The recent call-ups of Tony Kemp and Colin Moran have left the Houston Astros’ minor league affiliates thin.
The biggest of these call-ups is the star pitcher, and former Player Spotlight focus, Joseph Musgrove. As Musgrove continues to pitch extremely well in Triple-A ball, one player has been slightly overlooked: Nick Tanielu. He has been promoted to Double-A after raking all year-long and earns the Player Spotlight for this week.
Tanielu was a 14th round pick by the Astros in the 2014 MLB Draft. He spent his entire inaugural season in Tri-City. He was an All-Star in the New York-Penn League and hit .300 exactly, collecting 70 hits in only 62 games. He was also MVP of the All-Star Game. He got the promotion to Quad-Cities the next year, this time improving to a .308 average with 129 hits and 70 RBIs in 110 games.
This year he has completely broken out, as seen by the recent promotion to Double-A. In Class-A Advanced Lancaster, Nick hit a scorching .363 and had already picked up 28 RBIs in 34 games. He has still played less than ten games for Corpus Christi thus far, but the future is bright for Tanielu.
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A couple of the strengths possessed by Tanielu are the ability to hit for average and being able to play multiple positions effectively. Over his minor league career, Nick has hit .313 with a .358 On Base Percentage. He also has shown promise as being a good utility player, as he has played third base, second base, and first base well in his three minor league years.
There are areas where Tanielu could improve in such as hitting for power and drawing walks. Nick has shown very little power in his career, but this year he does have five home runs already, more than he had in his first professional season. He also does not draw very many walks, only 53 so far in his 213 minor league games. But the future is bright for Nick as he continues to improve and mold into a great player.
What role could Nick Tanielu play for the Houston Astros? The Astros, already fairly stacked in the infield for years to come, could use him as a Marwin Gonzalez type utility man should Margo not be on the team in a couple of years. The Astros could also like they’re doing with other talented infielders, try to convert Tanielu to the outfield.
He could also be a piece in a big trade should the Astros need to do so. Wherever he ends up, Nick Tanielu looks to be a talented player for years to come. Tanielu will also be a guest this week on @TalkingStros live from Brewster Street Icehouse on Sunday Noon-2pm.
*All stats via milb.com*