This year the Corpus Christi Hooks are not only the most highly regarded team in the Astros’ system, but one of the best teams in all of the minor leagues. Mark Appel and Colin Moran are two first-rounders from the 2013 draft on the club. Carlos Correa and Lance McCullers, Jr, are two 2012 first rounders on the team as well.
MLB Pipeline has a top 30 prospect ranking of every team. This roster in the Texas League South boasts nine young men from this list.
- Carlos Correa (1)
- Mark Appel (2)
- Vincent Velasquez (4)
- Colin Moran (6)
- Teoscar Hernandez (8)
- Josh Hader (9)
- Lance McCullers (10)
- Tony Kemp (14)
- Kyle Smith (19)
Moran, Hader and Smith are the only guys on this list who were acquired via trades. Jeff Luhnow has frequently spoken to the tune of rebuilding the team through the draft and trades to stockpile the system. The last thing is to supplement the major league team with free agents.
One of the most interesting things about this roster is that a core of them have won championships each year in the system. Now it’s tough to break down and say that Player X and Player Y were on the team from Point A in time to Point B in time. What we can say is that that the Quad Cities River Bandits and the Lancaster Jethawks both won their leagues in 2013 and 2014, respectively.
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Out of the gates the Hooks exploded with their offense. The Cardinals AA team had a hard time keeping Hooks players off the bases. In a season opening series on the road, the Hooks averaged 8.667 runs per game to sweep the series. That pace slipped off against the Dodgers’ AA affiliate, yet solid pitching led to a series win. Here are some of the stars from the first two weeks:
- Correa, SS: .356 (16-45), 9 R, 8 2B, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 5 BB/12 SO, SB
- Kemp, 2B: .349 (15-43, 8 R, 2B, 5 RBI, 10 BB/5 SO, 2 SB
- Appel, P: 2-0, 0.90 ERA, 10 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 8 K
- McCullers, P: 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 10 IP, 6 H, 6 BB, 12 K
- Westwood, P: 1-0, 2.00 ERA, 9 IP, 11 H, 1 BB, 5 K
The home crowd at Whataburger Field was treated to 5 scoreless innings tossed by Mark Appel on their opening night against the Cardinals. Overall, the Hooks have opened the season with an 8-4 record, good for first place in the Texas League South. The Angels’ AA affiliate, the Arkansas Travelers, have matched this record in the early going in the Texas League North.
Be sure to check in with Climbing Tal’s Hill every Tuesday for additional updates on the Corpus Christi Hooks on Tuesday mornings, and other talented players on the farm throughout the week!