Thursday, February 27, 2014

Astros Minor League Depth - Right Field

In my ongoing series covering the Astros minor league depth, this week we're looking at outfielders. I have divided them into center, left and right based on where they played the most games in 2013, but most of the players spent time at more than one position.  I am sorting their 2013 stats according to on-base percentage with those who finished the season at Advanced A or higher shown first and Low A or short season players below. Today, we cover right fielders. (Here are my posts on center fielders and left fielders from earlier in the week.)

2012 16th round draft pick Dan Gulbransen leads this list in on-base percentage, but all four of the advanced players are fairly strong in on-base skills. More interestingly, those four all rank in the top 10 in the Astros system in slugging percentage. Gulbransen made short work of Tri-City, spent a little time at Quad Cities and then graduated to Lancaster to end the season. His Lancaster teammate Chris Epps ranked highly in several offensive categories and the lefty continued his domination of lefty pitchers, hitting a robust .306/.370/.542 against southpaws. Epps was drafted in the 45th round in 2011 and turned 25 in December.

Domingo Santana, obtained in the July 2011 Hunter Pence trade, just turned 21 in August and definitely held his own at the AA level. He was tied for second in the Astros minor league system with 25 home runs. (He also had more strikeouts than anyone not named George Springer.) He is still a little rough around the edges as he grows into that huge body, but I felt that he made good strides defensively. Once he puts it all together, watch out!

Domingo Santana - May 2013
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Preston Tucker, the 2012 seventh round draft pick, joined Santana in Corpus Christi in late June after tearing up pitching in the California League to start the season. He started making the adjustment to AA well and ended the season among the top offensive performers in the Astros system, including tying Santana for second in the system with 25 home runs. Tucker is probably known by most more for that powerful swing of his than anything else, but his defense in 2013 was solid. He only committed one error while collecting 14 outfield assists for the season. Tucker will be 24 in July. [Note: I had written this post prior to this article coming out from Evan Drellich noting that Tucker's bat has drawn some very positive attention in camp.]

Preston Tucker - June 2013
Photo by Jayne Hansen

2013 38th round draft pick Ronnie Mitchell had an up and down season with the bat. If he can show more consistency at the plate, he could very well be a late-round sleeper. He will be 23 in June.

Ydarqui Marte, a 21-year old from the Dominican Republic, is in his fourth season in the Astros system and in his third season in the Gulf Coast League. He was called up to Tri-City at the end of the season and appeared in four games there. Fellow Dominican Brauly Mejia is in his second season with the Dominican Summer League. He only turned 19 in October. Their numbers are very similar, but Marte appears to be the superior defender.

2011 29th round draft pick Wallace Gonzalez, 2010 international signing Ariel Ovando, and 2012 12th round draft pick Terrell Joyce all struggled mightily at the plate in 2013. Gonzalez only played in 30 games at Greeneville. Ovando started the season at Quad Cities alongside Joyce, but was demoted to Greeneville where he played the final 51 games of his season.

One player whose stats aren't included in the chart is 2011 11th round draft pick Justin Gominsky who suffered a wrist injury and missed the 2013 season. He played a good amount of center field in addition to right in 2012.

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