All posts by PhilPhan

Reading Player Focus – Brock Stassi

Johnny Almaraz, the Phillies Amateur Scouting Director, said in an interview this past week that one of the criteria of his scouting crew is to find out about the players family and background. In his words “The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree”, he feels it is very important to not just focus on baseball ability, albeit obviously of primary importance, but to also try and determine the makeup of the young player as desire, will, composure and passion are big elements of succeeding in professional baseball.

With that theme I thought it might be worthwhile to review, as best I can, some of the backgrounds and support of some of the present Phillies minor leaguers. My focus on Phuture Phillies is the Reading Fighten’s, with that being the case here is a look at a player who has perhaps performed better than any other minor leaguer in the system thus far, Brock Stassi.

Stassi is a 25 year old first baseman who stands 6’2″ and weighs in at 190 pounds. He was the 33rd round selection of the Phillies in the 2011 draft. He is from Sacramento, California and attended Yuba City High School where he played the positions of pitcher and outfielder for his dad Jim Stassi who coached the high school team for 18 years winning 337 games in his career. Brock graduated from the University of Nevada-Reno and was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 44th round of the 2010 draft but chose to complete his senior year and subsequently signed with the Phillies the following year. His father Jim also attended and played for the Wolfpack at the University of Nevada Reno and holds a few school records still.

Brock also pitched in college but focused primarily as an outfielder and led the team in hitting his senior season with a .360 average in 55 games and 203 at bats. He was not heavily recruited out of high school and being a third day draft pick is an underdog to make the show. As Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer pointed out in an article published on May 24th Stassi sees himself as someone who has always had to prove his doubters wrong. In a quote in that article Stassi said “I’ve always had to grind stuff out and open people’s eyes,  I play with a chip on my shoulder. Being a 33d-rounder, I use that as motivation. I take pride in that.”

Read more of that article

So what about family background? As mentioned his dad was a very successful high school coach and actually continues to coach as the hitting coach for the Marysville Gold Sox Baseball Club which is a summer collegiate wood bat team based in Marysville, CA. He played in the San Francisco Giants organization after being drafted in the 17th round of the 1982 draft and made it to the triple A level before ending his playing career in the Italian Pro League in Rimini, Italy. Additionally, Jim’s uncle Sam Stassi played minor league ball, and he is the great-nephew of big leaguer Myril Hoag. Some news stories claim his father Bob played in the minors as well as his grandfather Sam Sr.

Brock’s brother Max Stassi is a 24 year old catcher in the Houston Astro’s system playing at Triple A Fresno, he was a 2009 4th round draft pick of the Oakland A’s and was acquired via trade by the Astro’s.

So Brock definitely has a family with a baseball background and therefore a platform for reference to succeed. Now let’s take a look at his numbers, prior to this season he has had a relatively non-descript pro career. His first summer as a pro in 2011 was spent in Williamsport where he hit only .200 in 150 at bats while converting to a new position, first base. In 2012 he spent time at both Williamsport and Clearwater but the brunt of his time was at Lakewood where he posted a .247 average (.342 OBP with a .719 OPS) in 186 at bats. He only struck out 34 times against 28 walks while posting 15 extra base hits ( 9 doubles, 3 triples and 3 home runs).

Brock spent 2013 in Clearwater where the offensive game came around as he hit .295 ( .347 OBP and .746 OPS) in 288 at bats. Again he had minimal strike outs with 43 but only 23 walks with 19 extra base hits ( 11 doubles, 5 triples and 3 home runs).

In 2014 he struggled at Double A Reading hitting .232 ( .302 OBP and .629 OPS) in 440 at bats as the regular first baseman. He struck out 49 times with 39 walks and 23 extra base hits ( 12 doubles, 3 triples and 8 home runs) while driving in 44 runs. He actually got off to a decent start hitting .282 thru June but faltering to a .188 average in the second half of the season.

In an April, 2015 article written by Mike Drago of the Reading Eagle Stassi cited nutrition as a factor in his 2014 fall off, he spent the offseason living and training with his brother Max and adapted a diet which includes a regimented frequency of more meals as he said last season he lost weight and strength as the season went on.

So far so good this season for Brock as he comes into play today with an Eastern a League leading .339 average thru his first 180 at bats. He also leads the league in Runs Batted in with 43 and is second in OPS at .913 while being fourth in OBP at .402.  He already has 19 extra base hits ( 13 doubles and 6 home runs).

I for one always pull for the underdog and the hard worker, Brock Stassi seems to fit the mold there and I hope he has continued success, as Mr. Almaraz stated this week the mental make up and family background of players goes a long ways in helping them to succeed in this sport where the majority of the time you fail, this season so far Brock Stassi has turned prior setbacks into success, sure would be nice to see that continue.

Minor League System of Interest – Texas Rangers

Here’s a look at one of the deeper minor league systems, the Texas Rangers. I am reviewing stats first and then interjecting comments from : This review is reflective of data up to but not including June 5, 2015 :

Low Single A : Hickory Crawdads ( 35-18, 1st place, South Atlantic League – Northern Division)

Josh Morgan is a 19-year-old third baseman/shortstop/second baseman who thru 171 at bats has posted a solid .275 average ( .356 OBP, .712 OPS) with 11 extra base hits ( 9 doubles, 1 triple, 1 home run). He is the Rangers 3rd round pick of the 2014 draft who bypassed UCLA to instead sign with the Rangers. : “Morgan is an offensive-minded middle infielder with a line-drive swing, a mature approach and a knack for barreling balls. Though he had just four extra-base hits in his 56-game debut, he has some surprising pop for his size and could produce double-digits home run totals as he gets older and stronger. He’s a solid runner who’s still learning how to translate his quickness into stolen bases.
Scouts who saw Morgan as an amateur were split on whether he could stay at shortstop in the long run, but he lost 10 pounds after signing and improved his range. He has the hands, arm and instincts for the position, and though he did spend more time at second base in his first taste of pro ball.”

Travis Demeritte is a 20-year-old third baseman/second baseman who was the Rangers number 1 pick in the 2013 draft. He is hitting only .241 so far in 170 at bats in his second year at Low A ball but has 18 extra base hits, ( 12 doubles, 1 triple and 5 home runs) with 10 stolen bases. He strikes out a bit with 69 k’s  Note: just today Demeritte has been suspended 80 games for using a banned substance, that definitely eliminates his trade value 😳 : “Though he batted just .211 and struck out 171 times in 2014, Demeritte has the potential to produce for both average and power. He has tremendous bat speed and shows some willingness to use the entire field and drive walks. He’ll need to tone down his aggression and learn to handle breaking pitches.

