Vincent Velasquez & Lance McCullers, Jr. Recalled by Astros
Astros Double-A Report: Corpus Christi Hooks (August 17-23)
The Astros recalled pitchers Vincent Velasquez and Lance McCullers, Jr. this week after both spent short stints in Double-A. Pitcher Josh Fields returned to Corpus, and OF Preston Tucker went to Fresno to make room for the recalled pitchers.
Velasquez pitched in four games while with the Hooks, throwing 6.2 innings, giving up three runs on five hits, four walks, with eight strikeouts. McCullers pitched only once for Corpus, going three innings, with one run, one hit, three walks, and five strikeouts.
It appears that both will likely be used in long relief for Houston, with occasional spot starts. The Astros have five starters with Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh, Scott Kazmir, Scott Feldman, and Mike Fiers; it is possible they could go with a six man rotation, including McCullers, with Velasquez in the bullpen. It has not yet been announced what will happen with Michael Feliz, who is on the Astros 40-man roster, He will surely be needed by Manager Rodney Linares and the Hooks during the Texas League playoffs, and speculation is that he will remain with Corpus through the playoffs, and then report to Houston.
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The Hooks record this week was 3-3; they are 31-25 in the second half (79-47 overall), in second place, eight games behind Midland in the South Division.
Jon Kemmer leads the league in average (.327), slugging percentage (.527), and OPS (1.001). Hooks hitters lead the Texas League in runs (653), stolen bases (139), and OBP (.355). A.J. Reed‘s 30 home runs and 112 RBI, lead all Astros’ minor league players. His .341 average and 1.046 OPS are best among players with 177 or more at bats, while his .436 OBP is second only to Fresno’s Tyler White (.448, among players with more than 63 at bats.)
Kyle Westwood leads all Texas League pitchers with two complete games. The pitching staff leads the league in wins (79), ERA (3.58), saves (40), fewest runs and earned runs allowed (493, 442), and fewest walks (364). Joseph Musgrove leads all Astros’ minor league pitchers in wins (12).
Statistics via Baseball-Reference.com and MiLB.com.
- RHP Tyler Brunnemann was promoted on August 16 to Corpus Christi from Lancaster. His record with the JetHawks was 4-1, 3.50 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 22 walks, and 70 strikeouts in 61.2 innings.
- Feliz earned his sixth win of the season on August 16, and increased his scoreless innings pitched streak to 26.2. Over the last 10 games, Feliz is 5-2, with a 1.46 ERA in 55.1 innings.
- A.J. Reed won several honors from the California League, according to this August 21 story by Jason Schwartz. Reed was named League MVP, Rookie of the Year, and Post Season All-Star. The 22-year-old first baseman is hitting .472 in his last 10 games with the Hooks; .341 overall in 2015 after hitting .346 in 82 games with the JetHawks.
- RHP Juan Minaya moved up on August 22 to Triple-A Fresno.
- RHP Francis Martes took Minaya’s place at Corpus. The 19-year-old third year pro’s record in 2015 is 7-3, 1.55 ERA, 21 walks, 82 strikeouts, 0.98 WHIP, in 87 innings between Low-A Quad Cities, and Advanced-A Lancaster.
Next: Astros' Prospect Thomas Eshelman Makes First Class-A Start