Thursday, September 24, 2015

Corpus Christi Hooks: 2015 Season in Review

Corpus Christi ended the season with a 89-51 record, which was the most wins in the minors in 2015. The Hooks clinched their playoff berth by virtue of winning the first half of the season and although they won the first game of the Southern Division playoffs, they lost the next three in the best of five to Midland. Midland went on to sweep the Northwest Arkansas Naturals in the Texas League finals. Let's take a look at the team performance within the league and some of the individual standouts.

Jon Kemmer - May 2015
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Note all rankings are out of 8 total teams

Batting average: .275 (2nd)
On-base percentage: .365 (virtual tie for 1st)
Slugging percentage: .413 (3rd)
Doubles: 243 (3rd)
Triples: 29 (3rd)
Home runs: 117 (T2nd)
Walks: 569 (2nd)
Strikeouts: 997 (5th)
Stolen bases: 148 (2nd)

ERA: 3.62 (2nd)
WHIP: 1.330 (3rd)
Walks: 409 (8th)
Strikeouts: 1042 (4th)

The team was strong across the board in terms of both pitching and offense. Let's take a look at some who excelled at the level.

Batting Average: Tony Kemp (.358)
On-Base Percentage: Tony Kemp (.457)
Slugging Percentage: Jon Kemmer (.574 - 1st in the league)
Doubles: Conrad Gregor (29 - T8th in the league)
Triples: Jon Kemmer, Brett Phillips and Andrew Aplin were tied with 4 each
Home Runs: Jon Kemmer (18 - T2nd in the league)
RBI: Conrad Gregor (73 - 5th in the league)
Stolen Bases: Teoscar Hernandez (33 - 3rd in the league)
Walks: Conrad Gregor (65 - 6th in the league)
Runs: Teoscar Hernandez (92 - 2nd in the league)

The batting average and on-base leader is a bit misleading due to my arbitrary 50 game minimum. Jon Kemmer in his 104 games at the level was the actual league leader in average and ranked second in on-base percentage for all qualified players.

OF Jon Kemmer (24)
Kemmer had a remarkable season and silenced any detractors that felt his 2014 numbers were impacted by the Lancaster effect. In 104 games, he hit .327/.414/.574 with 28 doubles, four triples, 18 home runs, 65 RBI and nine stolen bases. He also walked 45 times to 89 strikeouts. Kemmer won the batting title for the Texas League and was named the Hooks Player of the Year.

3B Colin Moran (22)
Moran started off the season a little slowly (for him) and ended up missing a month due to a freak jaw injury he suffered in a game at the end of April. It took a while for him to get back up to speed, but he kicked it into high gear after the All-Star break, hitting .333/.416/.526 in 59 games after the break and .306/.381/.459 with 25 doubles, two triples, nine home runs and 67 RBI in 96 total games for the season. Moran was called up to AAA for the playoffs when Matt Duffy got the call to Houston.

C Alfredo Gonzalez (23)
Gonzalez started the season with Quad Cities (.326/.482/.395 in 13 games), was promoted to Lancaster in early May (.340/.388/.425 in 27 games) and was promoted again to Corpus Christi in early July (.300/.395/.320 in 32 games). Gonzalez is a good defensive catcher as well and had a 47% caught stealing rate for the season (although there is that matter of the 11 passed balls).

3B Tyler White (24)
White spent roughly half of his season with Corpus Christi (.284/.415/.426 in 59 games) before his early July promotion to Fresno (.362/.467/.559 in 57 games). He ended the season with a combined 25 doubles, one triple, 14 home runs and 99 RBI. He walked 84 times and struck out 73.

Jack Mayfield (24)
Mayfield fared better in his 66 games at Lancaster (.303/.370/.458) than he did in his first 48 games with Corpus Christi (.260/.330/.416), but he ended the season with a very respectable .286/.354/.441 for the season. Mayfield had a combined 19 doubles, four triples, 14 home runs and 65 RBI in 114 games.

Three other players spent portions of their seasons with Corpus and did very well at the level: IF Tony Kemp (.358/.457/.420 in 50 games), OF Andrew Aplin (.343/.458/.448 in 31 games) and C Tyler Heineman (.318/.383/.400 in 22 games). 1B A.J. Reed hit .332/.405/.571 in 53 games at Corpus following his mid-July promotion. See the Lancaster season in review (link below) for much more information about Reed.

ERA: Jandel Gustave (2.15 in 58.2IP)
WHIP: Michael Feliz (0.915 in 78.2IP)
Strikeouts: Chris Devenski (104 - 6th in the league)
Saves: Jandel Gustave (20 - 2nd in the league)

The 2015 Corpus Christi pitching class was mostly known for a trio of pitchers who were called directly to the big leagues from there: RHP Michael Feliz (2.17 ERA and 0.915 WHIP in 78.2IP); RHP Vince Velasquez (1.91 ERA and 1.000 WHIP in 33IP); and RHP Lance McCullers (0.56 ERA and 0.938 WHIP in 32IP). But there were others who had excellent seasons at the level as well.

RHP Chris Devenski (24)
Devenski got a little off track in the middle of the season, but he started it with a bang and ended it with a bang too! Before the All-Star break, Devenski was 7-1 with a 1.16 ERA and a 0.914 WHIP in 70 innings pitched. He ended the season with a callup to Fresno to help out with their postseason needs and an MVP award in his back pocket for his start in the AAA National Championship. For the season, Devenski had a 3.01 ERA (2nd in the league) and a 1.253 WHIP (5th in the league) in 119.2 innings of work. Devenski was recently named the Hooks Pitcher of the Year.

RHP Jandel Gustave (22)
The Astros front office has got to be VERY happy that Gustave was returned after being claimed in the Rule 5 draft last December. In 46 appearances for the Hooks (58.2IP), Gustave had a 2.15 ERA, a 1.295 WHIP and 20 saves.

RHP Aaron West (25)
After an injury shortened season in 2014, West came back to shine in 2015. After a few early starts, he was moved to the bullpen with excellent results and ended the season with a 2.77 ERA and a 1.126 WHIP in 84.1 innings pitched (30 appearances/4 starts).

RHP Joe Musgrove (22)
I touched on Musgrove in my Lancaster season review, but the young right-hander continued to impress after his mid-June promotion to Corpus Christi where he compiled a 2.20 ERA and a 0.911 WHIP in eight appearances (seven starts). For the season, Musgrove had a 1.88 ERA and a 0.924 WHIP in 100.2 innings, walking only eight batters all season while striking out 99. And, if you missed my awards post from yesterday, he was also my Pitcher of the Year.

LHP Chris Cotton (24)
After Cotton's late May promotion to Corpus Christi, he had a 3.05 ERA and a 1.185 WHIP in 33 bullpen appearances. Cotton received another promotion to Fresno at the end of the season and ended the year with a combined 2.60 ERA and a 1.139 WHIP in 48 appearances.

Starter RHP Mike Hauschild (3.20 ERA and 1.204 WHIP in 50.2IP) did well at the level prior to his mid-June promotion to Fresno as did bullpen pitcher RHP Juan Minaya (3.25 ERA and 1.331 WHIP in 44.1IP) prior to his late August promotion to AAA.

Previous Season Reviews:
Dominican Summer League Astros
Gulf Coast League Astros
Greeneville Astros

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