Astros Double-A Report: Corpus Christi Hooks (August 31-Sept. 7)
Astros’ prospects Jon Kemmer, A.J. Reed, and Joseph Musgrove have led with their inspired play all season as they lead the Corpus Christi Hooks into the Texas League playoffs. The Hooks round out a record-breaking regular season this week, and begin preparations for post-season play beginning September 9.
Although Texas League Manager of the Year Rodney Linares has dealt with numerous roster changes throughout the year, his Hooks are in good position to go for the championship with a strong pitching staff, hot hitters, and good defense.
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Linares has a roster full of players he can count on in the playoffs. These pitchers include Kyle Westwood (11-7, 4.23 overall), Chris Devenski (7-4, 3.01), Jandel Gustave (5-2, 2.17, 20 saves), and others. Although ERA’s have climbed in the past two months, the Hooks are still second in the league in that category (3.59). Unfortunately, Musgrove has been shut down for the season, just to limit his innings. He can build off a successful year in 2015, a year where he elevated himself in the rankings.
Strong hitting has been a mainstay for Corpus over the course of the season. Outfielder Kemmer continues to lead the Texas League in batting (.327), and OPS (.988), and is second in OBP (.414), and home runs (18). His teammate Reed leads all professional minor league players in home runs (34), and RBI (126). Outfielder Danry Vasquez’ bat has come alive at the right time, hitting .432 in the last ten games. Catcher Alfredo Gonzalez enters the playoffs hitting .371 in recent games, with infielders Jack Mayfield (.343), Colin Moran (.341), and Jiovanni Mier (.306) close behind.
The Hooks have seen many top players promoted or traded in 2015, yet have maintained their competitive edge as they head to the first round playoff against the Midland RockHounds.
Former Hooks that began 2015 in Corpus and are now with the Astros include Carlos Correa, Lance McCullers, Jr., Michael Feliz, and Vincent Velasquez. Others moved from Corpus to Triple-A Fresno, such as Tony Kemp, Andrew Aplin, Tyler Heineman, Tyler White, Mark Appel, Mike Hauschild, and Travis Ballew. Three key Hooks were traded to Milwaukee for Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers: Brett Phillips, Josh Hader, and Adrian Houser (along with Fresno outfielder Domingo Santana).
Despite the nearly constant flow of players in and out of Whataburger Field, Linares has kept his Hooks winning, boasting one of the best records in professional baseball (89 wins against 51 losses. No other professional baseball team has as many wins). The current Hooks are more than capable of propelling Corpus to greater heights as they pursue the Texas League Championship.
Cover Photo courtesy Tammy Tucker.
- LHP Albert Minnis moved up on August 31 from High-A Lancaster to Corpus Christi.
- The Astros recalled RHP Josh Fields on September 1.
- The win on September 1 was the 84th of the season, a new team record, breaking the mark set in 2013.
- Michael Feliz and George Springer returned to the Astros on September 4.
- RHP Chris Cotton was promoted on September 5 to Triple-A Fresno. Cotton was 2-1 with a 3.05 ERA, 12 walks, 34 strikeouts, five saves, and a 1.19 WHIP in 33 innings for the Hooks. He began the season with Lancaster, where he appeared in 13 games.
- LHP Michael Freeman was promoted on the same day from Lancaster to Corpus Christi. The 6’8”, 235 pound Freeman was 2015, 7th round draft pick for the Astros. He began the season at Quad Cities, where he pitched 18 innings in eight games before moving up to the JetHawks. He threw 18.1 innings in seven games for Lancaster.
- The Hooks closed out the regular season with a 6-2 week, and a record-breaking 89-51 season mark.
- Chris Devenski will start for the Hooks in the first playoff game on Wednesday.