Astros Prospects: Corey Julks leads PCL in home runs for May

Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports /

Drafted in the eighth round of the 2017 Major League Baseball Draft, Corey Julks has had only one season of more than 10 home runs in the Minors — 14 in 2021. The Houston Astros‘ prospects currently sits in Triple-A Sugar Land, where he’s leading the Pacific Coast League in long balls for May.

The higher elevation in the Pacific Coast League is a major factor for increase in offensive play for western Triple-A teams. For Julks, he’s loving all of the altitude, launching his ninth home run in his last 15 games Sunday in El Paso.

Julks currently leads the Space Cowboys with 10 home runs on the season, while also leading the Pacific Coast League with nine in May. But through 85 at-bats in April, the right-hander only found the other side of the outfield wall once in away contest against Oklahoma City.

For May, Julks is seeing an almost even split of home runs on the road and at home, hitting four at Constellation Field and nine in opposing ballparks. Constellation Field is noted as the “Skeeter Dome” by staff for its directional construction against the hindering winds from the southeast.

With Corey Julks excelling in Triple A, what does it mean for his major-league stock?

Julks is slashing .263/.315/.509 on the season through 42 games and is nearing his career-high OPS — .840 in Double-A Corpus Christi last season. Over 184 trips to the plate, the righty has 20 extra-base hits and is seeing a decrease in doubles with his increase in home runs.

"“I like to see it as at the same old game,” Julks said after batting practice April 3. “But you see some guys who were kind of ahead of you for two years, and then you start playing with them. The talent level and this team is just special, so I’m just glad to be part of it.”"

Adding third base to his arsenal this spring, Julks is a regular corner outfielder, a position the Astros aren’t in dire need of. The University of Houston product has 95 innings at the hot corner this season with two errors to his name in his first season playing a position not in the outfield.

With a streak of power at the dish, Julks is a top-three hitter in the Space Cowboys’ lineup with J.J. Matijevic on the shelf. The outfielder’s chances of making his major-league debut with the Astros are slim based on his positional value, but as his offensive numbers increase, Julks’ trade value could as well.

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