Well, I'm still working on my defensive ratings, so they won't come out until some time this weekend. I got behind at some point and it's taking me a long time to catch up on all the box scores I've missed. Still, I have enough hitting and pitching data to give you the first Players of the Month awards from the people at Minor Musings.
Triple-A (Round Rock Express)
(Age, year and round drafted)
Hitter of the Month: Mark Saccomanno, 1B/3B (29, 23rd, 2003) -- Saccomanno is tied for fifth in the PCL in RBIs with 20. He's also hit four home runs, three doubles and a triple. He's batting .282/.305/.500 with an Adjusted OPS of .830 and a weighted OBP of .322. His walks may be down but he's also only struck out four times in 81 at-bats, which is a rare skill in the Astros farm system. His BABiP is at .254, which is lower than his batting average, meaning he's probably going to do better than this next month.
Pitcher of the Month: Bud Norris, RHP (24, 6th, 2006) -- Norris is the youngest member of the Round Rock staff and, since Felipe Paulino left for the big leagues, has been it's most consistent member. Norris has started four games, pitching 23 2/3 innings with 25 strikeouts and 15 walks. He's given up six earned runs for an ERA of 2.28 and a WHIP of 1.39. His FIP (Fielding Independant Pitching) is at 3.66, a shade higher than his overall ERA but not high enough to suggest he's been lucky rather than good to this point. He's thrown 407 pitches and is averaging 3.88 pitcher per batter faced, which is higher than you'd like for a young guy. Still, he's been very efficient and should be a good contributor for the Astros, maybe sometime this summer.
Double-A (Corpus Christi Hooks)
Hitter of the Month: Drew Locke, LF (26, 19th, 2005 by LA Dodgers) -- I have players on the Hooks I like more than Locke, but there's no question he's been the best player on that team through the end of April. He's batting a ridiculous .446 in 74 at-bats, and has 33 hits, five home runs and six doubles. He has some troublesome spots (his age, high strikeout rate, low walk rate) but he put up a monster month. The Round Rock outfielders better watch out, because he could be on the move.
Pitcher of the Month: T.J. Burton, RHP (25, 18th, 2001 by Cleveland) -- I didn't want to put a reliever here, but Burton really has been the best pitcher on the Hooks' staff. In 10 innings, he's allowed just six hits, one earned run while striking out six and walking none. He's also picked up two saves and two holds in seven appearances. In his last three outings, he's thrown less than 10 pitches each time. The one bad spot? He gives up a TON of fly balls (18 in 34 batters faced). Still, he's become the rock of that bullpen.
High-A (Lancaster JetHawks)
Hitter of the Month: Jack Shuck, CF (21, 6th, 2008) -- Seems like I'm talking about Shuck every day. While Jonathan Gaston and Brian Pelligrini each came close in Runs Created, Shuck led the way on the back of his 29 hits in 82 at-bats, his .411 OBP and his 8/9 BB/K ratio. Shuck has scored 13 runs and is 6 for 6 on stolen base attempts. The outfielder from Ohio State has also reached base four times on errors, giving him a wOBA of .353.
Pitcher of the Month: Chia-Jen Lo, RHP (23, 2008 Int'l FA) -- Lo is the second straight reliever to win the award, rightfully so. In 14 2/3 innings, he's given up five hits and two earned runs while striking out 24 and walking seven. Lo (1-0) has one save and three holds and has pitched longer than one inning in all seven of his appearances.
Low-A (Lexington Legends)
Hitter of the Month: Albert Cartwright, 2B (21, 36th, 2007) -- Cartwright was the only Legend in double figures in Runs Created before Thursday's game (Ebert Rosario had a triple to join him). The second baseman is tied for the Astros minors lead in doubles with seven and has two home runs and a triple to boot. His 22 hits are the most on the Legends and he's second in steals with three. Cartwright's got a wOBA of .367 and a BABiP of .400, so we'll see if he can sustain this success, but right now's he's been the bright spot in a lonely offense.
Pitcher of the Month: Ross Seaton, 19 (3rd, 2008) -- Seaton has gotten plenty of press on this site. In comparison with the rest of his teammates, he's thrown the most innings, faced the most batters and is third in strikeouts. Only Brad Dydalewicz and Kyle Greenwalt have a lower ERA of all the starters and both have less strikeouts. Now, let's avoid a May letdown, shall we?
Notes for Friday: Brad Dydalewicz was placed on the 7-day disabled list and right-hander Ashton Mowdy, the 19th-round pick in 2008 from Eastern Oklahoma State Community College, took his place and pitched a perfect inning of relief on Thursday.