Houston Astros Farm Report: Danny Worth, Tony Kemp leading Fresno Grizzlies offense

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Mar 4, 2016; Kissimmee, FL, USA; Houston Astros second baseman Tony Kemp (78) tags St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Aledmys Diaz (73) as he slides into second base for the out during the inning at Osceola County Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 4, 2016; Kissimmee, FL, USA; Houston Astros second baseman Tony Kemp (78) tags St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Aledmys Diaz (73) as he slides into second base for the out during the inning at Osceola County Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Astros’ Fresno Grizzlies sit at 4-5 after first nine games

The Fresno Grizzlies had an up and down week alternating wins and losses against the Salt Lake Bees (Los Angeles Angels) before facing the Las Vegas 51s (New York Mets) for the weekend. The Grizzlies won the opener of their series against Las Vegas before losing consecutive games for the first time in 2016. The team averaged four runs a game while allowing only a little over 3.5 runs, but finished the week with three wins and four losses.

  • Monday – 5-2
  • Tuesday – L 1-2
  • Wednesday – 6-0
  • Thursday – 9-10
  • Friday 2-1
  • Saturday 5-7
  • Sunday 0-3

Offense

2013 5th-round draft pick Tony Kemp went 11-for-26 this week and is second on the club with a .394 batting average early on. Kemp is also tied with the team AVG leader Danny Worth for the highest on-base percentage at .474. Splitting time between second base and outfield, Kemp is an undersized, but speedy player splitting time between second base and the outfield. Although he’s blocked from an opportunity to start with the Houston Astros, the team will likely find a way to utilize his tools at some point this season, especially if the team runs into an injury problem at any point.

Danny Worth is likely a name Astros fans are not familiar with, but he slashed an impressive .326/.408/.581 in Spring Training after joining the club early in 2016 on a minor-league contract. A middle infielder, Worth is leading the Fresno Grizzlies offense early on after spending all of last season with the Triple-A Reno Aces (Arizona Diamondbacks). Initially a second-round pick of the Detroit Tigers in 2007, Worth has played in 133 MLB games since 2010 but has never been able to stick. Through nine games, though, the right-handed hitting Worth is slashing a ridiculous .424/.474/.818 with three home runs, eight RBIs and a pair of doubles.

Colin Moran also put up impressive numbers in Spring Training (.349/.417/.628, 3 HR, 9 RBIs), and is carrying that success over early in the year. Through the first week and a half of baseball, he’s slashing .323/.371/.484 with a home run and eight RBIs. The only knock on him early on is that he’s struck out 11 times in 31 at bats while walking only three times. With 2015 PCL MVP Matt Duffy rejoining the Grizzlies, the two third baseman will likely split time at the hot corner when Duffy isn’t trying his hand at left field.

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A.J. Reed hit home runs in consecutive games on Thursday and Friday night. Friday night’s blast was an opposite field, game-winning shot for the Grizzlies. Reed has been boom or bust so far, though, collecting multiple hits in four games and going hitless in the other five. He finished the weekend 0-for-9 after his home run on Friday night.

Matt Duffy returned to the lineup Wednesday night after spending the beginning of the year with the Astros. Duffy has yet to get his feet back underneath him, going only 3-for-20 in his first five games back with Fresno. If anyone has an excuse for a slow start, though, it’s Duffy; the third baseman only had three at-bats with the Astros through the first week or so before he was sent down in favor of Evan Gattis. It’s worth noting that Duffy has played a bit of left field in his return to Triple-A, joining other players trying to make themselves as versatile as possible in an attempt to join the big-league club.

Jon Singleton struggling with the Houston Astros? Characteristic. Singleton struggling with Triple-A pitching? Uncharacteristic. After a few seasons of hot starts at Triple-A, the big lefty had only one hit on the week (1-for-21) after a three-hit game to close out last weekend. Singleton was given the day off on Sunday, but on a somewhat positive note, he only struck out three times this week while walking five times.

Pitching

Brad Peacock has thrown at least one game with the Houston Astros over the past three seasons and is working to be available to the club this year should his name be called. After dealing with injury problems in 2015, Peacock is throwing well through his first starts with the Grizzlies. The righty tossed five scoreless innings Friday (4 BBs, 6 Ks) after allowing two earned through five innings on Opening Day for Fresno. He may play a role similar to Dan Straily‘s in 2015 – anchoring the Triple-A rotation and joining the Astros if injury plagues the team’s rotation.

Next: Bold Prediction: Colin Moran will be Astros third baseman

Michael Feliz threw over 100 pitches in relief in the Houston Astros’ second game of the season against the New York Yankees. The hard-throwing Feliz was tagged for six earned runs over 4 1/3 innings in New York before the team sent him down and called up Chris Devenski for bullpen help. Feliz struggled badly in his first start with Fresno, lasting only 3 1/3 innings while allowing seven earned runs on six hits (one home run) and four walks while striking out four.

**Stats from MiLB.com**

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