Obviously these players are worthy of attention, as they represent what Astros GM Jeff Luhnow and the team consider to be the best players in the system, and those most likely to develop into Major Leaguers.
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Still others that are outside the Top 30 are making their cases for attention and advancement. These players are possible hidden gems that although not considered by the Astros as the cream of the crop, could end up outshining their peers.
The Grizzlies have a solid group of players, including several not on the Top 30 list. Many Fresno fans were not pleased when the Giants moved their top minor-league team from Fresno to Sacramento and Fresno ended up with the Astros as the parent club.
The Grizzlies have the second best record in the Pacific Coast League, a ten game lead over the second-place Reno Aces in the PCL’s Pacific Northern Division. They are on pace to have one of the best seasons in the history of the franchise.
Tyler White (1B-3B-DH) is a 24-year-old third-year pro wielding a hot bat for the Grizzlies. He was drafted in the 33rd round in 2013 by the Astros and hit .322 in his first professional season in Rookie and Low-A ball. He hit .290 in 114 games last year between Quad Cities and High-A Lancaster, with 15 combined home runs.
White started this year at Double-A Corpus Christi, where he played in the Texas League All-Star Game and won the All-Star home run competition. After being promoted to Triple-A the day after the All-Star game, his bat got even hotter, at .358 in 28 games with Fresno. Overall, White is hitting .311 in 2015, and .305/.415/.479 for his minor league career.
Double-A Corpus Christi
If you follow the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks, you know that ten members of the team are on the Top 30 prospects list. You also know that Corpus has by far the best record in the Texas League, and it’s not just the Top 30 guys making it happen. Although the Hooks have slipped a bit with the departure of several prospects due to promotion and trades, they still have some solid contributors.
Jon Kemmer (OF) has been one of the Hooks’ best hitters all season. The 24-year-old, also in his third professional year, was drafted in 2013 in the 21st round. He hit only .221 his first season at Tri-City (Short Season A), but he’s gotten better every season since then. In 2014, he hit .291 with 16 home runs between Quad Cities and Lancaster. This year is his best yet – .305/.394/.545, 15 home runs and 52 RBI in 80 games at Double-A.
Kyle Westwood is yet another from the class of 2013 draft that is making a name for himself, yet is not on the Top 30 list. The 24-year-old right-hander was a 13th round pick out of North Florida and is pitching well for Corpus.
He was 2-2 with a 0.81 ERA in 44.2 innings with Tri-City in his first season. Last year, he was a workhorse at Lancaster, pitching 132 innings for the JetHawks and going 8-7 with a 4.32 ERA in the hitter-friendly California League. He walked only 26 while striking out 88 in 27 games. This season, Westwood is 7-5, with a 4.67 ERA and two complete games in 98.1 innings.
Cover photo (Kemmer) by Tammy Tucker.
(All statistics via MiLB.com.)
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