Astros Minor League Recap April 4-7: Round Rock opens season
The Houston Astros’ Triple-A affiliate Round Rock Express opened their season by splitting the first four games.
For the first time since 2010, the Round Rock Express opened their season as the Triple-A affiliate of the Houston Astros. Under new manager Mickey Storey, the Express are hoping to build on the success the Astros had with the Fresno Grizzlies over the past few seasons.
Led by top prospects Forrest Whitley, Kyle Tucker, and Yordan Alvarez, the Express opened their season on Friday in New Orleans after Thursday’s game was postponed due to rain. And yes, New Orleans’ team name really is the Baby Cakes. Without further ado, here’s the game-by-game recap.
Round Rock dropped the season opener to New Orleans on Friday by a score of 2-1. The offense did not draw a single walk and had only one hit — Jack Mayfield‘s solo homer in the ninth inning. Brady Rodgers started the game and tossed five scoreless innings. Cy Sneed took the loss in relief, giving up two runs (one earned) in 2.1 innings.
The Express took the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader by a 7-5 margin in seven innings. The offense was buoyed by five homers — three from Alvarez and two from Derek Fisher. Starter Akeem Bostick went just three innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on seven hits and three walks. Ryan Hartman earned the win in relief, tossing four innings of one-run ball.
New Orleans won the second half of the doubleheader 2-1 in seven innings, which was Thursday’s make-up game. Fisher provided the offense with a leadoff homer in the first inning. Corbin Martin took the loss, surrendering two runs on two hits and three walks with three strikeouts in 4.1 innings.
Round Rock bounced back to win Sunday’s game 9-6 in 10 innings. Alvarez hit the go-ahead three-run blast in the top of the 10th inning. Jamie Ritchie, Alex De Goti and Taylor Jones each added a solo homer. Starter Cionel Perez gave up four runs (three earned) in 4.1 innings, and Dean Deetz tossed two scoreless innings to earn the win.
Player of the Week: Yordan Alvarez
How does a 1.614 OPS sound to you? That’s what Alvarez has through the season’s first four games. He launched a trio of solo homers in the win in the first half of Saturday’s twin billing. He then stepped up with the go-ahead blast in extra innings on Sunday.
Still just 21-years old, the left-handed slugger could emerge as a long-term solution at first base, left field or DH for the Astros. His development this season will be one to watch closely as he hopes to build on the .801 OPS he put up in his Triple-A debut in 2018.
Rogelio Armenteros takes the bump in the series finale against New Orleans on Monday. The Express play their home opener on Tuesday, the first of a three-game series against Nashville. They will then play host to Memphis for four games beginning Friday. Round Rock sits at 2-2 on the young season, one game behind division leader San Antonio.