While he played shortstop in high school, most scouts thought he profiled better at third base because of his power and his just average speed. The Rangers have a backlog of hot-corner talent starting with Adrian Beltre and Joey Gallo, so they moved Demeritte to second base. He has taken to his new position and has a higher offensive ceiling than most players there.”

Luis Ortiz is an 18-year-old right-handed pitcher who has a sparkling 2.00 ERA thru 36 IP ( 8 starts, 31 k’s, 8 BB) and a 2-1 record. : “Ortiz has as much upside as any starter in the Texas system. He can miss bats with his 92-97 mph fastball and his low-80s slider. He also shows aptitude for using a change-up.
There’s not much projection remaining in Ortiz’ mature 6-foot-3 frame, but his present stuff is plenty good enough. There’s little effort in his high three-quarters delivery, allowing him to throw strikes with good downhill plane.”

Brett Martin is a 20-year-old right-handed pitcher who is 3-1 so far in 7 starts with a 2.50 ERA in 36 innings ( 29 k’s and 7 BB). He was the Rangers 4th round pick of the 2014 draft. : “Martin currently works at 89-93 mph with his fastball, though there could be a lot more velocity left in his tank because he has a fresh arm and an athletic, projectable frame. When he keeps his fastball down in the strike zone, it features cutting and tailing action.

Martin’s best present pitch is his curveball, which also could add more power as he fills out. He has a feel for a sinking change up as well. Add in a deceptive delivery and consistent strike-throwing ability, and has the ceiling of a mid-rotation starter.”

Ariel Jurado is a 19-year-old right-handed pitcher from Panama who is 7-0 thru 9 starts with a 2.29 ERA ( 51 IP, 43 k’s, just 6 BB, .94 WHIP). He generally is in the 90-93 range but also knows how to pitch. This system is so deep he isn’t even rated in the top 30 😳.

Likewise right-handed pitcher Colin Wiles, a 21-year-old has posted excellent numbers so far with a 1.92 ERA thru 51 innings and 8 starts (6-2, 31 k’s, 12 BB,). Wiles was a 2012 compensation A pick for the Rangers.

Other top players currently on the Crawdads roster and ranked in the top 30 list by for the Rangers include catcher Jose Trevino, pitcher Yohander Mendez, First Baseman Ronald Guzman, outfielder Jario Beras and shortstop Michael DeLeon. They are all 20 years old or younger, DeLeon is just 18. The Crawdads roster is loaded!

High A – High Desert Mavericks ( 27-25, 3rd place, California League – South Division)

Ryan Cordell is a 23-year-old center fielder/shortstop who was a round 11 draft pick in 2013 from Libery University. He is hitting .304 (.367 OPS) thru 217 at bats with 9 home runs and 47 RBI’s (2nd in the league). He also has 11 doubles and 4 triples with an OPS of .883. : “Another quality athlete in a system loaded with them, Cordell has at least average tools across the board. He has more feel for hitting than most of his physically gifted counterparts, making consistent contact and using the whole field. He also can drive the ball and has the plus speed and aptitude to steal bases.

Cordell’s quickness also helps in the outfield, where he gets good reads and jumps and can play all three positions. He’s a capable center fielder who played mostly on the corners in 2014 because he was on the same teams with Lewis Brinson. Cordell opened eyes as an infielder during instructional league to the extent that Texas will try him as a shortstop this season.”

Lewis Brinson is a 21-year-old outfielder who is currently on the disabled list with a hamstring injury but is expected back shortly, he is very highly regarded though and was hitting .275 thru 69 at bats to start the season with six extra base hits and 7 RBI’s. : “In a farm system laden with toolsy players, Brinson is the toolsiest. The 29th overall pick in the 2012 Draft and recipient of a $1.625 million bonus, he had a 20-20 season in his first full year as a pro but also finished second in the Minors with 191 strikeouts. He was more consistent at the plate last season, though he missed time with a nagging quad injury.

Brinson has smoothed out his swing and improved his pitch recognition, and he cut his strikeout rate from 38 percent in 2013 to 25 percent in 2014. Whiffs will always come as part of the package, but he can hit for at least a decent average with plenty of power. His raw power and speed are easy plus tools, and he has the upside of a 30-30 player if he can continue to refine his hitting and basestealing skills.

Brinson is an exciting defender as well. He chases down balls from gap to gap in center field and has the strong-arm to erase baserunners who try to challenge him. His legs are a big part of his game, and the Rangers want him to focus on a strengthening and stretching program after his quad problems in 2014.”

Evan Van Hoosier is a 21-year-old outfielder/second baseman who is hitting .310 (.361 OBP) thru 142 at bats. He has 16 extra base hits. : “Van Hoosier has a quick right-handed bat and manipulates it well. He can drive the ball into the gaps and his plus speed makes him an asset on the bases. He manages the strike zone reasonably well and could contribute across the board offensively.”

Double A : Frisco Rough Riders ( 22-31, last place in four team Texas League South Division)

Joey Gallo was having a very good season at double A before being called up to the show recently, he is still listed as the top Rangers prospect.

Jorge Alfaro is a 21-year-old catcher and is ranked as the Rangers 2nd best prospect. He is hitting .258 ( .320 OBP) thru 178 at bats with 21 extra base hits ( 14 doubles, 2 triples and 5 home runs). He has struck out 57 times. : “Since signing for a $1.3 million bonus — a record for a Colombian player — in January 2010, Alfaro advanced rapidly to Double-A. He has the best combination of raw power and pure arm strength among Minor League catchers, though he’s still polishing those tools and the other aspects of his game.

Alfaro has the strength and bat speed to drive balls out of any part of any ballpark without selling out for power, yet he’s still overly aggressive at the plate. He swings and misses frequently, and he needs to do a better job of taking pitches and recognizing breaking balls. If he figures it out, he could be an average hitter with 20-plus homers per season at Globe Life Park in Arlington.

Similarly, he has a cannon arm and good athleticism for a catcher but needs a lot of refinement behind the plate. He threw out just 28 percent of basestealers and committed 23 passed balls in 90 games. Though the Rangers have experimented with Alfaro at first base and in the outfield, they’re not giving up on the idea that he can become an All-Star catcher.”

Nomar Mazzaro is a 20-year-old outfielder who is the third highest rated prospect in the Rangers system. He is hitting .292 (.370 OBP) thru 185 at bats. : “Mazara’s $4.95 million bonus in 2011 set a since-broken record for the largest bonus ever given to an international amateur. Other teams were shocked by the Rangers’ largesse but Texas believed in his projectable frame and power potential. After posting a .692 OPS in his first full pro season in 2013, he broke out last year by hitting .271/.362/.478 and advancing to Double-A at age 19.

