Friday, April 10, 2009

Minor League Opening Day Thoughts

Okay, after parsing through all four box scores and crunching the numbers in my super-cool database, I've come up with some observations on Thursday's games.

First, the best hitters of the day? Round Rock's J.R. Towles and Lexington's Ebert Rosario. I'm assuming most Astros fans are familiar with Towles, but may not know who Rosario is. I sure didn't till I looked it up! Rosario is a product of the Astros Venezuelan Academy and had played in the Venezuelan Summer League for two years before debuting with rookie league Greenville last season.

Rosario is a 22-year old third baseman, but showed excellent range last night. Of all the infielders I looked at, he had the most assists. He also picked up three hits in four at-bats and hit a double and a triple. Pretty nice opening day line. Now, considering his manager batted him sixth, he may not actually have that kind of bat. His VSL numbers suggest a good contact hitter but not much power. However, VSL power numbers have been pretty depressed, from what I can tell.

Towles also had two extra-base hits, including a home run. If he can keep his bat going, he may be back up with the big league team just in time for Pudge's June swoon.

The other big performance from last night was 18-year old Jordan Lyles making his first Low A start. In five innings, he struck out three, allowed five hits and two earned runs with one walk. He had an 8 to 4 ground ball/flyball ratio, which is a very good sign. You'd like to see his strikeout numbers higher, but his defense picked him up and it looked like he was pitching to contact. He got his first Low A win for his efforts, which is a job well done.

Other thoughts: Josh Flores didn't disappoint in his big-league return, going 2 for 4 with a double and a stolen base. He also picked up an outfield assist by throwing out a runner at home. .... Collin DeLome homered for the first time in Corpus. The Lamar product hit 22 homers last season and looks to continue that pace in 2009. ... My new defensive metrics have been very interesting so far. It looks like the Low A outfielders need some work. Last year's second round pick Jay Austin twice let runners advance on a single with a runner at second. On the other side, guys like Craig Corrado put together a strong first game at second. After switching to the position in May of last season, Corrado has been solid. ... My team Defensive Efficiency Percentage for the first game were pretty solid. Round Rock and Corpus Christi both had pretty good nights, while Lancaster was just horrible. Hopefully, that's an abberation and not a trend.

Well, that's all for today. We'll try to get back sometime this weekend with more Minor League Roundup!

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