While the Astros stumbled into the All-Star break and out of first place, the Fresno Grizzlies continued their recent success, winning four of six games again this week. At the break, the Grizzlies have a nine-game division lead and a strong 53-38 record, a testament to manager Tony DeFrancesco considering all the players that suited up in a Grizzlies uniform.
Fresno scored more runs (509) than any other team in the Pacific Coast League at the break and have the second highest OBP (.352).
Mark Appel shines in third start
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Will Mark Appel be the next pitcher to debut with the Astros this season? The right-hander threw 6 2/3 scoreless innings on Wednesday. In his last two starts, Appel has an ERA of 2.19. It’s a small sample size, but a promising trend in the right direction.
The possibility of Appel reaching the Astros this year may depend on the Astros’ activity at the trade deadline. If the Astros stay put at the deadline, Appel should at least get a spot start or two as the team tries to limit Lance McCullers‘ and Vincent Velasquez‘s innings this season.
MLB All-Star Futures Game
On Sunday, Mark Appel and Tony Kemp represented the Houston Astros in MLB’s showcase for young, upcoming talent.
Tony Kemp started at second base and led off for the American team in the MLB All-Star Futures Game. In five innings of work, Kemp went 0-for-1 with two walks and a run scored.
Mark Appel came on in the top of the fifth inning and impressed. The big right-hander’s fastball touched 98 MPH and he gave up only one hit that was quickly erased by a double play.
Tyler White’s hot start with Fresno
In his first 44 at-bats at Triple-A, Tyler White is hitting a ridiculous .432/.510/.682 with two home runs. Of course, those numbers are not even close to sustainable — White hit .284/.415/.426 and seven home runs in 59 games with Corpus Christi — but they deserve recognition.
A round 33 pick in 2013, White has played mostly first base and DH. If he keeps up his performance, he may have an opportunity to be a spark plug in the Astros’ lineup and replace one of the current, under-performing first basemen. White has at least two hits in eight of his first eleven games with Fresno and still managed to collect two RBIs in his only hitless game at Triple-A.
What’s best about the Astros’ minor-league system is the “next man up” mentality. As players have come and gone, the minor-league teams continue to win and other players show what they are capable of.
PCL All-Star Perez continues to impress
Tyson Perez continues to put up strong numbers in Fresno. Perez, a 17th round draft pick in 2011, actually played his college ball in Fresno. At the break, the right-handed reliever has a 2.43 ERA and 0.75 WHIP in 33+ innings at Triple-A. If the Astros bullpen wasn’t one of their biggest strengths, Perez would likely be with the team already, but don’t be surprised if his number is called after the break.
Pitcher Tyson Perez and Outfielder L.J. Hoes are the Fresno Grizzlies’ representatives in the 2015 Triple-A on Wednesday. The team will be back in action on Thursday for a four-game set at home against El Paso.
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