Mazara’s improvement resulted in part from toning down a big leg kick that had compromised his bat speed. He’s strong and generates a lot of leverage with his 6-foot-4 frame. He manages the strike zone well for a youngster, which gets him pitches he can drive and should allow him to become a solid hitter to go with his well above-average power.

Though he’s a below-average runner, Mazara gets good jumps and projects as an average defender in right field. He has the plus arm strength desired at the position and has totaled 25 assists in his two full seasons.”

The system’s fourth highest rated prospect is 21-year-old right-handed pitcher Jake Thompson. He was the 2nd round draft pick of the Tigers in the 2012 draft. At Frisco he is 5-3 thru 10 starts with a 4.10 ERA in 52 innings ( 54 k’s and 13 BB) : “Thompson was Detroit’s top pick in the 2012 Draft, a second-rounder out of Rockwall-Heath High (Heath, Texas). While his right-handed power made him a legitimate prospect as a first baseman, his future definitely lies on the mound. He developed quicker than expected, reaching Double-A as a 20-year-old in July — two weeks before the Tigers traded him and Corey Knebel to the Rangers for Joakim Soria.

Thompson could have three solid or better pitches when all is said and done. He usually works at 90-93 mph with good sink and tail on his fastball. When his curveball is on, it features power and depth and gives him a second plus offering. He also has nice feel for his change-up.

At 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds, Thompson has the build to be a durable starter, and he also has possesses the stuff to pitch near the front of a rotation. His delivery can get out of sync at times, but that’s typical for a young pitcher and he should develop reasonable command down the road.”

Andrew Faulkner, a 22-year-old right-handed pitcher, Jose Leclerc, a 21-year-old right-handed pitcher and Nick Williams, a 21-year-old outfielder are also top 30 system ranked players on the Frisco roster, none at least statistically are having standout seasons thus far.

Triple A – Round Rock Express – ( 33-20, 1st place, Pacific Coast League- American Southern Division)

Anthony Runuado is a 25-year-old right-handed pitcher who was the Red Sox first round pick in the 2010 draft. He is 5-1 thru 9 starts ( 49 IP, 41 k’s, 21 BB) with a 2.74 ERA. He spent time briefly in the big leagues this season. : ” The Rangers couldn’t sign Ranaudo as an 11th-rounder out of high school in 2007 but finally acquired him in a January trade with the Red Sox for Robbie Ross. In between, he won the 2009 College World Series championship game for Louisiana State, signed for $2.55 million as a supplemental first-rounder in 2010 and battled intermittent elbow and groin issues. He was fully healthy in 2014, when he led the Triple-A International League in wins (14), ERA (2.61) and opponent average (.233) before making his big league debut.

With two plus pitches and a 6-foot-7 frame, Ranaudo has the look of a No. 3 starter. When he stays on top of his pitches, he leverages his 90-96 mph fastball down in the strike zone and creates good depth on a hard curveball that can reach the low 80s. His changeup has its moments but lags behind his other two offerings.

Though he has streamlined his delivery a bit, Ranaudo is still inconsistent with his control and command. He had trouble locating his fastball in his stint in Boston, missing the zone and leaving it up more than he had in the past. Some scouts think he might be better off as a two-pitch reliever who could work the late innings, but Texas will give him every chance to start.”

Catcher Tomas Telis, a 23-year-old is having a very good season hitting .327 (.368 OBP) with 15 extra base hits ( 10 doubles and 5 home runs) thru 171 at bats. He has also only struck out 16 times. : “A shortstop in Venezuela, Telis immediately moved behind the plate after signing for $130,000 in 2007. He overcame Tommy John surgery in 2010 and two stalled years in the mid-Minors in 2012-13 to make his big league debut last season.

Telis’ best tool is his line-drive bat, which produced a .318 average between Double-A and Triple-A in 2014. He makes consistent contact from both sides of the plate, though he doesn’t provide much in the way of home-run power or walks.

Telis has developed into an average defender behind the plate. He has decent arm strength that plays up thanks to his quick footwork and release, and he has cleaned up his receiving skills. He profiles strictly as a backup and should be ready whenever the Rangers need him again.”

Lastly right-handed pitcher Jerad Eickhoff is a 24-year-old who is 4-3 thru 8 starts at Round Rock. : “Strong and physical, Eickhoff has a 91-95 mph fastball that touches 97. He complements it with a hard curveball that gives him a second plus pitch at times, as well as a slider that can be a solid offering. He throws strikes and uses his 6-foot-4 frame to pitch on a downhill plane.

If Eickhoff can improve his change-up and command, he could be a workhorse No. 3 starter. If not, he could be a late-inning reliever whose pitches should feature more power in shorter stints.”

Whew! When folks say the Rangers system is loaded up they weren’t kidding! Their major league roster also contains many young players, if we deal in hopes of building up our system this is a great trade partner for sure 😳

Minor League of Interest – LA Dodgers

As the fifth installment  of my series of looking at other teams minor league systems in this post I take a look at the LA Dodgers. I am reviewing stats first and then interjecting comments from various sites: This review is reflective of data up to but not including June 4, 2015 :

Low A : Great Lakes Loons ( 26-26, 4th place, Midwest League – Eastern Division)

Alex Santana is a 21-year-old outfielder who was the Dodgers 2nd round pick in the 2011 draft, he is the son of ex major leaguer Rafael Santana. At one point he was considered the Dodgers 12th best prospect but is no longer ranked in the top 30. He is in his fifth year of the system. This year he is hitting .304 (.347 OBP) thru only 92 at bats as he started the season on the DL. There are those in the Dodgers organization who feel he can still climb the organizational ladder which is why I mention him here as a still a prospect of consideration.

Trevor Oaks, a 22-year-old right-handed pitcher has posted a 3.17 ERA thru 59 innings and 10 starts, he also has 2 complete games which is a rarity in professional baseball nowadays. Oaks is a control pitcher who has 35 strikeouts while yielding only 9 walks. He was a 7th round draft choice out of California Baptist in the Dodgers 2014 draft. Oaks has posted six quality starts this season, he generally is around 88-91 on fastball.

