Over the remainder of this week I’ll be recapping each Astros farm team’s season up to this point in their season. Each team is a bit past the half-way point, so I’ll be recapping some of the CURRENT players on each squad above Low-A. I’ll choose five hitters and five pitchers to discuss with a few honorable mentions if necessary. Today I’ll be recapping the Corpus Christi Hooks. On Monday I recapped the RiverBandits, and yesterday I recapped the JetHawks.
Led by former Hooks player George Springer, Corpus Christi currently leads the league in doubles, home runs, RBI’s, total bases, and SLG, and not surprisingly lead the Texas League in strikeouts. The pitching staff, though they don’t lead in any pitching category except wins, has had some great pitching performances and were led by former Hooks pitcher Jake Buchanan. Here are the top five hitters and pitchers from the Hooks.
1. Domingo Santana - With the departure of George Springer, Santana has become the top hitting prospect for the Hooks. In 245 at-bats, Santana has a .245 AVG along with a .833 OPS. His 14 HR and 40 RBI’s along with 7 SB are nice numbers for a 20-year old in the Texas League. Santana’s numbers in Lancaster (especially AVG/OPS) were a bit higher, but he has made an impressive jump to Double-A, and looks like he could be a corner outfielder for the Astros in a year or two. As the PTNBL in the Hunter Pence trade, Ed Wade did a great job acquiring four good players for the fan-favorite Pence.
2. Erik Castro - The 25-year old Castro struggled to start this season after coming off a 27 HR, 108 RBI, .894 OPS last year at Lancaster. This year his numbers have come down a bit (not surprising considering Lancaster’s hitters park), but Castro has had a solid year hitting .280 with 9 HR, 37 RBI, and a .818 OPS. The 10th rounder in the 2009 draft, Castro is a bit old for Double-A and will likely finish up the year at Corpus Christi.
3. Jonathan Meyer - The 3rd round pick from the 2009 draft, Meyer has been a solid hitter for the last several years. This year Meyer is hitting .262 with 9 HR and 47 RBI. Depending on what the Astros decide to do with Matt Duffy (at Lancaster), Meyer may stay in Corpus Christi next year as he is still just 22 years old.
4. Rene Garcia - Though he doesn’t bring much pop to the plate, Garcia has done a good job behind the plate for the Hooks. The 23-yeard old was taken in the 35th round of the 2008 draft, and has advanced a level pretty much every season. This year Garcia is hitting .291 with a .760 OPS, something that is respectable for catchers. With good catching depth in the Astros system, Garcia may stick around Corpus for the rest of this season and possibly 2014 as well.
5. Michael Burgess - A career .248 hitter, Burgess has seen his average drop to .208 in his first season in the Astros organization. Originally drafted by the Nationals in the 1st round of the 2007 draft, the Astros selected Burgess in the Rule-V draft during the Triple-A phase this past offseason. Though Burgess’ average is down, he’s hit 11 HR with 34 RBI and a .707 OPS. Burgess is 24 years old and will likely finish off the season with the Hooks.
One of the most promising arms in the Astros system
1. Michael Foltynewicz - The 21-year old Foltynewicz is arguably the best pitching prospect in the Astros farm system. Folty (for short) has a 2.21 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP with 54 strikeouts in 53 innings. A first rounder in the 2010 draft, Folty has topped 100MPH on several occasions this season according to several scouts. Folty will likely finish the season with the Hooks and end up with the RedHawks for the 2014 season.
2. David Martinez - A 25-year old who has been with the Astros for 9 years, Martinez has had an excellent year with the Hooks. In 84.2 innings, Martinez has a 2.02 ERA and a 0.90 WHIP with a 57/13 – K/BB ratio. Martinez has seemed to turn it up this year, since his career numbers are a 3.57 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. Martinez is a bit old for the Texas League and should see time in OKC next season.
3. Bobby Doran - A 4th round pick in the 2010 draft, Doran has had a very solid year for the Hooks. In 76 innings Doran has a 3.32 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP this season. His K/9 is 7.5, up from his 6.4 career rate. Doran has become a solid pitcher in the organization, and could be a future SP4.
4. Nick Tropeano - The 22-year old 5th rounder from the 2011 draft, Tropeano has slowed down a bit this year. After posting a 2.16 ERA in April, Tropeano has posted 5.00+ ERA’s the last two months. Tropeano’s current numbers are; 4.40 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, and a .286 BAA. Tropeano has struggled a bit in the last two months, and scouts don’t see him as anything more than a back-of-rotation pitcher in the future.
5. Carlos Quevedo - Mainly here due to process of elimination, the 23-year old Quevedo has put together a solid season. As both a spot-starter and a reliever, Quevedo has posted a 3.88 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP in 48.2 innings. Quevedo’s main problem is his high HR/9 rate which is 2.0, a full home run more than his career rate. Quevedo doesn’t project as anything more than a long/middle reliever for the Astros.