: 2-for-5, 2 RBI
-> Ryan Bottger: 1-for-1, RBI, 3 BB
-> Bobby Boyd: 1-for-3, BB, SB, 2 RBI
-> Sean McMullen: 0-for-2, BB, R
-> Nick Tanielu: 0-for-3, 2 RBI

SP Francis Martes: 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 10 K (win)
RP Riley Ferrell: 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 2 K
RP Ryan Thompson: 1.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 0 K

So, during Martes' last start, I commented on the odd lack of strike outs from a power arm like him (he had none in four innings). There you go. He now has a 0.88 ERA, 2.42 BB/9 and 8.12 K/9 in his eight games. 19 years old. Thank you, Miami.

Martin is hitting .326 over his last ten games. He's up to .293/.367/.429 in 51 games and has whiffed a very reasonable 36 times during that span. It seems pretty quiet since Nottingham kind of overshadowed him this year (and now Bregman is there), but make no mistake; this is a nice breakout season for Martin, who is just 19 years old himself.

Speaking of Bregman, he appears to be warming up nicely now. Six hits in his last three games. He's only struck out three times in his first eight pro games, and those were all in his first four; he hasn't struck out once in his last four games. He's hitting .270 so far.

SS Tri-City ValleyCats: 7-6 win over Vermont (OAK)

-> Antonio Nunez: 2-for-4, BB, SB, 2 R
-> Bobby Wernes: 2-for-4, BB, R
-> Johnny Sewald: 2-for-5, BB, SB, 2 RBI
-> Brooks Marlow: 2-for-5, 2 RBI
-> Alexander Melendez: 1-for-2, 2 BB, 2 R
-> Bryan Muniz: 1-for-5, solo HR
-> Drew Ferguson: 0-for-4, BB
-> Garrett Stubbs: 0-for-4, BB
-> Dexture McCall: 1-for-1 (pinch-hitter)
-> Edwin Medina: 0-for-0, R (pinch-runner)

SP Kevin McCanna: 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 0 K
RP Zac Person: 0.1 IP, 3 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 1 K
RP Steve Naemark: 2.1 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 2 K
RP Ralph Garza: 2.1 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 3 K
RP Adam Whitt: 2.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 1 K (blown save)
RP Yeyfry Del Rosario: 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 0 K (win)

They're going easy on McCanna's workload it seems, at least for now; this is his third game but he has just eight toal innings. First shutout outing, though, and five ground outs to no fly outs. Amazingly he hasn't struck anyone out yet. Just one walk, though.

Sewald continues to be the big man in this lineup, batting lead off. He has seven hits in his last three games, and is hitting .410 over his last ten games. Season line is .327/.434/.364 in 15 games. 7-for-7 in stolen base attempts now.

RK Greeneville Astros: Rained Out

A doubleheader is scheduled for Monday, August 10 to make the game up.

Today's Scheduled Starters

AAA: Brett Oberholtzer vs. TBD
AA: Michael Feliz vs. Jose De Leon
A+: TBD vs. Matthew Shepherd
A-: Christian Powell vs. TBD
SS: Rogelio Armenteros vs. Dioscar Romero
RK: Makay Nelson vs. Cody Stashak