Grant Holmes is a 19-year-old starting pitcher who is the Dodgers number one pick from the 2014 draft, is considered the Dodgers 3rd best prospect  and owns the number 85 overall prospect ranking in minor league baseball according to Baseball America . He is 3-0 thru 10 starts ( 58 k’s with 24 BB and a 3.22 ERA in 44 innings)  : “Holmes began his high school senior season by hitting 100 mph during a preseason scrimmage and continued to bring the heat for the rest of his spring and into his pro debut. He usually works at 93-95 mph with impressive life and command. His hard breaking ball can make hitters look bad as well, combining curveball depth with slider velocity in the low 80s.
Holmes also exhibits some feel for a change-up, which should become at least an average third pitch. There isn’t much projection in his relatively short and stocky frame, but that doesn’t matter because his present stuff is plenty good enough to make him a starter. He also does a nice job of throwing strikes for a youngster.” The 24 BB this year would seem to dispute that last comment 😃

High A : Rancho Cucamonga Qaukes ( 31-21, 1st place in California League South Division)

Kyle Farmer is a 24-year-old catcher who was an 8th round draft pick in 2013. He is hitting .346 this season thru 130 at bats with 17 extra base hits ( 10 doubles,6 triples and 1 homer). He is a converted shortstop as he played there at Georgia Tech. : “Farmer’s conversion is off to a promising start and he made the low Class A Midwest League All-Star Game in his first full pro season. He has the soft hands, arm strength and leadership skills needed to make it work, though his release and receiving will require a lot more polish.”

Cody Bellinger is a 19-year-old first baseman who shows good power, he was a 4th round draft choice in 2013, he has 10 home runs already along with 15 doubles and 3 triples. He has driven in 41 runs thru his first 191 at bats posting a .293 average (.363 OBP). : “The Dodgers’ biggest over-slot signing from their 2013 Draft class, Bellinger got $700,000 in the fourth round. He struggled in his pro debut but bounced back last season, when he was one of the most productive teenagers in the Rookie-level Pioneer League. He’s the son of Clay Bellinger, who won two World Series with the Yankees and played in the 2004 Olympics for Greece.

Bellinger has the sweet left-handed swing and the mature approach to hit for average, though there’s some question as to how much power he’ll produce. He has some bat speed but will need to add loft to his swing and strength to his lanky 6-foot-4 frame.

Bellinger has more well-rounded tools than most first basemen. He’s an average runner and threw in the upper 80s as a high school pitcher. With his agility, soft hands and instincts make him a quality defender.”

Jose DeLeon is a 22-year-old pitcher has posted 58 strikeouts with only 8 walks thru 37 innings ( 7 starts) with an ERA of 1.67. He is ranked as the Dodgers fourth best prospect and is seen on lists as the #100 overall prospect in baseball.  : “A 24th-round pick out of Southern in 2013 who signed for $35,000 and posted a 6.96 ERA in his pro debut, De Leon wasn’t on any prospect lists before last summer. Then he was named pitcher of the year in the Rookie-level Pioneer League, which he led with 77 strikeouts and 12.8 whiffs per nine innings. Completing his breakout, he had 42 strikeouts in 22 2/3 innings at low Class A Great Lakes, where he fanned 14 in one game to break Clayton Kershaw’s franchise record.

Once De Leon made significant improvements to his conditioning and mechanics, his stuff took off. His fastball jumped from the low 90s to the mid 90s, and his slider jumped into the low 80s with better depth. Both qualify as legitimate swing-and-miss pitches.

De Leon has a decent change up and the willingness to throw it, which will help in its development. His control and command have gotten better too. If he can maintain these gains over an entire year in full-season ball, he could be a frontline starter.”

Double A : Tulsa Drillers ( 20-29, 3rd place, Texas League North Division)

Corey Seager is a 21-year-old shortstop and is the top rated prospect in the Dodgers system, #5 overall in baseball. He began the season at double A where he hit .375 in 80 at bats before moving up to triple A where in 122 at bats he is hitting .303 with 11 extra base hits and 16 runs batted in. He has struck out 21 times and walked 7 times.  :“Seager rivals Carlos Correa (Astros) as the biggest offensive threat among shortstop prospects. Seager has a smooth, balanced lefty swing as well as bat speed, strength and a mature all-fields approach. He can get a bit aggressive at times but has what it takes to hit for both average and power.

Scouts say that Seager is a more advanced hitter and shows more pop than his older brother Kyle, now an All-Star with the Mariners, showed at the same stage of his career. Like Kyle, Corey probably is best suited for third base and could be a strong defender there. While he has the arm and the instincts for shortstop, he’s bigger than most players at the position and may not have the speed or quickness desired.”

Julio Urias is an 18-year-old left-handed pitcher who is the 2nd highest ranked in the Dodgers system. He is considered to be the #6 overall prospect in baseball. Currently he is on the DL. Thru 7 starts he has posted a 3.00 ERA with 46 strikeouts and 9 walks in 36 innings.  : “Purchased as part of a $1.8 million package deal from the Mexican League’s Mexico City Red Devils in 2012, has a filthy three-pitch repertoire. He has a 91-96 mph fastball with solid life that he can throw to either side of the plate. If hitters try to sit on it, they usually regret it because he can cross them up with a big-breaking curveball and a deceptive change-up with fade.

Though Urias needs to develop more consistent control and command — no surprise given his age — he has advanced feel for pitching. He shows an aptitude for altering his arm angle and varying the speed of his pitches. Los Angeles is trying to manage his innings and the expectations for him but may not be able to keep him in the Minors much longer.”

Chris Anderson is a 22-year-old right-handed pitcher who was the Dodgers first pick in the 2013 draft. He is 4-4 thru 10 starts and while he has posted 48 strikeouts in 54 innings he has also walked 27.  : “Anderson works at 92-94 mph with his fastball, which has reached 98 in shorter stints. He sometimes has difficulty commanding his heater, but it’s difficult to hit when he does because it has heavy life and he delivers it on a steep downhill plane.

Both Anderson’s slider and change-up have the potential to be solid pitches. His slider climbs into the mid 80s, and his change-up comes with deceptive arm speed and fade. He could be a frontline starter if he refines his control, and a closer if he doesn’t.”

Triple A : Oklahoma City Dodgers ( 34-18, 1st place, Pacific Coast League American Northern Division)

Zach Lee is a 23-year-old right-handed pitcher, he has posted a 2.38 ERA thru 10 starts (56 innings with 44 K’s and 12 walks) , he was the Dodgers number 1 pick in the 2010 draft.  : “A top quarterback recruit, Lee seemed headed to Louisiana State to play quarterback and thus considered unsignable by the majority of teams in the 2010 Draft. The Dodgers surprisingly took him with the 28th overall and stunningly signed him at the deadline for $5.25 million, a franchise Draft record. His athleticism has helped him move quickly, but his stuff hasn’t developed as hoped and regressed when he reached Triple-A last year at age 22.

Lee lacks a true out pitch and got hit hard in Triple-A when his fastball backed up to 88-93 mph and his slider lost some sharpness. His most reliable offering in 2014 was his solid change-up, which he sells well. He also uses a curveball that features 12-6 break at times.

When Lee’s pitches were crisper and he commanded them better in the past, he missed bats and projected as a possible No. 3 starter.”

