Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tuesday Brieflys

A mixed bag of news in the latest Minor League Notebook from The Houston Chronicle. Jason Castro got the call-up to Double-A Corpus Christi last night, less than a year after being drafted out of Stanford. Other college-age prospects from last year's draft have made the jump, such as Texas first baseman Justin Smoak, and judging from Castro's performance so far this season, his transition should go smoothly. On the down side, Douglas Arguello, one of the pitchers Castro would have been catching, was placed on the 7-day DL this week with swelling in his elbow. Hopefully, this isn't a serious issue, but it bears watching. Anyways, let's get into all the news and notes from the Astros minor league system:

Brian Bogusevic went 2 for 4 with another double and an RBI in Monday's game against rehabbing Cubs pitcher Rich Harden. Bogey still leads the team with six June RBIs and four doubles. His slugging percentage is only topped by Lou Santangelo and Chris Johnson, though Santangelo has 23 fewer at-bats.

The two players manning first base for Round Rock, Mark Saccomanno and John Gall, are both in a June swoon. For Gall, his 5 for 30 start mirrors his May numbers and have been a big reason why his average has fallen to .235/.308/.358 on the season. Saccomanno is going through a 3 for 24 stretch to start the month, lowering his season average to .270/.306/.401.

Wladimir Sutil had a five game hitting streak broken on Sunday before getting two more hits on Monday. Sutil is 7 for 21 with 8 walks, five runs, two RBIs, one SB, and three strikeouts this month. His .333/.517/.429 line gives him the highest OBP on the team this month and is a big reason why he's been slotted into the leadoff spot the past few games. Sutil doesn't have as much power as Tommy Manzella, but he's been more consistent at the plate with a career line of .279/.345/.324.

Corpus starter Brad James started twice since I've talked about the Hooks. In his first start last week, James gave up four runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings while striking out a season-high five and walking three. His FIP of 3.01 was his lowest of the season and he gave up zero line drives. In the second start, James reversed those trends, walking five and striking out three in five innings of work. He allowed three hits and two earned runs but his FIP was at 8.20, his second-highest total of the season. James continues to pitch very inconsistently and unless his strikeout rate suddenly spikes, shows very little hope of making the majors.

Mitch Einertson also had a five game hitting streak broken up on Sunday. After suffering through an off month in May, Einertson has bounced back nicely in June, batting .333/.346/.458 with a home run and five RBIs. He's already brought his average up to .266 for the season and the home run he hit was his fifth this year.

Polin Trinidad rebounded from a horrific last start (his game score was 9), but was still just a shade under average. His quality start (six innings, two earned runs) was decent enough, but he only struck out four and allowed a home run. His FIP of 4.03 was a little above his season FIP of 3.98 and his batting average all0wed of .315 is too high to sustain any success. The one good thing about his perforamnce is he doesn't walk anyone. In 51 innings, Trinidad has walked six batters and has given up more home runs (7) than walks.

Collin DeLome finally broke his homerless drought dating back to last month by hitting a solo shot on Sunday. DeLome has had more time off recently as his May slump grew deeper, but the results have been solid since then. In 21 plate appearances, DeLome is hitting .263/.333/.526 with a home run and two doubles. The centerfielder has 11 home runs on the season, which leads the Hooks and is tied for the club lead with seven steals. Also helping his cause is the fact that he has already drawn two walks and struck out four times. In May, DeLome drew three walks in the entire month while striking out 28 times. If he improves that ratio, he'll be a good major league player.

Sergio Perez also pitched his second best start of the season, going six innings and allowing five hits and one earned run. He tied his season high with six strikeouts and walked two. His game score of 62 was only bested by his score of 69 in his fifth start of the season. Perez benefitted from three double plays and had his highest Defense Efficiency Ratio (.688) and FIP (2.70) in four starts.

I mention Drew Meyer every now and then, but at 27, he's really not a prospect. Still, he's hitting well this month, going 9 for 25 with two walks, two doubles, and five RBIs. Meyer plays an okay second base, but the lack of any other real prospects at the position highlight the reason why a guy like Meyer can end up with the Hooks. He's a solid organizational guy and would be a good fill-in at Round Rock if he's needed there.

The Corpus bullpen has been much stronger lately with the additions of Daniel Meszaros and Chai-Jen Lo. Teaming up with T.J. Burton, the team has a great bridge to win games, which is why they've won three of their last four. Meszaros has pitched in three games, throwing five innings and allowing four hits and one earned run. The 23-year old has also struck out four and walked none. In 27 innings, Meszaros has allowed only one home run and should continue his ascent up the system. Lo has also pitched in three games since coming off the DL last weekend. The 23-year old Taiwanese reliever has thrown three innings while allowing one hit and no earned runs. He's walked two and struck out three while hitting two batters. After being so dominant in Lancaster, Lo seems like he needs a little time to find his rhythm again.

I'll keep updating as the night goes on, but I'm going to post these thoughts right now so I can prepare a post about the Astros first round pick when it comes in a little bit. I thought LHP Matthew Purke made sense for them, but the Rangers just grabbed him. That means RHP Shelby Miller may fall a little, though I doubt he gets to 21. It doesn't really make sense to take another outfielder when our system is so lousy with them, so I'll be interested to see if they take Mier, the shortstop who's supposed to be the best pure defender in the draft.

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