Astros Double-A Report: Corpus Christi Hooks (August 24-30)
The Astros’ George Springer made his long-awaited rehab start on August 29 for Corpus Christi, after sitting on the bench for nearly two months with a cast on his arm. Springer took batting practice earlier this week in New York and Minneapolis, and then flew to Houston to prepare to play for the Hooks on Saturday.
The man who has become a spark for the first place Astros, suffered wrist fractures after being hit by a pitch in a game against Kansas City on July 2. He is close to a highly anticipated return to the Astros – not a moment too soon, as Houston heads into the September stretch with high hopes for a playoff appearance.
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In the game against San Antonio, Springer batted leadoff, played right field, had one hit, a strikeout, and scored a run in four at bats before being replaced by Teoscar Hernandez. Although the Astros want him back as soon as possible, it is likely Springer will play for the Hooks for a week or so. The theory, of course, is to bring an injured player up to speed with a minor league stint, however it can easily be argued that Springer could step right back into his role with the Astros without rehab appearances.
Sluggers A.J. Reed and Jon Kemmer continue their barrage on Texas League pitchers. Reed, listed as the Astros’ #5 prospect, leads the Minor Leagues in home runs with 33. His .349/.440/.628, and 119 RBI is among the best in baseball, and his .375 pace with four home runs over his last 10 games shows him to be one of the hottest hitters in the game. Kemmer is on a torrid pace in his last ten contests, hitting .436 with 17 hits and two home runs. He leads the TL in average (.327), slugging percentage (.577), and OPS (.977), and is second in the league in home runs and OBP (18, .418).
Kemmer is a serious contender for MVP this season. He has been a consistent hitter and run producer at the plate; his defense has been solid, with five outfield assists, and only three errors (one at first base). You have to wonder why a player of his caliber isn’t on the list of top prospects. With his outstanding play in 2015, Kemmer should be a lock to change to a Fresno Grizzlies uniform next season, with a legitimate chance at seeing some time with the Astros.
Michael Feliz (#6) is 5-2, 1.46 ERA in the last 10, while Joseph Musgrove (#9) is 6-0, with a 2.13 ERA, seven walks, and 45 strikeouts in 55 innings. Chris Devenski (#18 prospect) leads the league in ERA, at 2.80.
Twitter followers should note that a significant number of recent tweets from MiLB.com mention Astros minor leaguers and their accomplishments. Houston farm hands are making the baseball world take notice. Astros fans should smile knowing that the Astros farm system is stocked with so much promising talent.
Springer cover photo courtesy Tammy Tucker.
- Rodney Linares was named the Texas League Manager of the Year. Linares is in his ninth season managing in the Astros minor league system, and won championships piloting the California League Lancaster JetHawks in 2012 and 2014. He was the 2013 California League’s Manager of the Year.
- The Hooks were 4-2 this week. With their 83rd win on August 30, they tied the franchise record
- Kemmer and Reed, have nine game hitting streaks as of August 30. Vasquez’s eight game streak ended Saturday.
- Four Hooks were named to the TL Post Season All-Star team: pitchers Devenski, and Jandel Gustave, along with Kemmer, and infielder Moran.
- RHP Travis Ballew moved up on August 30 to the Fresno Grizzlies. The 4th year pro appeared in 47 games for the Hooks in 2015, with a 4-5 record, 4.04 ERA, 23 walks, and 53 strikeouts.
- LHP Gonzalo Sanudo was assigned to the Hooks from Diablos Rojos del Mexico.