Astros Double-A Report: Corpus Christi Hooks (June 16-22)
Andrew Aplin (OF), the Hooks leading hitter after Tony Kemp was promoted to Triple-A Fresno, has also moved up to the Grizzlies. Meanwhile, the Hooks were 5-3 in the past week and continue to dominate the Texas League with the best record and the most wins (48-22) in professional baseball.
Speculation is that Aplin’s move may be temporary, as Grizzlies’ outfielder Domingo Santana is getting a chance with the Astros, and L.J. Hoes is on the seven day disabled list for Fresno. Then again, this is Aplin’s chance to prove he belongs in Triple-A, where he hit .200 in 23 games earlier in the 2015 season. Hoes will come off the DL soon, possibly forcing another roster move by the Grizzlies.
The Hooks continue winning despite losing top hitters. The latest win gave Corpus Christi 48 wins, the most in baseball, Majors and Minors. Having already clinched the first half title and a post season playoff spot, the Hooks head into the week before the Double-A All-Star break looking to rack up more wins.
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We continue to wait for the promotions to the Hooks of Class-A Lancaster sluggers 1B A.J. Reed (.335 ave., 18 HR, 65 RBI) and OF Brett Phillips (.320 ave., 15 HR, 53 RBI). These guys are rampaging through the California League and clubbing baseballs all over the ballparks, so it’s only a matter of time before Reed and Phillips move up to play at Whataburger Field. Jack Mayfield, JetHawks second baseman (.308 ave., 7 HR, 39 RBI) may also soon be on the move to Corpus Christi. Although the Hooks are winning with the players they still have, they need those bats to continue their domination of the Texas League.
The week’s best offensive performance happened on June 16, when the Hooks beat the Frisco RoughRiders with seven runs on 15 hits. Andrew Aplin lashed out four hits and Jiovanni Mier had three hits, including a double. As a team, the Hooks hit four doubles that night. The weakest offensive game was the June 21 loss to San Antonio, when the Hooks scored only one run on three hits.
The best pitching performance was the June 18 double-header sweep over Frisco, when Hooks pitchers threw two shutouts. Michael Feliz and Chris Cotton gave up no runs and only two hits in the first game. In the second game, Josh Hader, Juan Minaya, and Travis Ballew allowed four hits and no runs to complete the double shutout.
Although four Hooks pitchers gave up six runs on nine hits on June 19, the biggest output of the week for opposing hitters, they held on for a 7-6 win. The Hooks’ pitching staff has kept the team in contention for a win in just about every game, regardless of whether the hitters produced runs.
Chris Devenski‘s seven wins ties him for the Texas League lead, and Jandel Gustave is tied for the lead in saves (8). Hooks pitchers have a commanding lead in ERA (3.02), saves (24), fewest runs allowed (223), fewest earned runs (205), a slim lead in fewest walks allowed (191), and WHIP (1.23).
Tony Kemp still leads the league in batting average (.358) and On Base Percentage (.457) despite the fact he has not played a TL game in over a week. As a team, the Hooks lead the league in runs (363), hits (644), RBI (328), stolen bases (95), and On Base Percentage (.357).
This week, Corpus Christi continues a home stand, finishing a series with San Antonio (two games), followed by another four games series with Frisco, before the All-Star break. The Texas League All-Star game will be at Corpus Christi’s Whataburger Field on June 30.
- RHP Adrian Houser was promoted on June 18 from Class-A Lancaster to the Hooks. Houser had a 2-2 record, 4.35 ERA, 20 walks, 55 strikeouts in 49.2 innings with the JetHawks.
- RF Andrew Aplin was promoted on June 20 to Triple-A Fresno. Aplin was batting .343 with no home runs and 12 RBI in 31 games at Corpus Christi.
- 3B Colin Moran returned from the disabled list on June 21.
- Mark Appel‘s seven inning complete game win over San Antonio on June 21 brought the Hooks record to 48-20, the first time in the team’s history they have been as many as 28 games over .500.
- The rumors have been swirling the past few days, suggesting that Appel may soon be on his way to Fresno, or even possibly Houston.
- The June 16 loss to the Missions marked the first split series of the season, and ended the Hooks’ series win streak at 10.
- The June 22 loss to San Antonio marked the first back-to-back losses since May 4.
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