Astros Double-A Report: Corpus Christi Hooks
The Corpus Christi Hooks were having a dream season. They set a franchise record for wins, sent several players to the Major Leagues, hosted the league All-Star Game, and had the Manager of the Year. They had excellent hitting, superb pitching, and sterling defense. They blew away the competition in the first half, and became only the second Texas League team in twenty years to win as many as 89 games.
Then on Saturday, September 12, the dream became a memory when the Hooks dropped their third straight playoff game and were eliminated in the opening round.
More from Prospects
- Astros 1st-Round Draft Pick Drew Gilbert Done for the Year
- Astros Utility Prospect David Hensley Called Up to MLB
- Who Should the Astros Consider for a September Call-Up?
- Could the Astros Have 2 Rookie Catchers Next Year?
- First-Round Pick Drew Gilbert Already Called Up to Single-A
It was not for lack of effort – the Hooks 2015 season was marked by a constant push to be the best. Unfortunately, they were unable to solve Midland pitching to score enough runs, and RockHounds hitters got the best of Hooks pitchers. Regardless, Corpus Christi had an exceptional season.
They had some of the best hitters in the minor leagues: Carlos Correa, Tony Kemp, Tyler White, A.J. Reed, Jon Kemmer, Brett Phillips, and others. The pitching staff included many promising young hurlers, such as Lance McCullers, Jr., Vincent Velasquez, Michael Feliz, Mike Hauschild, Kyle Westwood, Chris Devenski, Jandel Gustave, Joseph Musgrove, and many others. During the season, sixteen of the Astros’ top 30 prospects wore a Hooks uniform.
Minor league baseball teams tend to have many roster changes throughout the season, making it difficult for the manager and coaches to maintain continuity. Manager Rodney Linares spent the summer of 2015 re-writing his lineup because so many players came through Whataburger Field. Players often know each other as they move through the system, however, constant changes affect the way a team plays. Linares is one of the best managers in baseball, and his Manager of the Year Award affirms his ability to keep his team focused and headed in the right direction.
Tyler White at third – Photo Credit to Tammy Tucker @HooksFanTammy
Brad Starr, Hooks clubhouse and equipment manager, had his hands full with the revolving door of player changes throughout the summer, making sure everyone had the gear they needed. Sue Burke, Hooks team seamstress, exhibited her expertise, spending a great deal of time applying names and numbers to uniforms. Corpus had 13 players promoted to Triple-A, sent three players directly to the Astros, and welcomed an equal number of new men to replace those who moved on. Sue had a lot of sewing to do to keep the uniforms up to date. The combined efforts of everyone in the organization came together to make for one of the best seasons in Texas League history.
The Hooks enjoy the benefit of belonging to an organization that has made excellent draft picks and key trades in recent years that keep quality players performing at all levels of the system. The result is that the Hooks roster was stocked all season with top talent, even when many of those players moved up to Triple-A Fresno or to the Astros.
Although the Hooks lost in the first round of the playoffs, the 2015 season should be considered a success. They spent most of the year winning, and that helps to build momentum for the future, wherever the men on this team play next season.
Photos courtesy Tammy Tucker.