Astros Double-A: A.J. Reed Promoted, Joins Struggling Hooks

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Astros Double-A Report: Corpus Christi Hooks (July 6-12)

After dominating the Texas League in the first half of the 2015 season, the Hooks began moving in the wrong direction. A season-worst four losses in a row from July 5-7 put the Hooks near the bottom of the South Division, an unfamiliar position for Rodney Linares and his men. The good news is that Corpus got another slugger with the promotion of A.J. Reed on July 11.

The Hooks started the week 0-4 (including July 5) with 12 runs, before turning it around and winning the next four (23 runs). The four wins brought their second half record to 9-8 (57-30 overall), and a fourth place slot in the Texas League’s South Division. The three road losses in Springfield from July 5-7 marked the first time in 2015 the Hooks were swept in a series. The 9-3 loss on July 8 against the Tulsa Drillers was the biggest loss suffered by the Hooks all season and is the longest losing streak Corpus has endured in 2015. (MiLB.com)

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Since losing hitters Tony Kemp, Andrew Aplin, and AA Home Run Derby winner Tyler White to Triple-A, the Hooks were struggling to put runs across the plate. Although OF Jon Kemmer and 1B Conrad Gregor continue to hit, and despite receiving the boost of Brett Phillips and Jack Mayfield from Class-A Lancaster, wins have been scarcer than in the first half.

Hooks fans got some good news on July 11 when California League All-Star A.J. Reed was promoted to Double-A. Reed joins former JetHawks teammates and fellow All-Stars Phillips and Mayfield in Corpus Christi. The addition of Reed’s extremely potent bat should help the Hooks put up some great numbers as they work through the second half. Reed’s statistics at Lancaster were stunning. In 82 games, he led the California League in runs (75), home runs (23), RBI (81), average (.346), total bases (203), walks (59), OBP (.449), slugging (.638), OPS (1.088), and was second in hits (110). (Baseball-Reference)

Houston Astros: A.J. Reed is the next Mega Prospect

All three Class-A All-Stars now with Corpus have some special talents that will come in handy at Whataburger Field. Hooks fans may have lost seeing Carlos Correa, Kemp, and White, but the new guys from Lancaster have massive potential. We have already seen some of what Phillips and Mayfield can do, and the arrival of Reed signals more to come.

Conrad Gregor (1B) leads the Hooks in hits with 70, despite batting just .250. He also leads the team in doubles (18), RBI (42), and walks (40). Kemmer leads in total bases (107), average (.323), OBP (.402), slugging (.549), and OPS (.951), among Hooks players with enough at-bats to qualify with league leaders. Teoscar Hernandez leads in runs (56) and stolen bases (21), and new teammate Brett (Maverick) Phillips leads in triples with three, in only 15 games.

All-Star starting pitcher Chris Devenski continues to lead the Hooks in wins (7), despite not getting a win in more than a month. Kyle Westwood is second with six. Jandel Gustave is the Hooks’ saves leader (11), Devenski in innings (79), and strikeouts (68).

Devenski is second in the Texas League in ERA (1.37) and WHIP (0.96). Gustave is first in saves (11).

As a team, the Hooks held onto the league lead in batting (.273), runs (436), hits (783), RBI (396), stolen bases (107), and OBP (.352).

Although the Hooks have struggled in the second half, their overall lead in wins is still significant, 57 to Midland’s 46. Hooks pitchers have the lead in ERA (3.11), saves (29), fewest runs allowed (291), fewest earned runs (263), fewest walks (239), and are tied with Tulsa for the lead in WHIP (1.25).

This week, Corpus Christi finishes the home stand with a game against Springfield, and then goes on the road for four games at Frisco. The next home stand will begin on July 19 when the Hooks host the Midland RockHounds.

Other notes:

  • OF Leo Heras was placed on the seven-day disabled list on July 6.
  • RHP Vincent Velasquez was optioned to Corpus on July 7. He was not expected to pitch for the Hooks; the Astros are reportedly giving him a mental break.
  • Chad Qualls pitched one inning on July 7 in a rehab assignment. He threw nine pitches (six strikes), allowing no base runners and no strikeouts.
  • Newcomer Jack Mayfield went 4 for 4 in his Double-A debut on July 7. After six games, Mayfield is hitting .421 with two home runs and a 1.311 OPS.
  • Qualls started again on July 9 against Tulsa. He threw 14 pitches in 2/3 of an inning, giving up a home run and a double before being replaced.
  • RHP Scott Feldman started for the Hooks on July 10 in his rehab assignment. He went five innings, giving up six hits, an earned run, walked two, struck out four, and got the win.
  • OF Brandon Meredith was released on July 12. He was hitting .248 with four home runs, 23 RBI, .331 OBP, and only one error in 40 games.

Next: Astros Minors Report: Corpus Christi a Hotbed for Talent

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