The Astros’ AA Hooks have done a big make-over in the sense of two high-caliber call ups, and have had two big names bounce back from slow starts.
As we near the end of the first half of the Texas League season, the Houston Astros Double-A affiliate, Corpus Christi Hooks find themselves sitting only a half game behind the Division Leading, Frisco Rough Riders.
With the additions of two new faces and the emergence of two stars, the Hooks look to push themselves into first place with the next set of upcoming games. Here’s a look at the prospects who are continuing to emerge and hone their craft.
Hitter of the Week: Abraham Toro (Astros #21 Prospect)
After a slow start to the season, the Arizona Fall League MVP Toro has found his footing. His hot bat has lifted his average from .280 to .306. In his last ten games, he has swung a .364 average including two home runs, seven RBIs, and 11 walks. His patience at the plate is a huge testament to his development over the course of the season. Last week he was named Texas League Player of the Week. On May 16th he also took the lead in RBIs for the entire Texas League with 32.
Pitcher of the Week: Bryan Abreu (Astros #7 Prospect)
On April 26th, Bryan Abreu made his debut for the Hooks, and things couldn’t have gone more wrong for the promising righty. Only going three innings of four-run ball and three walks, but he did strike out five. The days that followed only showed more growing pains, as his combined nine innings of work produced eight runs, eight walks, and 11 strikeouts.
However, this past start Abreu dug deep and found what makes him an intriguing prospect. Abreu went a Hooks career-high five innings, allowing no hits and striking out six as he went on to win not only the game, but also the Texas League Pitcher of the Week award.
Bounce Back Player: J.B. Bukauskas (Astros # 5 Prospect)
After starting the season slowly, Bukauskas has found his footing and pitching as he did in Spring Training. The last three starts, he has only allowed four runs over 14 innings pitched while collecting 15 strikeouts during that stretch.
He has also found himself in sticky situations, which he has been able to maneuver out of. He now has 35 strikeouts over 30 innings pitched for the Hooks. With Corbin Martin poised to stick in Houston, could Bukauskas be his replacement in Round Rock?
Fresh Face of the Week: Seth Beer (Astros #9 Prospect)
That’s right ladies and gentlemen, ITS BEER O’CLOCK! Seth Beer has finally made his way into the upper echelon of the minors. With only a handful of games under his belt, Beer has made his presence felt.
Beer is batting a .419 average and belted his first AA home run in only his second game. He’s well on his way to be a mainstay for the Hooks for the time being. He has collected an RBI in all but one game he has appeared in. With a lineup that boasts Beer – Toro – Rojas, that is a trio that multiple AA pitchers would hate to see.
Honorable Mention: Colin McKee – Relief Pitcher
Since covering McKee in our last installment, he has done everything in his power to prove he belongs on the Prospect List. His last ten games he has only six runs in 21 innings of work, collecting 34 strikeouts over that stretch. For those keeping tabs at home that is a 14.3 K/9IP ratio along with a 1.235 WHIP.
If you didn’t take notice of this player last time, it’s time you peg him for great things now. Expect him to be called up to AAA sooner rather than later, and possibly the first name to be called if the Astros need help in the pen come August or September.
With the players looking to find their groove, the Hooks are in for a solid playoff push.
Hooks Record: 22-21 (.05 game behind leaders)
Upcoming Games: 05/21-05/22 Amarillo, 05/23-05/26 Frisco Rough Riders