Astros Double-A Report: Corpus Christi Hooks (June 2-8)
Minor League baseball fans learn early on not to get too attached to players, as they don’t stay around for long. Such has been the case in Corpus Christi lately, when Lance McCullers, Jr. made the jump to the Astros, and shortstop Carlos Correa was promoted to Fresno, and then to the Astros.
It happened again Monday, June 8 when news broke that starter Vincent Velasquez (3-0, 1.37 ERA) got THE CALL. Like McCullers (and Jose Altuve and J.D. Martinez in past years) Velasquez went from Double-A to the Major Leagues and will start for Houston on Wednesday against the Chicago White Sox.
We can imagine the mixed emotions felt by Hooks fans – happy to see their guys doing well and advancing to the big club, but sorry to see great players leave Corpus. The good news is, fresh talent awaits at Lancaster with several players hoping to make the move to the Texas League soon.
The Hooks went 4-2 during the week of June 2-June 8, taking 2 out of 3 from both NW Arkansas and Arkansas. Their league-best 37-18 record maintains a firm grip on first place in the South Division, 8.5 games ahead of Midland. They continue to lead the Texas League in several offensive categories, including average (.279), runs (295), hits (517), RBI (267), stolen bases (75), on base percentage (.363), and OPS (on base+slugging %, .770).
Hooks team pitching also features league leaders in ERA (2.99, the only Texas League team under 3.00), saves (18), fewest runs allowed (178), fewest earned runs (161), fewest walks (156), and tied for first in WHIP (walks+Hits+innings pitched, 1.24).
The best team offensive showing of the week was the June 2 win over the NW Arkansas Naturals. The Hooks banged out 12 hits to win 6-1, with six Corpus Christi players getting two hits apiece. The worst game of the week saw the Hooks manage only three hits in a 4-2 loss on June 5 to the Arkansas Travelers.
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The best team pitching performance came in the same game as the big offensive show on June 2. Vince Velasquez won his third game with a spectacular seven inning outing, giving up one run on one hit, a solo home run to Jorge Bonifacio. Velasquez struck out nine and walked only two, giving way to Travis Ballew, who gave up two hits in the final two innings as the Hooks topped the Naturals 6-1. It hardly gets any better than that, and such a performance probably cemented Astros GM Jeff Luhnow’s decision to call the 23-year-old California native to the Majors.
Although the Hooks lost twice this week, pitchers gave up only seven combined runs on 16 hits in those two games. Lack of run support from Hooks hitters contributed as Corpus Christi scored only three runs on ten hits in the losses.
Hooks second baseman Tony Kemp leads the Texas League with a .348 batting average, and on-base percentage (.450). Chris Devenski leads the league in ERA (0.71), is tied for the league lead in wins (6), and tied for the lead in WHIP (0.88).
With the June 7 win against Arkansas, the Hooks’ magic number is down to seven for the first half title. Tuesday, the Hooks begin an eight-day road trip, with a four-game set in Midland, and four in San Antonio. They return on June 17 to Corpus Christi for a long home stand, followed by the Texas League All-Star Game on June 30 at Whataburger Field.
- SS Jiovanni Mier‘s hitting streak ended at 12 games in the June 5 loss to Arkansas.
- 2B Tony Kemp has an 11-game hitting streak, batting .425 during the streak; he did not play on June 7.
- 3B Colin Moran‘s hitting streak is at six games.
- RHP Kyle Westwood was placed on the inactive list
- C Luis Flores was released.
- According to the Fresno Grizzlies Twitter account, RHP Mike Hauschild (5-1, 3.20) and INF Chan Moon were both promoted to Triple-A on Monday, June 8.