If you frequent this site, Astros broadcasts, Twitter, the internet, any coffee shop in America, any watercooler at any office, or any dating app, you are aware of a Major League Baseball infielder by the name of Alex Bregman. Chances are, you’ve heard of his fellow Fresno Grizzly A.J. Reed as well. Maybe your interest in Fresno Grizzlies players extends to the pitching staff, where you are also well aware of gentlemen by the names of Musgrove and Hoyt.
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Bregman, not unlike every hyped Astros prospect in the last three years, has struggled a bit since his debut. His lone hit came on a bloop single despite missing a game-altering grand slam by maybe two feet a few nights before. His swings look good, but he’s simply missing the ball. He’s only 22 (of note, as that’s older than Carlos Correa) and has proved all that he can prove in Triple A. He just needs more exposure to MLB pitching, and once he gets adjusted, he’ll be a tremendous asset for the club going forward.
The same applies to Reed. There’s no doubt in his bat, as further enforced by his .436 average with four home runs in 11 games since his demotion. Reed’s value as a patient left-handed hitter with incredible power cannot be overstated, especially if he gets it going in August.
Let’s not forget Yulieski Gourriel, the Cuban icon who is making a cross-continental tour of the Astros’ minor league system before his expected August debut. August Fagerstrom said it perfectly over at FanGraphs: “the Houston Astros just acquired a premium talent near the trade deadline, and they didn’t have to give up any talent of their own, present or future, to do so. Within the month, a Cuban legend will take over at the hot corner for Houston, and they figure they’ll immediately become a better team because of it.”
Hoyt may not be the lefty reliever that Astros fans clamored Luhnow to acquire, but he has demonstrated his ability to get batters out on either side of the plate. In 50 IP, he has 84 strikeouts and 28 saves. Hoyt stands to make an excellent bullpen even stronger.
I wrote about Musgrove last December. While his eye-popping peripherals have come back down to earth a bit during his 2016 campaign, he has maintained his excellent command. He has 87 strikeouts to 10 walks in 16 games across Corpus Christi and Fresno and has never walked more than two batters in a single game. He was, well, pretty spectacular last night.
So, the Astros can immediately upgrade LF, 1B/DH, their starting rotation, and their bullpen. All of their weak spots without giving up prospects. But that’s if these players can perform at the next level, which is the fundamental issue.
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