Astros Trade Rumors: Brett Phillips, A.J. Reed, & Josh Hader

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Astros Double-A Report: Corpus Christi Hooks (July 13-19)

Several members of the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks are prime topics of Astros trade rumors as the July 31 deadline approaches. The Astros may actually be buyers for the first time in many years, and because the farm system is stocked with talent, players such as Brett Phillips, A.J. Reed, Josh Hader, and Joseph Musgrove are mentioned as possible trade bait.

Baseball America placed Hooks outfielder Phillips at #21 in their July 7 Midseason Top 50 Prospects, and although no other Hooks player made the list, all four of these men are serious prospects.

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The upside to offering any of these four in a trade would be for Houston to obtain a front-line, premium starting pitcher. Considered by many to be the prime Astros need to contend for a playoff spot, such a pitcher will command a package of talent.

The downside, of course, is that the Astros spent the past four years or so building the farm system with the priority of giving the parent club the best possible lineup – building from within the organization. Obviously, only some of the minor league talent will end up on the Astros, and the tough choice is to decide whom to keep. Because these Astros minor leaguers are untested at the top level, any team willing to part with a big-name starter is going to ask for a large package of prospects. None of the four players mentioned above is on the 40-man roster, and without such protection, the Astros risk losing them via the Rule Five draft.

Trade proponents insist that it is better to trade prospects rather than risk losing them with no compensation (other than the dollar amount associated with a team taking a player by Rule Five). Trade opponents insist that some on the current 40-man roster should be dealt, or DFA’d, leaving open spots for prospects we surely don’t want to lose. Those would include, in my opinion, Phillips, Reed, Colin Moran, Jack Mayfield, Jon Kemmer, and Chris Devenski.

This is what former Astros star Morgan Ensberg thinks of Jack Mayfield:

The recently promoted Phillips, Reed, and Mayfield are making substantial contributions to this team that already had a core of good young players. Kemmer is not often mentioned in trade talks, and his name is not on the Baseball America prospects list. However, his potent bat is a big part of the picture at Whataburger Field. Third baseman Moran got off to a slow start and spent some time on the disabled list, but has begun to hit and has raised his average to .291 in 53 games.

This week the Hooks went 3-3, bringing their record to 60-33 overall, but only 12-11 in the second half. They are now in third place in the South Division, two games behind first-place Midland.

Teoscar Hernandez leads the Texas League in runs (59). He is the only Hooks player near the top of the league’s offensive leader board.

Kyle Westwood leads Texas League pitchers in complete games (2), and Jandel Gustave is tied for the lead in saves (11). Devenski is second in the league in ERA (1.92), and WHIP (1.02) and, along with Westwood, is tied for second place in wins (7).

Hooks batters lead the league in runs (477), hits (834), RBI (433), stolen bases (111), OBP (.354), and average (.273).

Corpus Christi pitchers lead the league in wins (60), 11 more than second place Midland. They are also first in ERA (3.26), saves (30), fewest runs and earned runs allowed (327, 295), and fewest walks (263).

The cover photo is courtesy of @QCBanditPhotog.

Other notes:

  • After dropping four straight from July 5-8, the Hooks won five in a row from July 9-13.
  • RHP Westwood pitched his second complete game of the season on July 19. He gave up seven hits, three earned runs (four total), walked two, struck out six, and earned the win to bring his record to 7-3. The win ties Westwood with Devenski for the team lead.
  • According to the Hooks’ Twitter account, OF Leo Heras was promoted on July 20 to Triple-A Fresno. Heras was batting .262, with two home runs, 20 RBI, .345 OBP, .366 slugging percentage, and a .711 OPB in 59 games.

Next: Houston Astros Farm Report: Domingo Santana Breaks Record

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