Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday's Triumphant Return

And we're back!

After a early-season trip to St. Louis knocked me horribly behind schedule, I've finally caught up in time to talk about the Astros minor leagues in an intelligent way. Let's start off with the good stuff:

Round Rock starter Josh Banks got roughed up on Friday, allowing eight hits and six earned runs in 5 1/3 innings. It was the first time Banks had not completed the sixth inning this season and still only raised his ERA to 3.69. Of course, his FIP of 4.38 shows he's been lucky to this point. Another fun fact? Banks has given up a home run in all four of his starts so far.

While Jason Castro has been disappointing this season at the plate, he has walked in 11 straight games now and his OBP of .390 is pretty solid. Imagine if his batting average were higher than .234?

Round Rock has been pretty speed this season. The Express have stolen 21 bases in 25 attempts. Granted, 12 of those 25 attempts belong to Jason Bourgeois, but it's impressive nonetheless.

Another guy having a solid start at Round Rock is Gustavo Chacin. A rough spring dropped him out of the race for a big league spot, but Chacin has rebounded nicely with a 13/4 K/BB rate and allowing just four earned runs in 20 2/3 innings. His ERA of 1.74 is probably a bit high, but his FIP of 3.78 is still pretty respectable. If his K rate were a little higher, we could be getting a little more excited about his April.

Douglas Arguello lost his first decision of the season, allowing four earned runs over six innings. Arguello struck out six while walking one, giving him a 20/5 K/BB ratio on the season. He's also got a good ground ball rate, which is one of the reasons why his BABiP rate of .304 could be sustainable for longer than a month. It's also one of the reasons his FIP of 2.21 is encouraging.

Obviously, the offensive story with the Hooks is Koby Clemens. He's created 12.18 runs this season with a wBOA of .323. his six home runs also leads the team but he's trailed closely in wOBA by Marcos Cabral, who has started at second base, third base and shortstop this season.

Unfortunately, one of the Hooks off to a slow start is T.J. Steele, who's 12 for 59 this season with two walks and 12 strikeouts. His wOBA of .193 is one of the lowest on the Corpus Christi roster and his BABiP of .255 is fifty points lower than his batting average. We're less than a month into the season and we're still only talking about 61 plate appearances, but hopefully Steele can turn things around soon.

We'll get to more minor league info Tuesday, with updates on Lancaster and probably Lexington as well.