Astros Prospect Joe Musgrove Nearing Major League Chance?

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Astros Double-A Report: Corpus Christi Hooks (August 10-16)

Joseph Musgrove, the Astros #10 prospect, is making a strong case for advancement in the system. The 6’5″, 255-pound right-hander leads all Astros minor league pitchers in wins and is third in strikeouts. His 12 wins place him near the top of the minor league leaderboard and help to present clear and convincing evidence that he should soon stand on major league mounds.

The 22-year-old was a 2011 compensation draft pick by Toronto and was acquired by the Astros in a 2012 trade for J.A. Happ. His first three professional seasons were not very impressive. However, he has improved dramatically since then.

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In 2011, his Rookie League record was 1-1, with a 4.01 ERA, in 24.2 innings. His 18 strikeouts against only five walks and a 0.97 WHIP were indications of future success. He spent the next two seasons also in the Rookie League, with less than impressive numbers, other than posting 49 strikeouts against eight walks in 49.2 innings.

The following season, Musgrove moved up to the Tri-City Valley Cats in the Short Season, Class A New York-Penn League, and he began to show what he could really do. He spent the entire 2014 season with Tri-City, compiling a 7-1 record, with a 2.81 ERA in 77 innings. Once again, his strikeout to walk ratio was notable: 67/10. That solid campaign earned him a promotion to the Full Season, Class A Quad Cities River Bandits for the following year.

If 2014 was Musgrove’s breakout season, 2015 has cemented his place among the Astros Top 30 prospects. Musgrove began the year at Quad Cities, posting a 4-1 record with a miniscule 0.70 ERA, one walk, and 23 strikeouts in 25.2 innings. He moved up to Advanced Class A Lancaster on May 9, where he was undefeated (4-0), with a 2.40 ERA, one walk, and 43 strikeouts in 30 innings.

“He has been impressive, not only with his stuff, but with his composure” – Rodney Linares

Are we beginning to notice a pattern here? If you go to the plate expecting to draw a walk against Musgrove, it’s not likely to happen. The chances are far greater that you will trudge sadly back to the dugout after getting nothing but air with your bat.

One month after joining Lancaster, Musgrove was on the move again, to Double-A Corpus Christi. To no one’s surprise, he has continued his assault on minor league batters, but it’s not only his pitching prowess, according to Hooks Manager Rodney Linares.

“He has been impressive, not only with his stuff, but with his composure,” said Linares in this San Diego Tribune story by John Maffei.

Musgrove’s Double-A numbers are further proof that the California native is on the verge of reaching the Major Leagues. His Corpus record is 4-0, 2.20 ERA, six walks and 33 strikeouts in 45 Texas League innings.

“I have grown and matured since then [2011]; my baseball IQ has improved as I have picked up little things to help me pitch better,” said Musgrove in a June 2015 phone interview with CTH Editor Eric Huysman.

Those “little things,” as Musgrove put it, should make Astros fans anxious to see what he can do against big league hitters.

“I love this game. I wait all week to get the ball, so I’ve learned to how to prepare and what works best,” said Musgrove in the Maffei story.

His attitude is decidedly Major League, as shown by the above quotes. His preparations should soon pay off, and Astros fans can look forward to seeing Musgrove in the Astros’ home whites very soon.

Cover photo courtesy of @QCBanditPhotog.

Other notes:

  • OF Leonardo Heras returned to the Hooks from Triple-A Fresno on August 11. Heras hit .194 in nine games with the Grizzlies after starting the season with Corpus.
  • OF Jon Kemmer had a 12 game hitting streak that ended on August 14. During the span, he hit .372 with 11 extra-base hits and nine RBI. He leads the Texas League in average (.316), slugging percentage (.565), OPS (.977), and is second in OBP (.412), yet is not on the Astros Top 30 prospects list.
  • As of Saturday, August 15, the Hooks have the most wins in the Astros minor league system: 75.
  • 1B A.J. Reed continues to lead all Astros minor league hitters (with more than 79 AB) in average (.339), home runs (29), and RBI (107). He also has a nine-game hitting streak.
  • Hooks playoff tickets went on sale on Monday, August 17.

Next: Astros Minors: J.D. Davis Explodes for Lancaster JetHawks

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