Astros Minors: Triple A Fresno looks to be loaded with MLB Talent
By Reed Graff
The spot that the Grizzlies look to have the most talent is in their outfield. Teoscar Hernandez appears to be the center fielder for the team. Hernandez saw time in Houston in 2016 and played well enough even to be considered for the 24th or 25th roster spot going into 2017. Derek Fisher, the Astros #4 prospect according to mlb.com, will also more than likely be in Fresno to start the year.
Fisher is an exciting guy with plus speed and the potential to hit 20-25 home runs in a season. The outfielder hit .290 with five home runs in 27 games last season for the Grizzlies. A solid campaign in 2017 could land Fisher a chance at some playing time in Houston. Both Hernandez and Fisher are in a situation where they are playing to prove they belong in the Majors, and both also have solid trade value and could be used to bring in the starting pitching Houston needs.
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The other outfielders that we will see in Fresno are no slouches either.
Andrew Aplin is a defensive minded outfielder that will look to show his ability at the plate. Minor League journeyman Jon Kemmer will play one of the corner spots for the team. Kemmer a career .282 hitter in 4 seasons in the Astros minor leagues, the 26-year-old outfielder has spent most of his time under the radar as far as prospect lists go. He has shown solid power and ability to hit for average.
Taking a page from the Tyler White notebook, Kemmer has hit his way through the minors, and could potentially contribute in Houston if needed. Ramon Laureano is another guy that only recently got press as a prospect.
Laureano will probably start in AA Corpus Christi, but the 22-year-old will get time in Fresno if he continues his torrid rise through the Astros organization. A 16th round pick in 2014, Laureano hit .319 at A ball Lancaster and Double-A Corpus, and he also stole over 30 bases while hitting 15 home runs.
He showed glimpses of being a solid five-tool player. Following Laureano play this season should be fun. Fresno could also potentially see the Astros #2 prospect Kyle Tucker if he tears up Double-A Corpus and pushes his way to Fresno, so the outfield for the Grizzlies will be a fun group to watch.