Darnell Sweeney is a 24-year-old second baseman who was a 13th round draft pick in 2012. He has 20 stolen bases this season while hitting .255 thru 192 at bats. He also has 17 extra base hits ( 13 doubles, 2 triples and 2 dingers) but has struck out an alarming 55 times while only taking 18 walks.  : “Sweeney doesn’t have a standout tool but can do a little bit of everything. He’s a switch-hitter who has made strides in tightening his strike zone and possessed more power than most middle infielders. He has solid speed but is still figuring out how to use it after leading his leagues in getting caught stealing in each of the last two seasons.

Primarily a shortstop in his first two pro seasons, Sweeney played mostly second base in 2014 and also saw time in center field. He projects as an average defender at second base with similar potential in center, though he’s fringy at shortstop. Howie Kendrick’s contract expires after this season, so Sweeney could get a crack at Los Angeles’ starting job in 2016.”

Reading Fighten’s – Past 10 Games

The team posted a 6-4 record over the last ten games and share the 2nd place slot in the Eastern League Eastern Division with the Trenton Thunder at 29-24.
They continue on the road against Binghamton over the weekend for three games before returning home for a six game stand starting Tuesday, June 9th versus Altoona for three and then Akron for three.

Who’s hot :

Cam Perkins has been one of the hottest bats over the past ten games posting a .350 average with 4 home runs and 11 runs batted in. Perkins had 14 hits in 40 at bats during that stretch including two three hit games.

Brock Stassi continues his excellent season as he posted a .366 average over the last ten games going 15 for 41 with 1 home run and 8 runs batted in. His overall average of .335 and 43 runs batted are both league leaders in the Eastern League. ( tied with Gavin Cecchini of Binghamton for Average)

KC Serna hit .325 over the past ten games and while Art Charles only hit .200 over his last ten games he continued  a season long pattern of  wearing out the Erie Sea Dogs as in  the past three games he  went 5 for 12 and knocked in four runs. Of big Sir Arthur’s 37 hits this season 16 have been against Erie.

Stephen Shackelford recorded six saves in the last ten games and his total of 11 ties him for third in the league.

Aaron Nola’s 7 wins ties for tops in the league and his 1.76 ERA is third best

Transactions :

Catcher Gabriel Lino was promoted to Triple A Lehigh Valley as Logan Moore swapped places with him coming back to Reading from Lehigh.

JP Crawford has played six games for Reading since his promotion from Clearwater and is hitting .261 ( 6 for 23) but also has drawn 7 walks to post a .489 OBP

League Leader : Beside Stassi and Nolan,  Roman Quinn continues to lead the Eastern League in stolen bases with 24 and is in a three way tie for triples with 5.


Minor League of Interest – KC Royals

This is the fourth insertion of my series of looking at other teams minor league systems. I am reviewing stats first and then interjecting comments from various sites: Here are the Kansas City Royals affiliates. This review is reflective of data up to but not including June 1, 2015 :

Lexington Legends ( Low A – 21-30, last place in South Atlantic League Southern Division)

Alfredo Escalera Maldonado is a 20-year-old centerfielder.  He was hitting .291 (.347 OBP) with 7 home runs and 22 RBI along with 7 doubles and 2 triples thru 175 at bats.

Royals blog site “Pine Tar Press” said this about him : “As a player Maldonado shows a glimpse of plenty of tools combining speed with some pop while barreling some balls all in a profile that is currently playing centerfield. What he has in pop and speed he lacks in an approach at the plate often times expanding his zone and getting himself out, showing the youth one would expect in a 20-year-old playing against older competition.”

First baseman Ryan O’Hearn has hit 12 home runs and knocked in 27 while posting a .253 average and a .325 OBP thru 182 at bats. He is a 21-year-old 2014 draft pick from Sam Houston State ( 8th round). He led all Royals minor leaguers in batting average in 2014.

Blog site “The Kings of Kaufman” site had this to say about him: “Ryan O’Hearn certainly has a long way to go before he reaches the Royals. There will be other stops along the way, and it will be interesting to see how he fares playing in full season leagues. The next jump, from A to AA, will also be interesting to watch, as AA is traditionally the proving ground for those players who excel at the lower minors. Yet for the sheer power potential, O’Hearn is certainly going to be a fun player to watch as he progresses through the Royals system. He may not be the biggest name among the Royals prospects, but Ryan O’Hearn may well prove to be an impact bat someday. He is certainly too far away to project a major league arc, yet O’Hearn is worth keeping an eye on over the next few years.”

Pitching wise 21-year-old Emilio Ogando has a 2.75 ERA thru 36 innings having recently been converted to a starter with 3 starts in his 10 overall appearances.

Wilmington Blue Rocks ( High A – 28-23, 1st place Carolina League Northern Division)

22-year-old 1st baseman/catcher Frank Schwindel is hitting .278 ( .303 OBP) with 3 home runs and 22 RBI’s but also has 17 doubles in 187 at bats. He is a 18th round draft pick from 2013 from St. John’s University that hit 20 home runs at Lexington in 2014. This is what Royals blog “PineTar Press” says about him : “Schwindel shows good pop with but long-term he will likely need to stick behind the dish, improve his receiving skills to have a shot at the major league level.”

22-year-old Pitcher Cody Reed has a sparkling 1.75 ERA thru 49 innings including 7 starts with 51 k’s and only 13 walks believes he has a very high ceiling and says this about him : “Reed works with a 90-94 mph fastball that peaks at 96 and has some sinking and cutting action. His mid-80s slider can get sweepy, but at its best it features tilt and can devastate hitters. He has yet to show much feel for a changeup.
His ability to refine a offspeed pitch and harness his power stuff will determine whether Reed can remain in the rotation or will have to head to the bullpen.”

22-year-old lefty Eric Skoguld has a 2.30 ERA thru 54 innings with 44 k’s and only 8 walks, he was the Royals 3rd round draft pick in 2014. This is what says about him : “His long frame prompts comparisons to Chris Sale, though Skoglund is a bit taller and skinnier and much more of a finesse pitcher. He had better body control than most 6-foot-7 pitchers, allowing him to throw three pitches for strikes.
Skoglund’s 88-92 mph fastball with life and his 77-82 mph slider are average offerings, while his fading change up could be in time. He uses his size and high three-quarters delivery to stay on top of his pitches and deliver them with steep downward plane. He has a ceiling of a No. 4 starter, perhaps more if he can add some strength and velocity.”

Double A – Northwest Arkansas Naturals ( 31-17, 1st place in Texas League North Division)

Baseball sites rank 22-year-old shortstop Raul Mondesi as the Royals top prospect and number 36 in overall baseball, he is currently at double A with a .263 average (.276 OBP) in just 14 games as he began the season on the injured list with a right elbow issue.

