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Astros Prospect Report: Games of May 18, 2017

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

Forrest Whitley dazzled for the River Bandits, who lost despite his efforts
Photo by Dispatch*Argus*QCOnline

AAA Fresno Grizzlies: 13-3 loss to Nashville (OAK)

The Grizzlies got flat-out stomped by Nashville. Trent Thornton and Brian Holmes each got rocked (both have looked very bad this season so far) and the Grizzlies managed only seven hits, though four of those were for extra bases.

There. The negative part is out of the way.

The Derek Fisher show just keeps on steaming down the tracks. Or some such colloquialism, I don't know. He is still performing excellently, is the point, and he hit his ninth home run of the young season, a two-run job in the eighth inning, and now sits at a .323/.384/.574 slash line (.958 OPS) so far in 2017. A noticeable difference in his approach this season has been observable: his GB/FB rate has improved from 1.79 in Triple-A last season to 1.58 so far this season. He's hitting 6.1% fewer balls on the ground in Triple-A so far than he did last season, and the increase has mostly gone into a better line drive rate (22% this season in Triple-A, versus 16.3% last year) while he's been pulling the ball much, much less and staying middle-away more. Coming into yesterday's game he had a 147 wRC+ and a .407 wOBA this season, and it's safe to say his night didn't change either mark drastically.

It looks like Derek can do no wrong so far this season. Don't believe me? Here's evidence:

Derek held up the Hollywood sign.

And if you don't get that joke, it's okay. You can trust me that it was funny.

One more fun (sort of...?) caveat from this game: outfielder Andrew Aplin pitched in his fifth game already on the young season and lowered his ERA from 2.25 to 1.80 with a scoreless ninth inning. Don't look at his FIP or xFIP and don't think about why an outfielder has appeared on the mound in five of Fresno's 41 games so far...just enjoy the wacky stat.

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AA Corpus Christi Hooks: 6-1 win over San Antonio (SDP)

Dean Deetz set a new season high for Hooks pitchers with seven innings pitched on 87 pitches (52 for strikes) in the win for Corpus Christi. He allowed only one run (a solo home run off the bat of Nick Schulz in the bottom half of the sixth inning) and walked one while striking out four.

JD Davis had the only extra base hit for the Hooks, a double, as part of a two-hit night. Jon Singleton and Ramon Laureano each had two hits as well in the middle of the order, and Antonio Nunez added a two-hit night of his own. Nunez, Laureano, and JD Davis each stole a base as well.

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A+ Buies Creek Astros: 7-1 loss to Myrtle Beach (CHC)

This wasn’t one of the prettier games that Buies Creek has played this year. They managed eight hits (three of which belonged to Kyle Tucker, who had the only multi-hit game for the Astros) and only managed to log one of those for extra bases - a double by Arturo Michelena.

Meanwhile, Matt Bower was rocked for six runs (five earned) in four and two thirds. The big fly was a problem for Bower in this one, as the second home run he allowed (a three run shot to Matt Rose) was the real death knell.

As was mentioned briefly earlier, Kyle Tucker had a trio of singles and is now slashing .317/.405/.626 in 38 games so far this season with Buies Creek in High A. Myles Straw also stole his ninth base of the season and is slashing .290/.385/.377...Straw won’t turn many heads with a .762 OPS in High-A as a 22-year-old, but he continues to be interesting from my perspective.

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A- Quad Cities River Bandits: 1-0 loss to Kane County (ARI)

Forrest Whitley was brilliant (one hit, one walk, and six strikeouts) in his five innings of work. He was also pretty efficient, needing just 69 pitches (46 for strikes) to get there. He was ostensibly pulled after five simply to take care of his arm - he was just in high school last year, and was used quite heavily by his high school team. The Astros have shown themselves to be cautious with their supremely talented right-hander.

He just wasn’t good enough to beat 20-year-old starter Cody Reed. The Kane County southpaw fired off a complete game shutout, allowing just three hits and a walk while striking out a man per inning. What’s more, Reed threw 108 pitches to complete his game, so he wasn’t even terribly overtaxed by his manager. Just a truly dominant performance.

Carlos Sanabria was solid in three innings of relief, but gave up three walks (which didn’t end up actually hurting him, but it was still three walks). The run he allowed came on a leadoff triple in the seventh inning by Marcus Wilson which was followed immediately by an RBI double off the bat of Mark Karaviotis, and it was all Cody Reed needed to shut the door for the Cougars.

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