Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Road Trip to Corpus Christ

This week, I think it will work better if we break each roundup into minor league levels. So, today, we'll visit Corpus Christi and Lancaster to see what's been going on in the last 10 days. Of course, news broke over the weekend that Mitch Einertson has been suspended for 50 games after a second positive drug test. According to farmstros, Einertson did not test positive for performance enhancers, but for recreational drugs. The Astros signed former Hooks outfielder Ray Sadler to take his spot, rather than make a late-season call-up from Lancaster. With that, let's get to all the news and notes you can handle from the city by the Bay:

Right-handed pitcher Brad James lost his ninth and tenth games of the season last week. The 23-year old pitched seven total innings over the two starts, lasting one inning in the first and six in the second. James gave up 11 hits and 11 earned runs, striking out five and walking four. More distressing is that James, a sinkerballer with a high ground ball rate, has given up two home runs and has a 5/10 G/F ratio. James also hit four batters, indicating he may be having control problems, though he actually has more strikeouts than walks for the first time in a while.

Right-handed pitcher Sergio Perez has been better, going 1-1 in two starts, lasting 11 total innings while getting 12 hits and six earned runs. The 23-year old struck out eight and walked two, giving up two home runs in his second start. His FIP of 4.65 is just south of his ERA of 4.91, though his WHIP is a very good 1.27. I still lean towards Perez being better in the bullpen long-term, but keeping him in the rotation right now can't hurt anything.

Right-handed pitcher Chia-Jen Lo has appeared in just three games this month, striking out three and walking one in 4 2/3 innings. The 23-year old allowed two hits and one earned run without picking up any decisions. Lo's averages (1.93 ERA, 0.64 WHIP, 2.56 FIP) are excellent, but his BABiP of .154 suggests this hot streak won't continue for long.

Outfielder Drew Locke started out hot in August, going 15 for 44 with four doubles, one triple, two home runs, eight runs scored, six RBIs, three walks and six strikeouts. Locke's 10 runs created this month is twice the total of the second-best hitter. Only one other player has a higher weighted OBA than Locke's .375 (we'll get to him later). Still, the Hooks only could muster a 4-7 record in August, dropping their overall record to 19-25 in the second half of the season.

Catcher Jason Castro leads Corpus Christi in batting average and has a line of .353/.421/.412 in 38 plate appearances. Castro only has two doubles but has also scored seven runs and driven in another five. Castro has a wOBA of .326 and has raised his season averages up to .312/.368/.409. Castro's catcher's ERA is also at 4.83 in eight games this month, which is a bit high, but he doesn't have much to work with on that pitching staff.

Center fielder Nick Moresi is having his best stretch of games to date in 2009. In nine games this month, the 24-year old former Fresno State star is 11 for 33 with five doubles, five runs scored, five RBis and one home run. Moresi was promoted more for his defense than his bat, as he's got a career line of just .222/.289/.353.

Shortstop Wladimir Sutil has been just okay this month, going 12 for 45 with three walks, seven runs scored and three RBIs. Still, he's only had three doubles and has been caught stealing once and picked off another time. His line of .267/.327/.333 is down from his season averages, even though he's had one 4 for 5 day this month.

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