This is what says about him:

“A switch-hitter with a line-drive stroke from both sides of the plate, Mondesi could grow into annual 15-homer power once he matures physically. He’s overly aggressive at the plate, a trait opponents will try to exploit. If he can develop more patience he can be a significant base stealing threat with his well above-average speed.

Mondesi is much more polished defensively at this point. He has classic shortstop actions and the range, hands and arm to make all the plays at the position. If he gets a chance to catch his breath and let his bat develop, he could blossom into Kansas City’s first All-Star shortstop since Kurt Stillwell in 1988.”

23-year-old outfielder Terrance Gore has 20 stolen bases while hitting .296 with a .402 OBP thru 108 at bats. He has been to the show primarily as a pinch runner and helped the Royals last season in that regard. His speed is an unteachable skill, and Gore is possibly the fastest individual playing professionally organized baseball right now even quicker than the Red’s Billy Hamilton. The problem is you can’t steal first base and he has to prove he can hit to make an impact.

22-year-old pitcher Miguel Almonte thru 40 innings, 10 starts posts a 3.83 ERA with 35 k’s but 17 walks. ranks him as the Royals fifth best prospect and has this to say about him : “Almonte attacks hitters with two plus pitches with life, a 92-96 mph fastball with some run and a nifty low-80s change-up with sink. As good as those offerings are, his heater straightens out and sits up in the zone when he overthrows it and he tends to fall in love with his change-up. His curveball is more inconsistent and often lacks depth.

Though he doesn’t have an exceptionally strong build, Almonte has a quick arm and little effort in his delivery, so he should have the durability to be a starter. He fills the strike zone but, like most young pitchers, he’s still refining his command. Once he figures that out and further polishes up his curve, he’ll be ready to help Kansas City’s rotation.”

Triple A – Omaha Storm Chasers ( 26-26, 3rd place – Pacific Coast League – American Northern Division)

2014 first round pick 22-year-old Brandon Finnegan is on the Triple A roster working as a starter albeit he has spent time with the big club this year as a left-handed reliever. comments were as follows : “Though he’s just 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds, Finnegan has demonstrated the ability to sit at 93-95 and reach 98 mph with his fastball. His low-80s slider is a solid pitch, and his change-up is an effective third offering. While he does have some effort in his delivery that affected his command at times in college, he had no trouble filling the strike zone in his pro work.
It’s unclear what Finnegan’s long-term role will be. He has a deep enough repertoire and throws enough strikes to make it as a starter, though some scouts point to his size and mechanics and think he fits better as a late-inning reliever.”

24-year-old pitcher John Lamb has six wins and a 2.74 ERA thru 46 innings and 10 starts, at one point he was considered the top prospect in the Royals system but fell to an arm injury in 2011 and required Tommy John surgery. He has built his arm speed back up to average around 93 mph on his fastball and even has spent time on the big league roster this season.

The Royals system has been touched by the injury bug as second ranked left-handed 23-year-old pitcher Sean Manea has been shut down all season with abdominal and groin strain issues. Likewise third rated prospect 23-year-old pitcher Kyle Zimmer has been limited from bicep issues, he is currently on the Lexington roster but has only appeared in two games.

The Royals system certainly isn’t what it used to be but that is somewhat expected with most of their “prime time” players now on the big league club and performing very successfully.

Minor Leagues of Interest – Chicago Cubs

I will continue my series of looking at other teams minor league systems and their potential trade chips attempting to incorporate some of the feedback you have given me from the first two posts regarding the Astros and Red Sox. Just to clarify I am reviewing stats first as my premise. Here are the Chicago Cubs affiliates. This review is reflective of data up to but not including June 1, 2015:

Low Single A : South Bend Cubs ( 23-28, 7th place Midwest League Eastern Division)

18 year old shortstop Gleybar Torres is hitting .320 ( .397 OBP) thru 172 at bats. He has 9 doubles and 2 triples and has knocked in 30 runs. Chris Crawford from Baseball Prospectus had this to say about Torres : “I think that kid (has) got star potential as much as any prospect in the system sans the big three (Soler,Bryant,Russell) … He’s really good … I personally don’t understand why he hasn’t gotten as much hype as some of the other guys. What he’s done as an 18-year-old at the professional level … His approach is excellent and he has above average to plus tools pretty much everywhere but power and that might come too … and he’s going to play shortstop.”

23-year-old catcher Cael Brockmeyer is hitting .294 ( .383 OBP) thru 160 at bats

The Cub Junction site had this to say about the young catcher : “Cael Brockmeyer is one of the most underrated players in the Cubs organization. Quality bat, some burgeoning power, quiet leader, and great skills at either first or behind the plate. The problem is becoming that he is now playing a position (Catcher) that has a logjam at High A and AA. I almost gave Cael an A- grade, but a B+ will have to do. If he continues on his current path with his bat, he will be at an A by the end of the year.”

20-year-old center fielder Charcer Burks is hitting .283 ( .343 OBP) with 13 stolen bases thru 184 at bats

Burks was a 2013 9th round draft pick who has excellent speed and is also a highly rated defensive player.

Pitcher Ryan Williams is 4-1 with a 1.17 ERA thru 53 innings mostly as a starter ( 8 of 9 appearances). He is a contact pitcher with 37 k’s and only 2 walks

Williams was the Cubs Pitcher of the month for May.

21-year-old Jeremy Null is 5-1 with a 1.78 ERA thru 9 starts and 50 innings, he has 40 k’s and only 3 walks which is impressive for the big 6’7″ young fella.

Null recently was moved into the top 30 prospects list for the Cubs by Baseball America, the big league comparison for him is Doug Fister, Null averages between 88 to 91 on his fastball and tops out at 93.

High A – Myrtle Beach Pelicans (31-16, 1st place in Carolina League Southern Division)

22-year-old second baseman Chesney Young began the season at South Bend where he hit .315 thru 108 at bats earning a promotion, he is hitting .371 thru 62 at bats with a .459 OBP at Myrtle Beach.

He is a 14th round 2014 draft pick who is considered a “baseball player” in that he has the right instincts and knows what to do on the field, he is a contact hitter with average speed.

20-year-old Billy McKinney was having a great season at Myrtle Beach thru 103 at bats hitting .340 with a .432 OBP and 11 extra base hits, he has continued the hot hitting at Double A where thru 59 at bats he is hitting .305 ( .364 OBP) with 7 extra base hits.

