Thursday, May 7, 2009

Thursday's Thoughts

Here's a look at what happened on Wednesday night in the Astros minor league system. I'm going to try and get up another pitching profile up later this afternoon.

Jose Capellan had an okay start on Wednesday, especially considering his track record to that point. He allowed four earned runs in five innings, but that actually lowered his ERA to 10.16. Capellan also struck out 5, his most strikeouts in a start this season. Fellow Round Rock pitcher Evan Englebrook pitched another scoreless inning in his second game of the season.

Douglas Arguello turned in the first complete game in the Astros minors this season, scattering seven hits and one earned run in a complete game victory. Arguello (1-1) also struck out six and walked none.

A pair of home runs by Jonathan Fixler and Drew Locke were all the support Arguello needed in the victory. Fixler is hitting .231 in May, but all three of his hits this month have been for extra bases and he has a slugging percentage of .710 on the season. Fixler only has 31 total at-bats this season as he played behind Brian Esposito for most of April, but has gotten most of the starts since Koby Clemens was called up from Lancaster.

Locke's home run was his sixth of the season and the 26-year old has scored 15 runs and driven in 30 RBIs. He's slowed down some in May, hitting .263/.348/.421 in 19 at-bats.

Jonathan Gaston went 5 for 5 with three home runs, seven RBIs and four runs scored. The more impressive thing is he did it on the road in Lake Elsinore. Gaston's home/road splits have been pretty lopsided this season, but the entire team beat up on the Storm on Wednesday as seven of the nine regulars collected multiple hits and everyone in the lineup got at least one.

One of the Lake Elsinore players last night was former Baylor shortstop Beamer Weems. The 2008 eighth-round draft pick by the Padres is hitting .264 in 24 games this season and, if he ever makes it to the majors, is a lock for the Ty Wigginton Memorial All-Stars*.

*Incidentally, this year's winner was a very tough call. Boston's Jonathan Van Every has a a very cool name. Craig Calcaterra over at The Hardball Times said it's a name that some 22-year old literary student would use in his first manuscript. Doesn't make it any less awesome, though. Still, it doesn't hold a candle to Elvis. Elvis Andrus, that is. Andrus is your 2009 TWMAS.

For all the grumbling I do about the Lexington offense, they have four players hitting over .300 in May and two players hitting .400. Kody Hinze is off to a 5 for 14 start with a home run and two doubles. Jay Austin has also brought his overall average up to .222 by hitting .318/.348/.409 in May. The two players who have gone the craziest, though, are Ebert Rosario and Brandon Barnes.

For Barnes, it seems like he's finally tapping into his potential after moving over from the football field. This is his second trip through the Sally League, but with an OPS of 1.223 and five extra-base hits in 25 at-bats this May, he's certainly mashing right now.

We discussed Rosario yesterday, and he didn't slow down last night, going 1 for 3 with a run scored and a strikeout. The only thing that concerns me about Rosario is that he consistently bats eighth. For someone who hits for such a good average and has flashed power, shouldn't his manager be batting him higher?

Finally, some sad, sad news for Houston hitting coach Sean Berry. The former Astros third baseman and minor league coach was diagnosed with kidney cancer on Wednesday. Our best wishes go out to him and his family.

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