Vanderbilt University is quickly becoming a feeder for the Houston Astros Double-A affiliate. Monday afternoon, July 21, saw several people tweet that Conrad Gregor had been promoted from Class-A Advanced ball in Lancaster. He joins Tony Kemp as former Commodores working their way through the Astros minor league system.
Gregor, a first baseman, was a 4th round selection of the 2013 MLB Amateur draft. Chris Abshire of MLB.com summarized Gregor as “advanced college bat with an idea at the plate and power potential” coming out of his junior season in college. Abshire’s article can be found here.
So far Conrad is living up to that expectation. In his first stint in professional ball, as a member of the short season Tri-City ValleyCats team, Gregor hit for a slash line of .289/.379/.385. That batting line came with 74 games and 317 plate appearances. One should note that his plate discipline led to walking 37 times against 43 strikeouts. That performance earned him the promotion to Class-A ball for the Quad Cities River Bandits to begin the 2014 campaign.
My guess is that Gregor will finish the 2014 season with the Corpus Christi Hooks. He began this season in Class-A ball with a .298 batting average and a .407 on-base percentage. The promotion to Lancaster certainly helped his slugging percentage as he hit 12 home runs against the lone homer for the River Bandits. But the California League has been dubbed as a very hitters’ friendly league. Through 47 games there he hit for a .367 batting average.
Overall on the 2014 season his plate discipline is evidenced through 55 walks to 59 strikeouts. That has helped him to a .429 on-base percentage. His batting average between two levels this season is .334.
Whether or not he will continue to tap into his power potential is to be determined. His ISO was fairly low at the lower levels of the minor league system (.096, .112) while his time in Lancaster saw his ISO rise to .311; heavily skewed, in my opinion, by the environments within the California League.
Many people have noted that the jump to the Texas League is where the organization truly begins to test a hitters’ ability. Given his movement thus far through the system, I think Houston could get a glimpse of Gregor late in the 2015 season.
Gregor went 2×4 with a pair of singles in his Texas League debut as the Hooks fell to the Missions by a final score of 8-3.