Predicting the Houston Astros’ minor league pitcher and hitter of the year
By Eric Huysman
With the end of the Houston Astros minor league seasons with the Fresno Grizzlies win over the Columbus Clippers in the one game series for the Triple-A Championship, soon to follow will be the organizational players of the year awards. I wanted to take a second and attempt to predict who will receive the Astros player and pitcher of the year awards. With the seven of the Astros’ minor league teams making the playoffs this season, there were plenty of good players throughout the system so I might miss a few. Let’s take a shot. Last year Brett Phillips and Josh Hader won those awards, let’s hope that this years winners don’t face the same fate.
Player of the Year PredictionA.J. Reed
playing first. Photo Credit by Tammy Tucker
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Reed would be the obvious choice for player of the year in the Astros minor leagues. The country strong first baseman has mashed with the Lancaster Jet Hawks and Corpus Christi Hooks this season, raking in a little extra dough at Hooks home games with the fans collecting money after every homer that is hit. The Astros could have used him at the major league level, but chose not to add him to the 40-man roster with the upcoming Rule V draft this offseason. The one asset of the game that Reed struggles at is speed. Reed hit 12 homers last season in a shortened first year in the minors, so the emergence of Reed was great for the future of the Astros.
Slash Line: .340/ .432/ .612/ 1.044
Home Runs/ RBI’s: 34/ 127
Walk/ Strikeouts: 86/122
Kemmer won the Hooks player of the year, as I wrote about here: Jon Kemmer wins CC Hooks’ player of the year for 2015. He had a .327/ .414/ .574/ .988 slash line with 18 homers and 65 RBI. I interviewed Kemmer here: Keeping up with the Astros Prospects: OF Jon Kemmer.
Pitcher of the Year
Joe Musgrove Photo Credit by Tammy Tucker
Musgrove was not originally drafted by the Astros; he was acquired in the J.A. Happ trade as part of an 11 player trade. He was in his second year with the Blue Jays after being drafted in the first round when he was traded to Houston. Musgrove had a hard time getting rolling with injuries early in his professional career. He always had the promise of a stud pitcher, so it was comforting to see him break out in 2015. He started the season in Quad Cities, then went to Lancaster, and finished the season with the Hooks. He was shut down early because of innings consideration in stretching him out. The 6’5” right-hander pitched well in all three stops, and could have been a big impact in the playoffs.
Wins – Losses: 12-1
ERA/WHIP: 1.88/ .924
Strikeouts/ Innings pitched: 99/ 100 1/3.
As you can see, he had a strong season and should win the award. Musgrove has 99 problems, but strikeouts aren’t one. I interviewed Musgrove earlier in the season here: Keeping Up with the Astros Prospects: (RHP) Joe Musgrove. One problem the Astros have is that Musgrove is the top available player for the 2016 Rule V draft.
Martes is another player to come out of nowhere this season. Like Musgrove, Martes started in Quad Cities and worked his way up the ladder to the Hooks where you are three hours away from joining the Astros. His numbers were very similar to Musgrove, 8-3/ 2.04 ERA/ 98 strikeouts in 101 2/3 innings.
We will soon know which players will win the awards, but these are the best two in my eyes. Good luck to Musgrove, Martes, Kemmer, and Reed in their future seasons with the Astros. Will there be a place in the rotation for Musgrove? Does Reed take over first base early next year?