Astros: Corpus Christi Player Spotlight – Yulieski Gurriel
The Astros will soon have a new player but for today, he plays for the Corpus Christi Hooks
The Corpus Christi Hooks have a new face in town. The face is that of Cuban superstar Yulieski Gurriel. Though he may only be in town for a few more days (hopefully), he definitely can help improve the first place Hooks even more. It will be very fun to see Gurriel take on minor league pitching in his last stop before his promotion to the Astros.
Gurriel was signed by the Astros to a 5-year deal on July 16th after an incredible career in Cuba. Though he is an older player already, 32, he still has the potential to be a great player for the team for several years. He showed some of the potential he has in Lancaster, hitting .429 in 4 games. One of those games he had 5 RBIs, including a grand slam. Though his minor league career has been brief, he is just about ready for the majors.
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Gurriel’s main strength is his hitting. Though he is still a good third baseman, hitting is his bread and butter and what will hopefully be remembered about him in Houston. Always a .300 or close to it hitter in Cuba, he absolutely exploded in 2015, hitting .500 with 15 home runs in 49 games. Obviously, he won’t hit near that in the major leagues, but a .300 hitting slugger would be incredibly useful for the Astros.
It is too soon in his Corpus Christi career to criticize Gurriel as he has only played three games. He has gone 1 for 11 in those games but is not being overmatched. I expect him to break out in his next game. Whenever he does break out, though, expect his promotion to be near.
Gurriel will be a Houston Astro very soon. My initial prediction when we signed him was for him to be up in the twenties of this month, but it may even be sooner than that. He is envisioned to play third base and DH for the Astros when he comes up.
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That would push Alex Bregman to left field when Gurriel is at third. It would be nice to see Gurriel play more DH, though, as Evan Gattis and A.J. Reed are not bringing much production to that position. Look out for Gurriel, Astros fans. He is coming.
*Stats via milb.com and Baseball Reference*