This offseason, we’re looking at every player to appear in a game at any level for the Astros in 2022.
Cesar Gomez is a six-foot-three, 195 lb. pitcher from Ontario, California. Born on July 9, 1998, he signed with Houston through free agency on June 19, 2020 out of Texas-Arlington. He was initially assigned to the Fayetteville Woodpeckers at the Low-A level, where he spent most of the 2021 season before joining the High-A Asheville Tourists near the end of the year. Overall, he went 3-8 with a 5.82 ERA, a 1.662 WHIP, and an opposing slash line of .312/.369/.459.
Gomez remained with the Tourists through the greater part of the 2022 season, turning in a much more palatable 7-4 record, a 4.56 ERA, and a 1.312 WHIP in 21 appearances (including 11 starts). On May 28, Gomez shut out the Greensboro Grasshoppers through six innings, giving up two hits, no walks, and striking out nine. The Tourists eventually won that one, 8-4. For his effort, Gomez was named the South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week.
In Gomez’ final start of the season for Asheville, on August 16, he again whiffed nine. He only took five innings to do it, shutting out the Aberdeen Ironbirds while allowing one hit and one walk. Aberdeen eventually won, 2-1. On August 22, Gomez was promoted to the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks. He pitched in five games, starting three of them, and went 0-2 with a 5.82 ERA.
Look for Gomez to start the 2023 season back with the Hooks, with a possible late-season appearance with the Triple-A Sugar Land Space Cowboys.
C.J. Stubbs is a six-foot-three, 207 lb. catcher and first baseman from San Diego, CA. Born on November 12, 1996, Stubbs was a 10th round choice of the Astros in 2019, with the 316th overall pick out of USC for $85,000. Ten players have gotten to the majors from the 316th pick, but none have topped 7.5 WAR (Rob Wilfong).
Stubbs split the remainder of the 2019 season between the Low-A Tri-City Valley Cats and the Mid-A Quad Cities River Bandits. In 55 contests, he slashed .249/.340/.460 with nine homers and 33 RBI. The 2021 season was split between the High-A Asheville Tourists and the Double-a Corpus Christi Hooks. In 91 games between those two outfits, he slashed .220/.297/.398 with a dozen home runs and 45 RBI.
Stubbs started 2022 on the seven day injured list, but joined the Tourists on May 17. In 42 games, he hit .217/.347/.471 with 10 home runs and 27 RBI. He also stole six bases in seven attempts. On August 21, he was assigned to Double-A with the Corpus Christi Hooks.
On September 1, Stubbs went three-for-four with a pair of home runs and three RBI in an 8-2 win against the San Antonio Missions. On September 16, he went two-for-three with another pair of home runs and four RBI in a 13-4 win against the Arkansas Travelers. Despite those highlights to the season, Stubbs slash line remained roughly the same at the higher level, .211/.323/.504.
Defensively, Stubbs played in 37 games behind the plate between the two stops, totaling 310 2⁄3 innings and fielding at a .980 clip. Although he totaled 11 passed balls, he did manage to throw out 14-of-44 runners trying to steal. His secondary position, first base, would see him appear in 30 games for 251 innings without an error in 215 chances.
Although Stubbs doesn’t boast a hit tool consistent enough to man first base at the major league level, it is a line that matches up well with Houston’s current choices behind the plate. With raw power to spare, the Astros will continue developing Stubbs through next season, likely at Corpus Christi.