Houston Astros Farm Report: Fresno Grizzlies are gearing up for a championship

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The Fresno Grizzlies were happy to get into September after a rough second half of the month of August. The Grizzlies are 5-2 since last Monday though and are going for a sweep of the Salt Lake Bees on Monday before heading into the Pacific Coast League Playoffs.

The Grizzlies lost Max Stassi to the Houston Astros a week early due to Jason Castro‘s groin injury and lost a few more guys to September call-ups. The Astros expectedly called up Preston Tucker after spending a week with the Grizzlies; Joe Thatcher and Jonathan Villar also got the call-up to the big-league club.

In nine games with Fresno, Thatcher allowed only one earned run over 8 2/3 innings with ten strikeouts and a .138 AVG against. Villar spent a bulk of the season with Fresno after Carlos Correa‘s promotion. In 70 games at Fresno, Villar posted a .271/.342/.407 line with 35 SBs.

The Grizzlies will have to go forward without a few of the key members that got them into the playoffs, but they will have their MVP. On Sep. 3, Matt Duffy was named the PCL’s Most Valuable Player; on the season, Duffy is hitting .294/.366/.484 with 20 HRs and 104 RBIs.

Missing the cut

L.J. Hoes did not receive the call up for September after spending time off and on with the Astros this season. After hitting .327 before the All-Star break, Hoes has only hit .208 since, but still maintained a solid .341 OBP. Alex Presley was another name not called up when the calendar turned over due to offensive struggles. Presley has hit only .247 since the break, including a stretch with only two hits over his last eight games.

Even though it likely won’t happen until next season, Andrew Aplin may be a name called upon soon. He’s certainly got one former Houston Astros’ endorsement.

Aplin, a 5th-round pick in the 2012 Draft, began the season with Fresno, but struggled to hit over .200 and was sent back to Corpus Christi in May. Aplin was able to find his swing at Double-A and the centerfielder slashed .343/.458/.448 before a promotion back to Fresno. Since the All-Star break, Aplin is hitting .351/.462/.402 with 11 SBs.

More from Prospects

On Saturday against Salt Lake, Mark Appel made his last regular season start for Fresno. Appel got the win, giving up only two runs and three hits while striking out seven over 6 2/3 innings. Jon Singleton has slumped mightily as of late but went 2-for-3 with a pair home runs to lead the offense for Fresno in a 4-2 victory.

Notables

  • Dan Straily had lost his last three games, including a Thursday loss when he gave up four runs on three walks over five innings.
  • Luis Cruz shut down the Albuquerque Isotopes on Wednesday, tossing seven shutout innings while striking out nine and walking none.
  • Tony Kemp finished the month of August with a .315/.398/.466 line after struggling in July.
  • Tyler White is still maintaining a .367 average and hit two home runs last Monday to lead the way offensively for the Grizzlies.

Coming Up

The Grizzlies will start the playoffs on Sep. 9 by facing the El Paso Chihuahua’s in the PCL Playoffs. The first two games will be played at home in Fresno before the series moves to El Paso.

Next: Keeping up with the Houston Astros Prospects: Connor Goedert

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