Domingo Santana - photo by Tammy Tucker

July Flurries: Domingo Santana, Kike Hernandez and More

An infielder who began the 2014 season in Double-A Corpus Christi. A prized prospect who has been rumored to be mistakenly left available as a PTBNL in late July of 2011. A young left-handed reliever who struggled in high-leverage situations to begin the season at the major league level. The trio creates an interesting set of roster moves for the Houston Astros to begin the month of July.

Jerome Williams was notified last night that he was being designated for assignment. In February the Astros signed him to a $2.1 million contract to be a swingman for their developing pitching staff. Unfortunately, he had the tendency to give up runs more often than not. Overall his time with the Astros included an ERA of 6.04 through 47 2/3 innings pitched. Perhaps the scariest statistic is that the H/9 rate was 11.1 combined with a 1.1 home runs per nine innings rate. His DFA opens up a roster spot on the 40-man.

Jonathan Villar was also optioned to OKC following Monday’s loss. Villar seemed to never really get it going at the plate following his hot start to the 2014 season. I remember when there were rumors of him being all-star worthy with his 5 home runs in just over the first month of the season. His batting average got down to .200 with an OBP of .255 through his 71 games so far in the 2014 season with the big league club.

These moves are official per the Astros twitter account announced late Tuesday morning. Brian McTaggart of MLB.com broke the news way early in the morning hours. In the post Tags mentions Domingo Santana, Enrique Hernandez, and Kevin Chapman as being the promotions from Triple-A Oklahoma City. Anthony Bass was with the team last night but has not officially been reinstated from the disabled list.

Santana 2014: .304/.383/.502 while hitting 13 home runs and having 52 RBI. The main source of concern with Santana is his strikeout rate as in 319 at-bats he struck out 99 times (31.03%). Regardless of that statistic, Santana has posted a nice differential between batting average and on-base percentage in the minor leagues. He has a career .273/.363/.474 slash line through parts of 6 minor league seasons.

Promoting Santana was something that we expected later in the season. In August or September, later. Not a few hours. Jeff Luhnow had been pretty adamant about Santana needing to improve some parts of his game. Even as of late Monday afternoon, Evan Drellich was getting information that Santana was still not ready.

Kike Hernandez - photo by Tammy Tucker

Kike Hernandez – photo by Tammy Tucker

Hernandez: In 10 games at CC: .325 batting average. Through 67 games at Oklahoma City, he was on a torrid pace at the plate with a .337 batting average. He has been extremely versatile in the field for the Redhawks. His most played position was at second base. He will likely see time at shortstop and might even be a designated hitter a time or two.

Chapman: Wow. The guy blew a save earlier this season at Texas and was quickly optioned to Triple-A. But that appears to have simply been due to his lack of experience in a certainly high profile situation. In the 2 and a half months that he pitched out of the Redhawks’ bullpen he posted a microscopic 0.94 ERA. His 6.0 H/9 rating gets me excited to see what he can accomplish this season. Kevin had also not allowed a home run through 28 & 2/3 innings pitched.

With the moves being official: Kevin Chapman, Enrique Hernandez, and Domingo Santana promoted to the Houston Astros. Jerome Williams was DFA’d, Jonathan Villar optioned to Oklahoma City, and Dexter Fowler is being placed on the disabled list due to his back injury. Santana will have to prove his value to the team to stay on the roster as this is likely a temporary move until Fowler is healthy.

 

Tags: Domingo Santana Enrique Hernandez Houston Astros

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