McKinney came to the Cubs in the Jeff Samardzija trade last year with the Athletics, he was the A’s number 1 pick in the 2013 draft. reporter Johnathan Mayo via had this breakdown about McKinney:

“There were few, if any, high school bats better than McKinney’s. With a balanced approach and a smooth swing from the left side, he projects to be a plus hitter with above-average power.”

The offense sounds like it’s there but while scouts rave about those aspects of his game – the same isn’t said about his glove. Baseball Prospectus rates his defensive tools has about average to below average.

What helps him is his hustle and all-out effort on every play.

22-year-old outfielder Mark Zagunis is having a solid season at .301 ( .439 OBP) thru 156 at bats with 13 extra base hits.

Zagunis was drafted as a catcher out of Virginia Tech and still sees time behind the plate but the depth at the position in the Cubs organization and his athleticism has made him more viable in the outfield to move up the chain.

20-year-old pitcher Duane Underwood Jr stands out on the hill as he has posted a sparkling 1.60 ERA thru 9 starts (45 innings) with a 5-1 record.

Underwood was the Cubs 2nd round pick in the 2012 draft, had this to say about him : Underwood has more upside than any Cubs starting pitching prospect. He operates at 92-95 mph with his fastball and could work in the mid-90s once he adds more strength. Both of his secondary pitches elicit swings and misses too, with his hard curveball more reliable than his change-up.
His control and command got better last season as well, giving Underwood all the ingredients necessary to become a frontline starter. If he can build on the progress he made in the second half, he could begin to advance quickly through the Minors.

Double A – Tennessee Smokies ( 28-23, 2nd place in Southern League North Division)

22 year old catcher Kyle Schwarber is hitting .322 (.450 OBP) with 12 home runs.

He is the 2nd highest ranked player in the Cubs system and was their first round pick in the 2014 draft. ( #4 overall). says this about him : “If he can stay at catcher, Schwarber’s bat could make him a superstar. He moves well for his size and has some arm strength, but his throwing and receiving need a lot of work, and most scouts outside the organization don’t think he can make it as a backstop. If he has to move to left field, where he played some in Indiana and in his pro debut, he still should make an offensive impact.”

23-year-old catcher Wilson Contreras is also having a year at Tennessee hitting .321 ( .388 OBP) with 18 extra base hits (14 doubles)

Baseball Prospectus said this about him :

“Contreras is a converted 3B, so the position does not come naturally to WIllson. The tradeoff, though, is that he’s got better speed than a normal catcher does. He won’t get a chance to use it defensively (though he has a plus hose on him, so he has the skillet to be a defensive asset once he has experience), it will help him as far as base running and legging out extra bases. His bat profiles as a bottom-of-the-order type; that’s not a knock on him, just a reality of a catcher that isn’t offensively incredible.
Contreras has been praised for his ability to hit a good fastball, which is important, but it’s an open question what he’ll do against better breaking pitches.”

22-year-old first baseman Dan Vogelbach is currently on the disabled list but has posted a .320 average ( .436 OBP) thru 147 at bats with 17 extra base hits (14 doubles)

He is a 2011 2nd round draft pick, says this about him : “Vogelbach is more than just a one-dimensional masher. He controls the strike zone, makes consistent contact and uses the entire field, so he should hit for a solid average while providing plus power. He has yet to fully tap into his pop, though he’s also still just 22.
There are two obstacles to him becoming a regular for the Cubs: All-Star Anthony Rizzo and persistent questions about whether Vogelbach has enough athleticism to be more than a DH. He has gotten himself in much better shape than the days in high school when he carried 280 pounds on his 6-foot frame, but he’s a base-clogger with limited range at first base.”

Triple A – Iowa Cubs ( 26-24, 2nd place Pacific Coast League American North Division)

22-year-old shortstop/second baseman and now third baseman Javier Baez is hitting .304 (.389 OBP) thru 115 at bats with 11 extra base hits. His recall up to the Cubs seems imminent as they contemplate moving Kris Bryant to LF to work Baez into the lineup some.

With many of the previous year’s prospects now on the major league Cubs roster Carl Edwards Jr, a 21-year-old pitcher sits atop most rankings, he is at triple A Iowa now after beginning the season at double A, his numbers don’t stand out just yet there but this is what says about him :

” Edwards usually operates in the low 90s with his fastball and has reached 97 mph, but the velocity doesn’t matter as much as its natural cutting life. Hitters rarely make hard contact against his heater and have tagged him for just two homers in 237 innings through three pro seasons. His secondary pitches continue to improve, with his curveball now sitting in the upper 70s with good depth and his change-up featuring some splitter action.
Edwards’ offerings have so much life that they’re not always easy to control. He’s a good athlete, however, and should develop at least average command. The only real concern with him becoming a frontline starter is an extremely skinny frame that may not be suited to taking the ball every fifth day.”

21-year-old Albert Almora is also highly regarded, some see him as the Cubs third best prospect, he is struggling a bit at double A with a .247 average thru 150 at bats. This is what says about him ” Though he barrels balls easily and delivers line drives all over the field, Almora is extremely aggressive at the plate and more advanced pitchers have used that against him. He’s a career .294 hitter through three pro seasons, but he rarely walks (.322 on-base percentage) and hasn’t been able to tap into his average raw power (.424 slugging). If he can develop a more patient approach, he could become a .280 hitter with 15 homers per year at the big league level.
That could be enough to make Almora a star because he looks like a future Gold Glover in center field. Despite just average speed, he gets tremendous jumps and takes precise routes that allow him to track down balls from gap to gap. His strong, accurate arm is another asset.”

Minor Leaguers of interest – Red Sox

With trade winds expected to blow much stronger in Phillies land over the next couple months I thought it might be a good idea to take a look at other organizations minor league stats to see what they may indicate in regards to minor league talent.

Here are the Boston Red Sox affiliates, the stats do not include games played beyond May 31st  :

Low Single A : Greenville Drive ( 30-20, 1st place South Atlantic League Southern Division)

Rafael Devers is an 18 year old third baseman from the Dominican Republic who is hitting .341 with a .370 OBP thru 164 at bats, he has 3 home runs and 22 runs batted I with 13 doubles.

Javier Guerra is a 19 year old short stop who is hitting .297 with a .359 OBP thru 138 at bats with 4 home runs and 21 RBI’s

Mauricio Dubon, a 20 year shortstop who has also been playing second base is hitting .295 with an OBP of .339 thru 176 at bats with 4 home runs and 25 RBI’s

Pitching wise 21 year old Jalen Beeks has stood out going 5-1 thru 9 starts

High Single A Salem Red Sox ( 26-24, 2nd place in Carolina League Southern Division)

No numbers jump off the page on this roster, the best belong to converted outfielder Aneury Taverez who was previously a pitcher in the system. He is a 23 year old who was hitting .280 with a .368 OBP thru 132 at bats as a right fielder. He was promoted to Double A where he has played 8 games.

