Instead of doing a Minor League Players of The Month article for each month, I’ll just talk about the best players on each team for the season up-to-date. So for the first third of the season, here are the top players from each farm team. No current major league player is eligible for this post.
Oklahoma City RedHawks
Brett Wallace – As usual with Wallace, he mashes Triple-A pitching. Since being sent down in April, Wallace has played 38 games for the RedHawks. Wallace has 8 HR’s, 10 2B’s, and 30 RBI’s on his way to a .315/.398/.562 line. Wallace continues to display his ability to destroy pitching in the minors, but has yet to prove it at the major league level. Wallace will likely get one more shot in the majors, but it’s certainly possible the Astros decide to trade him and hope another team will take a chance on him.
Marc Krauss – Krauss was acquired in the Chris Johnson trade last year, and has looked good in his 50 games with the RedHawks. Krauss has very similar numbers to Wallace. He has 8 HR’s, 10 2B’s, and 30 RBI’s and a .282/.402/.515 slash line. Krauss has split time between the outfield and first base, and should earn a call up by no later than the trade deadline this year.
Jarred Cosart – Many people have been waiting to hear about a Cosart call up and the time should come soon. Up-to-date, Cosart has a 2.65 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in 54.1 IP. He has kept the ball in the yard for the most part (2 HR), but has struggled some games with his command. Though he has 59 strikeouts, Cosart has walked 29 batters, which has hindered his ability to pitch deeper into games. Jeff Luhnow has mentioned that Cosart could be on his way soon, though they’d like for him to work on some things (presumably his command). Expect Cosart in the majors by August 1st at the latest.
Asher Wojciechowski – There were several relievers I could have mentioned, but I wanted to highlight “Wojo”. Wojo has had a great season so far and is coming off a great outing with the RedHawks. While with the RedHawks, Wojo has posted a 3.94 ERA in his 6 starts. While with Corpus Christi, he posted a 2.08 ERA. In his combined 58 innings between the two levels, Wojo has a 3.10 ERA with a 51/19 K-BB ratio. Wojociechowski could get his chance with the Astros this season, but it may be in September.
Corpus Christi Hooks
George Springer – I’m sure everyone knew he would appear here …and he has! Springer has had almost the best season we could have imagined from him just two months in. Springer has 16 HR’s, 13 2B’s, 41 RBI’s to go along with a .300/.412/.621 line. Besides his power, Springer has also stolen 16 bases, and has only been caught 4 times on the base paths. Springer’s one concern is his strikeout rate. His 66 strikeouts in 190 at-bats is a bit high, though he has walked 32 times this year. It’s possible the Astros call him up in the next few months, though I expect to see him no earlier than September.
Domingo Santana – The PTNBL in the Hunter Pence trade, continues to show his potential at Corpus Christi. Though Santana only has 8 HR’s on the year, he has hit 14 doubles, and has done a good job getting on base. Santana has .352/.353/.482 line this season, and looks like a future corner outfielder or DH for the Astros. Santana will likely spend the rest of the season at Corpus Christi and will be reevaluated next season.
Jake Buchanan – The Hooks pitching staff has been fantastic this year, and has been headlined by Buchanan. In 58.1 IP, Buchanan has a minuscule 0.77 ERA and 0.69 WHIP. His 35/4 K-BB ratio is fantastic, and he has been the best pitcher in the Astros farm system. Buchanan should get a chance with the RedHawks soon, and we will see how he pitches there, before assessing his future.
David Martinez – Another outstanding pitcher for the Hooks this season, Martinez also has great numbers in his 54 IP. Martinez is 8-0 with a 1.83 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. The 25-year old isn’t much of a prospect, but his fantastic season may earn him a chance with the RedHawks before the season is over.
Preston Tucker – There are so many good hitters at Lancaster but Tucker has separated himself from the others. In Tucker’s 214 at-bats, he has hit 11 HR’s, 14 2B’s, and 55 RBI’s, on his way to a .318/.383/.542 line. A 7th rounder from the 2012 draft, Tucker has only hit since being with the organization, and may earn a call up to Corpus Christi once an outfielder with the Hooks gets sent up.
Matt Duffy – It was a tough choice between Duffy and Aplin, but Duffy gets the nod for me. In 45 games with the JetHawks, Duffy has smashed 9 HR’s and 8 2B’s with a .302/.409/.543 slash line for a .953 OPS. Duffy is proving to be a very good third baseman, and may have a chance to be at the hot corner with the Hooks later this season.
Brady Rodgers – Though Rodgers struggled early in the season, he has picked it up in May. In 57.2 IP this season, Rodgers has posted a 3.28 ERA with a 5-1 record. Rodgers has struck out 49 batters while walking just 12. The 3rd rounder in the 2012 draft should earn a call up to Corpus Christi later this year.
David Rollins – Rollins has had a very interesting season. In 52.1 IP this year, Rollins has a 3.93 ERA. However, Rollins has struggled mightily when he is the starter. In 26.1 IP as a starter, Rollins has a 6.49 ERA and has allowed 42 runners on base (.295 BAA). When in relief, Rollins has a 1.38 ERA and his BAA is just .148. This is definitely an interesting situation to monitor over the season, especially when the Astros decide to stop tandem starting pitching.
Quad Cities RiverBandits
Carlos Correa – Yea I was tempted to put Singleton here, but decided not to. The first overall pick last year, Correa struggled early with the cold weather, but has picked it up as of late. Correa has hit 3 HR’s with 10 2B’s in 41 games. Correa was injured early on as well, which could have affected his numbers. He now has a .289 average, to go along with a .399 OBP and .820 OPS. Expect Correa to stay in Quad Cities most, if not all of the year.
Teoscar Hernandez – Hernandez has had his hot and cold streaks this season. In 49 games, Hernandez has 3 HR’s and 9 2B’s. He has hit just .252 this season, though has stolen 15 bases and only been caught twice. Hernandez is an interesting prospect to keep your eyes on throughout the rest of the season.
Lance McCullers Jr. – It took him way to long to do it, but he finally got his first win during a one inning, rain-shortened, performance this past week. McCullers has a low 1.90 ERA in his 42.2 IP. He has struck out 45 batters while walking 21, and has yet to allow a home run this year. McCullers has looked like a front line starter so far in his short career, and Astros fans should be excited.
Jordan Jankowski – Jankowski has had a very underrated season in his 48.1 IP. He has just a 2.61 ERA and 1.06 WHIP while striking out 42 batters. The 34th rounder in the 2012 draft has been a nice surprise for the Astros, and it will be interesting to see how he pitches the rest of the year
Astros fans; the future is bright, and you should all be keeping up with the minor league recaps and news here at CTH!