Astros’ Triple-A Notes: Alvarez stays hot, Whitley and Reed struggle

SURPRISE, AZ - NOVEMBER 03: Starting pitcher AFL East All-Star, Forrest Whitley #11 of the Houston Astros throws a pitch during the first inning of the Arizona Fall League All Star Game at Surprise Stadium on November 3, 2018 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
SURPRISE, AZ - NOVEMBER 03: Starting pitcher AFL East All-Star, Forrest Whitley #11 of the Houston Astros throws a pitch during the first inning of the Arizona Fall League All Star Game at Surprise Stadium on November 3, 2018 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Astros top prospect Yordan Alvarez has continued to mash Triple-A pitching, while Forrest Whitley and A.J. Reed are struggling.

The Round Rock Express is having a strong season so far, thanks to several notable performances, including Yordan Alvarez’s breakout year. Arguably the team’s best pitcher, Corbin Martin has already made the jump to Houston Astros, with sterling results.

One top prospect is exceeding the hype so far, while another is searching for answers. And a former top prospect’s star looks to have waned completely at this point.

Yordan Alvarez: Ready for the Show?

The 21-year-old left-handed slugger continues to dominate the opposition. He’s tallied eight hits, including two homers, and nine RBIs in his last four games, pushing his batting line to .402/.490/.869, good for a 1.358 OPS.

Incredibly, he’s totaled 15 homers and 47 RBIs in just 33 games this season. Compare that to the eight homers and 28 RBIs he notched in 45 Triple-A games in 2018. At this point, it seems a matter of when, not if, he’ll get called up to Houston.

Forrest Whitley: Not ready yet

Whitley is one of the most ballyhooed pitching prospects the Astros have had in recent memory, but 2019 has not been kind to him. Through six appearances, he owns a 10.80 ERA, having walked 10 batters in 18.1 innings and allowing hitters to hit .307 off of him. He’s also given up seven homers.

Clearly, something isn’t right with Whitley from a command standpoint, as he’s still striking out hitters at a good rate (24 Ks in 18 IP). It’s also important to remember he’s still just 21 years old and only made eight appearances for Double-A Corpus Christi in 2018. This is his first taste of Triple-A, so it’s far from time to call him a bust. Still, his results will be worth monitoring as the season progresses.

A.J. Reed: A star burns out?

Once viewed as the team’s first baseman of the future, Reed is now 26 and stuck in Triple-A. His prospects don’t look good thanks to declining numbers, especially this season. He did spend time on the injured list recently, but in total owns a .161/.235/.274 batting line in 17 games.

Incredibly, he just drove in his first run of the season on Friday with a solo homer. He’s struck out 26 times against just five walks and has ceded some playing time to Taylor Jones. His OPS at Triple-A from 2016 to 2018 dropped from .924 to .883 to .851 and now sits at .509 in 2019.

Myles Straw: Making a case for a call-up

Speedster Myles Straw is having an excellent season thus far, hitting .311 with a .399 OBP and stealing 12 bases in 14 attempts. He’s also taken up playing shorts

top to increase his versatility, and he’s split his time between short and the outfield equally. It’s still a work in progress, with four errors in 17 games at short, but it’s progress nonetheless.

Next. Astros starting to create separation in AL West. dark

Straw offers virtually no power so he may not profile as a big league regular, but he could carve out a nice role as a defensively gifted base-stealing threat, starting the occasional game and batting ninth to set up RBI opportunities for George Springer and Company. This is a 12th-round draft pick that could well pay off.

***Statistics courtesy of MiLB.com***

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