21 year old first baseman Sam Travis has decent numbers hitting .270 with a .340 OBP thru 177 at bats, he has 10 doubles, 2 home runs and 26 RBI’s

Pitching wise 20 year old lefty Daniel McGrath sports a 1.80 ERA thru six starts and 30 innings with 31 k’s, he is presently on the disabled list.
Double A Portland Sea Dogs ( 22-29, last place in Eastern League Eastern Division)

25 year old first baseman Jantzen Witte is hitting .326 with a .393 OBP thru 175 at bats, he has knocked in 35 runs and has 16 doubles with 3 home runs

Oscar Tejeda is a 25 year old third baseman who is hitting .310 with 13 doubles in 155 at bats

Marco Hernandez is a 22 year old Dominican shortstop who is hitting .301 thru 113 at bats with only 3 walks

Pitching wise 24 year old William Cuevas is 6-2 with a 3.02 ERA and 43 k’s in 47 innings

Triple A Pawtucket Paw Sox ( 26-25, 2nd place in International League Northern a Division)

Jackie Bradley Jr ( 25 year old outfielder) is hitting .352 with an OBP of .406 in 122 at bats, he has 2 home runs and 11 RBI’s with 10 doubles

Allen Craig is hitting .328 in triple A since his outright in 61 at bats with a .431 OBP

No other active player on the triple A roster is hitting above .260 and in fact many are at or below the .200 Mendoza line including “prospects” Jemile Weeks and Garin Cecchini

Pitching wise Henry Owens ( 22 year old lefty) sports a 3.15 ERA thru 10 starts and 54 innings with 42 strike outs

24 year old lefty Brian Johnson is 6-3 with a 2.60 ERA in 10 starts with 57 k’s in 55 innings

22 year old Eduardo Rodriquez had a 2.98 ERA in 8 starts before his call up to the show.

All in all not off the wall numbers in the Sox system, they are light at triple A results and best of the system seems to be in class A again with the promotions of high talent players Mookie Betts, Brock Holt, Rusney Castillo and Mookie Betts to the show this season.

Of the players not active on the big league roster most sites now consider Yoan Moncado ( he has just begun play at Greenville with 9 games under his belt) ,Owens, Devers and Manual Margot ( is at Salem but is hitting just .257 in 105 at bats) with Johnson as the fifth as the systems top, not sure there would be enough here for me to pry a guy like Cole Hamels  loose unless they put Swihart or Betts in the deal, the single A guys are very young and would be a big gamble to go that route.

Minor Leaguers of Interest – Houston Astros

Hello, my name is Steve Potter and I am a new writer on phuturephillies. I am a published author, in a shameless act of self promotion if you are looking for a nice Father’s Day gift check out my book on the 2008 Phillies entitled “2008 Phillies – A Poetic Season”. It is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble 😃.

But the real reason I asked Greg to join this great blog site is to have the chance to talk about the Phillies minor leagues and other systems from a potential trade perspective, I will primarily focus on the Reading team regarding the Phillies but will also post  some articles on minor league systems of other organizations and highlights on players.

For my debut posting I am looking at the minor league system of the Houston Astros from a baseball statistical perspective to review what players may be potential trade chips if the Phillies work out a deal with Houston. I will look at other systems as well, here is the analysis of the Astros I did this week, stats don’t include games played beyond May 31st.

Low Single A team – Quad Cities River Bandits (35-16, 1st place in Midwest League Western Division)
Catcher Jacob Nottingham ( 20 years old) is having an outstanding year hitting .310 with a .387 OBP with 8 home runs and 31 RBI’s thru 39 games played and 148 at bats. He is 6’3″ 200 lbs from Redlands, California.

Outfielder Derek Fisher ( 21 years old). , a 2014 first round draft pick, was hitting .305 with a .386 OBP smacking 6 home runs and driving in 24. He is a product of the University of Virginia and goes 6’1″ 207. Fisher was recently promoted to high A and hit three home runs ( 2 of them grand slams) driving in a record 12 runs in his very first game at that level! He went 4 for 6 in the game which included a 3 run double 😳

Pitcher Daniel Mengden ( 22 years old) is 4-1 with a 1.16 ERA thru 38 innings ( 6 starts) and has struck out 36 batters

High Single A – Lancaster JetHawks (27-23, 2nd in California League Southern Division)

Outfielder Brett Phillips ( 21 years old) is hitting .330 with 8 home runs and 31 RBI’s thru 197 at bats, his OBP is .394.

22 year old first baseman A.J. Reed has 13 home runs and 40 RBI’s thru 185 at bats with a .281 batting average and a .392 OBP

Pitching wise right hander Edison Frias is 6-2 after 8 starts and leads the team in innings pitched with 41 ks in 42 innings

Double A – Corpus Christi Hooks ( 33-16, 1st place in Texas League Southern Division)

Top rated Astros shortstop prospect Carlos Correa ( 20 years old, 6’4″ 210) started the season at double A and tore up the league as he hit .385 (.459 OBP) with 7 home runs and 32 RBI’s along with 15 steals. He was promoted to Triple A Fresno where his stats are more human as he is hitting .240 thru 79 at bats with 3 home runs and 8 RBI’s. He is the real deal and will be an impact player in the show.

Pitching stands out at double A for the Astros in particular 2013 1st round draft pick Mark Appel who is 3-1 thru 9 starts. The 6’5″ 220 pound Stanford product has tossed 40 innings with a relatively high ERA of 5.85 with 29 K’s

Chris Devenski is 6-0 thru 6 starts with an ERA of .59, he began the season pitching out of the pen three games and has 35 K’s in 46 innings. He is a 24 year old.

22 year old closer Jandel Gustave has 5 saves

Triple A Fresno Grizzlies ( 28-22 1st place in Pacific Coast League Pacific North Division)

24 year old outfielder Preston Tucker was hitting .320 with an OBP of .378 with 10 home runs and 32 RBI’s thru 100 at bats before his call up to the Astros

25 year old outfielder LJ Hoes is hitting .320 thru 150 at bats with a .394 OBP,

22 year old outfielder Domingo Santana ( ex Phillies farmhand) is hitting .305 with an OBP of .418 and has smacked 10 home runs while driving in 25. He has struck out a whopping 58 times thru 154 at bats.

23 year old first baseman Jon Singleton ( ex Phillies farmhand) has 14 home runs and 47 RBI while sporting a .269 average with a .369 OBP thru his first 182 at bats, he has struck out 41 times

Pitching wise I don’t see any real standouts statistically at this level

Most baseball sites have Correa, Appel and Santana as the top 3 Astros prospects.