Astros: Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks Preview
By James Wehr
Every Tuesday we will mosey-on-down to the farm and check up on some of the Houston Astros prospects that are stationed in Corpus Christi.
With The Show well under-way, the young guns in the minors are just on the verge of starting up their own seasons. The quest to grab the proverbial brass ring and prove that a player can make a difference with the Major League Astros starts tomorrow.
Corpus Christi is home to some of the most talented and high-end prospects that the Houston Astros have and every Tuesday we will recap all the major events from the past week. In addition, we will be highlighting stock risers, stock fallers, surprises, and Double-A débutantes.
For the first installation, let’s get a little creative. This year is so far being called “The Year of Movies”, so let’s break up the three groups by famous baseball movie quotes.
“Pick me out a winner Bobby”: Prospects who can contribute right now
Whether they are in the Top 30 of the Astros prospects or players that have astounded in Spring Training, these three players are poised to make huge leaps in the coming year.
The obvious choice for the name to watch this season is the #6 overall prospect, Bukauskas. Boasting a nice arsenal which includes: fastball, changeup, slider and cutter, Bukauskas has all the makings of a top end pitcher. He only had one game with the Hooks last year, but he made it count. Going six innings of one-hit ball, and striking out eight batters.
Not settling down, the right-handed wizard attacked his first Spring Training invite with the same tenacity. Striking out 21 batters across 16 innings and only giving up three runs. Leaving little to question whether or not he can handle the role as a starter.
Another offseason warrior, the #23 ranked Toro set Arizona on fire in 2018. During his tenure in the Arizona Fall League, Toro slashed an impressive line of .348/.463/.561, stole three bases and brought in eight runs. His average was an impressive three points below top overall prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Toro rolled that hot stick into Palm Beach, as he impressed in his first Spring Training invite with the Houston Astros. Second, only to the equally hot Nick Tanielu, Toro collected 15 RBIs, swatted two home runs and slashed a .341/396/.591 line.
Look for Toro to continue his onslaught of the ball this season, and press a call up to even Triple-A Round Rock.
One of the lesser known of the three mentioned prospects, Ivey is ranked #17 overall on the Astros prospect list but is sure to rocket up the list if he can stay healthy. The 6’4″ righty has some doubters on whether or not he should stick in the rotation or be a weapon out of the pen. Ivey’s repertoire includes the traditional four pitches: fastball, changeup, curveball, slider, all rated out as above-average pitches.
In his first full season, Ivey blazed through both Single-A affiliates in 2018, logging in 112 innings with a combined 135 strikeouts and a 2.97 ERA. He will get his first taste of Double-A beginning this season. What remains to be seen is how the coaches deal with him, and if they agree that his throwing motion is too much on his arm to be put in the rotation or not.