Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tuesday Brieflys

This is what I watched last night instead of the home run derby. On that note, let's get to all the news and notes from the Astros minor league system (with the caveat that Round Rock is off until Thursday):

Corpus starter Sergio Perez (7-8) had a perfectly average start on Monday, lasting 6 2/3 innings while allowing seven hits and two runs. Perez struck out three and walked five, giving up a home run and hitting a batter. The K/BB ratio and the number of hits given up suggest Perez didn't necessarily have his best stuff, but he did get 12 ground ball outs, which is the most he's gotten in nine starts. His FIP of 6.95 reflects this and it was the second straight start where Perez had an FIP above 6.50.

Drew Locke is still struggling to hit for power since his early-season surge. In his last 14 games, Locke has one double. The 26-year old is batting .316/.364/.477 this season and is keeping his batting average around .256 in July.

Collin DeLome had two hits on Monday, bringing his average up to .317/.378/.537. DeLome is now leading the team in Runs Created with 8 this month and is second behind Locke on the season with 51 runs created.

Danny Meszaros pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings of relief on Monday, striking out three while walking one and giving up one hit. The 23-year old out of the College of Charleston has appeared in five games this month, striking out eight in eight innings. His ERA of 2.25 is half his total ERA of 5.05 and between a BABiP of .238 and a FIP of 3.95, his real talent level may lie somewhere i the middle. He still should be up in Round Rock to start next season and have a shot of making the big league club shortly thereafter.

Koby Clemens was a single short of the cycle on Monday, though he did collect four hits. The fourth just ended up being a home run instead of a single. Clemens was 4 for 5 with a double, a triple, two home runs, four runs scored and seven RBIs. This month, the 22-year old catcher is batting .367/.396/.816 which gives him an OPS of 1.213. Even after adjusting for ballpark factors, Clemens has an OPS of 1.136, which is still outstanding. The only black mark on his record is that he's struck out 16 times in 53 plate appearances. Clemens has always been prone to striking out, but in the last month and a half, it's gotten more pronounced.

Another guy having a big month of July is Matt Weston. In 59 plate appearances, Weston is batting .385/.458/.750 with three home runs, a triple and eight doubles. The former University of Houston star has scored 18 runs already this month and has driven in 17 more. Weston has also struck out 19 times. His Runs Created total of 18.6 is the highest on the team.

Starter Chris Hicks got roughed up following three straight good outings. Hicks lasted just two innings on Sunday, giving up seven hits and six runs (four earned) while striking out two and walking two. Surprisingly, once you take into account his home ballpark, Hicks has created more runs (40) than Yorman Bazardo, Sergio Perez, Kyle Greenwalt, Ross Seaton and even Jordan Lyles. I really think the Astros have a hidden gem with Hicks but since he's stuck in a hitters league and a hitter's paradise of a ballpark, his traditional numbers are disappointing.

Reliever Ashton Mowdy was recently called up to Lancaster and has dazzled in two appearances. His best was a two-inning appearance in Sunday's game. The former Eastern Oklahoma State Community College pitcher allowed three hits and one run while striking out five. The only other out he recorded was a ground ball. Mowdy started out the season in extended spring training, but moved up to Lexington in late April and has been good ever since.

Until Jay Austin cools off, I'm going to keep talking about him. Considering he went 6 for 13 over the weekend with two doubles and a triple, it's safe to say you'll keep hearing about him. Austin is now 20 for 47 this month with seven runs scored and five RBIs. Austin has hit two doubles, three triples and home run while stealing six bases in seven attempts. His Runs Created of 14.3 is three times the number of any other player on the team and he's still batting .426/.438/.660 for the month.

Shortstop Chris Jackson is off to a good start in Lexington after being demoted from Lancaster. Jackson is 4 for 14 wiht a run scored, an RBI and a triple since being sent down a level. His like of .286/.353/.429 is one of the best on the team, though he's only gotten a handful of plate appearances.

Starter Ross Seaton hasn't been pushed out of the rotation, and had a nice start on Sunday. In six innings, Seaton gave up seven hits and five runs but only one of those was earned. The 19-year old also struck out six and walked two while giving up a home run and hitting a batter. The strikeouts tied a season-high for Seaton and, though his game score was at an even 50, this continued his run of success. I don't love his K/9 rate (5.23) and his BB/9 rate is a touch high at 2.47, but he rarely gives up home runs and his K/9 rate over the past three starts is up to 6.60. Seaton is definitely improving, if not as fast as Jordan Lyles, it's still there.

Tri-City's Brian Kemp has a nice little eight-game hitting streak going right now and has brought his season average up to .342/.419/.392. Kemp is definitely a leadoff hitter-type, but he gets on base at a good clip and makes a very useful chip in the farm system coffers.

Max Fearnow started a game for Tri-City on Monday, pitching three scoreless innings to extend his streak to six innings without giving up a run. Omaha's own gave up two hits while striking out two and walking one. Fun Omaha fact: The Omaha zoo is literally next door to Rosenblatt Stadium and holds the largest indoor jungle in the States and one of the coolest gorilla exhibits around.

Another ValleyCat starter, Colton Pitkin, threw a complete game on Friday as the teams made up a postponed game from Thursday. Pitkin gave up three runs in seven innings, striking out two and walking none while allowing nine hits. Pitkin has thrown 27 1/3 innings over five starts this season, striking out 18 while walking 12. His team has also only scored eight runs in support of him and has been shut out in three of his five starts.

Greeneville starter Luis Cruz turned in his second-best start of the season when he struck out eight over six innings on Monday. Cruz allowed four hits and two runs while walking one to get a no-decision. The 19-year old also hit his first two batters of the season and had a game score of
63. It was also the first time since his first start that his G/F ratio had trended toward the ground balls; surprisingly, his first start was also his best. Cruz is averaging 7.83 K/9 innings and 2.74 BB/9 innings this season.

That's all for today...we'll be back tomorrow with more news and notes.

No comments: