Wednesday, September 23, 2015

WTHB 2015 MiLB Astros Awards

It's time to hand out the postseason Bobby Awards to a few deserving players and coaches for their 2015 seasons. I will start with the more serious awards and follow with the not-so-serious ones. The envelope please ...

FULL SEASON STARTING PITCHER OF THE YEAR: RHP JOE MUSGROVE

Big Joe Musgrove built on a terrific 2014 and earned not one but two promotions during the 2015 season. He ended the season going 12-1 with one save, a 1.88 ERA and a 0.924 WHIP in 19 appearances (14 starts) between Quad Cities, Lancaster and Corpus Christi. Musgrove walked only eight batters all season while striking out 99 in 100.2 innings of work.

Joe Musgrove - May 2015
Photo by Jayne Hansen

FULL SEASON RELIEF PITCHER OF THE YEARRHP TYSON PEREZ

Perez started the season with Corpus Christi, but quickly earned his promotion to Fresno. In 42 bullpen appearances in 2015, he had a 2.45 ERA and a 0.986 WHIP. Perez doesn't get a lot of strikeouts, but he is a highly efficient pitcher who can and has retired the side on seven or eight pitches.

Tyson Perez - May 2015
Photo by Jayne Hansen

FULL SEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR: 1B A.J. REED

A.J. Reed has pretty much silenced any detractors with his astonishing 2015 season. In a total of 135 games between High A Lancaster and AA Corpus Christi, Reed hit a robust .340/.432/.612 with 30 doubles, five triples, 34 home runs, and 127 RBI. He also walked a whopping 86 times to 122 strikeouts. Reed was a two-time Player of the Month in the California League, a midseason All-Star, a postseason All-Star, and Rookie of the Year and MVP in the California League as well.

A.J. Reed - May 2015
Photo by Jayne Hansen

SHORT SEASON STARTING PITCHER OF THE YEAR: RHP DEAN DEETZ

Deetz started his season with the Short Season A Tri-City ValleyCats where he was 4-2 with a 2.86 ERA and a 1.129 WHIP in seven appearances (five starts). After a late July promotion to Low A Quad Cities, Deetz kicked it into overdrive, going 5-1 in seven games (six starts) and compiling an 0.76 ERA and a 0.849 WHIP. He finished the season with a combined 1.70 ERA and a 0.974 WHIP in 63.2 innings pitched.

Dean Deetz - August 2015
Photo by Jayne Hansen


SHORT SEASON RELIEF PITCHER OF THE YEAR: LHP STEVE NAEMARK

Naemark not only pitched well, but he did so at four different levels. Drafted in the 40th round, Naemark made only two appearances with rookie level Greeneville before being promoted to Tri-City. Nine appearances with Short Season A Tri-City led to a promotion to Low A Quad Cities; eight more appearances there and Naemark was headed to High A Lancaster for his final two regular season appearances. For the season, Naemark compiled a 1.47 ERA and a 0.880 WHIP in 21 bullpen appearances (30.2IP).

Steve Naemark - August 2015
Photo by Jayne Hansen

SHORT SEASON PLAYERS OF THE YEAR: (TIE) 3B BOBBY WERNES AND OF ANDY PINEDA I just loved what both of these players accomplished in 2015 and ultimately decided that both players deserved to be acknowledged.

Wernes, the 30th round 2015 draft pick out of the University of Arkansas, not only won the New York-Penn League batting title, but also led the league in on-base percentage. In 53 games for the ValleyCats, Wernes hit .346/.434/.388 with eight doubles and 29 RBI. He walked 27 times and struck out 27 times.

Pineda, who won't be 19 until November, was a team leader for the Astros DSL Blue team in batting average, on-base percentage, stolen bases and runs scored, hitting .293/.417/.378 with 10 doubles, four triples, one home runs, 29 RBI and 30 stolen bases. He also walked 46 times to only 44 strikeouts and contributed nine outfield assists. In the postseason, he hit .318/.318/.545 with one double, two triples, one RBI and one stolen base.

CATCHER OF THE YEAR: ALFREDO GONZALEZ

Gonzalez was promoted twice in 2015 for a reason. Always a solid defensive catcher with a good arm, Gonzalez added a solid hit tool to go with it. Between Quad Cities, Lancaster and Corpus Christi, Gonzalez hit .321/.409/.378 in 72 games and he even stole five bases! He also had a .990 fielding percentage and a 47% caught stealing rate for the season. (He will, however, need to cut down on the number of passed balls he allowed.)

Alfredo Gonzalez - May 2015
Photo by Jayne Hansen

COMEBACK/BREAKTHROUGH PLAYER OF THE YEAR: 1B CONNOR GOEDERT

After being drafted by the Astros in the 15th round in 2014, Goedert struggled mightily for his first club. In 17 games for Greeneville, Goedert hit only .125/.242/.179 and was sent to the Gulf Coast League to finish his season where he hit .179/.247/.218 in 21 games. What a difference a year makes! Goedert hit .286/.349/.449 with 20 doubles, one triple, six home runs and 43 RBI in 63 games for Greeneville in 2015 and was named team MVP.

COMEBACK/BREAKTHROUGH PITCHER OF THE YEAR: RHP DEAN DEETZ

Granted Deetz, the 11th round pick in 2014, was still coming back from Tommy John surgery last year, but his reputation for control issues preceded the surgery and Deetz ended his freshman season with Greeneville posting a 8.88 ERA and a 1.934 WHIP in 25.1 innings. Fast forward to 2015 and Deetz had a 2.86 ERA and a 1.129 WHIP in seven games (five starts) with Tri-City before receiving a promotion to Quad Cities. After the promotion, Deetz was even better in his seven appearances (six starts) at that level, posting a 1.27 ERA and a 0.849 WHIP.

MANAGER OF THE YEAR: FRESNO'S TONY DEFRANCESCO

DeFrancesco brought something to the City of Fresno that they never had before ... a League Championship series and a title. In the first year of their affiliation with the Astros, the people of Fresno embraced the Astros AAA club and the team embraced the City. It was a great partnership and Tony D brought some great excitement to the fans with his team. That AAA National Championship was just gravy.

HITTING COACH OF THE YEAR: RENE ROJAS OF THE DSL ASTROS BLUE TEAM

The Dominican Summer League Astros Blue team was the first Astros DSL team to make it to the playoffs in 14 years. A big part of that was the development of the hitters on the team. They were fairly average in the league in terms of batting average and slugging, but showed signs of developing power and great plate discipline. They had one of the highest on-base percentages in the league as well as one of the highest walk rates to go with one of the lowest strikeout rates in the league. Kudos to Rojas for getting the most out of his squad.

PITCHING COACH OF THE YEAR: QUAD CITIES' DAVE BORKOWSKI

In his six years of coaching in the Astros minor league system, Borkowski has seen a lot of talent, but this season was different. Borkowski oversaw 37 pitchers who came through Quad Cities. The team ERA was 2.66 and the team WHIP was 1.152. Bork would likely proclaim modestly that he was nothing more than a traffic director for all those great arms, but I think he deserves recognition for those fantastic results.

TEAM OF THE YEAR: (TIE) FRESNO GRIZZLIES AND GREENEVILLE ASTROS

League Champions, Baby!!! 'Nuff said.

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Now for some of the not-so-serious awards ~

BEST ANTI-JINX TWITTER TROLL: KENT EMANUEL
Recovering from Tommy John surgery, Emanuel had some extra time on his hands this season. He made it his life's purpose to call out Sports Center every time they jinxed a no-hitter.
BEST TWITTER HANDLE: STEVE NAEMARK
25-year old rookie Naemark gets the nod for his @GrandpaSteve1 handle.

BEST NAME IN THE ASTROS SYSTEM: FORD STAINBACK
That's Raiford Hammond Stainback to you! Honorable mention goes to Jacques Reeving Constantino Sambo.

NAME MOST LIKELY TO BE MISSPELLED: BROCK DYKXHOORN
Dykxhoorn is our reigning champion. His name is also probably the most likely to be mispronounced as well, but he's Canadian so he'll always be gracious about any gaffes.

MOST LIKELY TO STAR IN A CHICK FLICK: JASON MARTIN
Those eyes!

Jason Martin - August 2015
Photo by Jayne Hansen

BEST MUSTACHE: ZACH DAVIS
Not everyone is a fan of his Clark Gable-esque upper lip, but frankly my dear, I don't give a damn!

Zach Davis - August 2015
Photo by Jayne Hansen

MOST LIKELY TO GET PLACED ON THE NO-FLY LIST: ANDREW APLIN
Either that or most likely to get an offseason job as a lumberjack!

Andrew Aplin - August 2015
Photo by Jayne Hansen

PLAY OF THE YEAR: TYLER HEINEMAN
I could watch this over and over and over. And I have.


STUDMUFFIN OF THE YEAR: CHRIS DEVENSKI
Stud = seven innings with one hit (perfect through five), no walks and nine strikeouts in your first AAA start in a nationally televised Championship game.
Muffin = one of the nicest, friendliest, most accessible player you will ever meet.

MR. SEPTEMBER: KEVIN CHAPMAN
Chapman pitched 8.2 innings in 9 appearances in September (including the postseason) with a 0.00 ERA and a 0.692 WHIP. I'm sure that it was just a coincidence that Chapman recently started wearing high socks!

THE ALLEVE AWARD: BRANDON BENAVENTE
Benavente was hit by pitches more than anyone else in the Astros system this year ... 15 times in only 37 games. Ouch.

ARMED AND DANGEROUS: C OSCAR CAMPOS
Campos led the Astros system with his 57% caught stealing rate.

THE WORKHOUSE AWARD, PART I: RHP MIKE HAUSCHILD
Hauschild just quietly goes about his business and gives you a lot of innings. He was just behind the innings leader in 2014 with his 133.1 innings, but he led the Astros minor leagues in 2015 with 138.1 innings in the regular season.

THE WORKHORSE AWARD, PART II: RHP JORDAN JANKOWSKI
Jankowski led the Astros minors in bullpen appearances with 55 appearances for 62.1 outings. And that was only the regular season!

THE WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER AWARD: RHP EDISON FRIAS, RHP MIKE HAUSCHILD AND RHP JOE MUSGROVE
This trio tied with 12 wins each to lead the Astros minors, HOWEVER, Joe Musgrove had a 12-1 record for a .923 win percentage in the 13 games for which he received a decision.

THE MIGHTY MOUSE AWARD: RHP JANDEL GUSTAVE
No one else was even close to Gustave's 20 saves. And for those who don't get the Mighty Mouse reference, go here.

MOST LIKELY TO OUTRUN A COYOTE: (TIE) OF BOBBY BOYD AND OF JOHNNY SEWALD
Boyd led the Astros minors with 40 stolen bases in 117 games. Sewald swiped 31 in only 70 games. Boyd had better watch his back because Sewald may be gaining on him next season. Two great roadrunners. Meep meep!

WALK LIKE A MAN AWARD: C JAMIE RITCHIE
Ritchie walked a whopping 95 times (to only 81 strikeouts) in 111 games.

THE WIZARD OF OZ AWARD: 1B A.J. REED
There's no place like home and that's precisely where this wizard sent 127 players as he led the organization in RBI.

ONE FOR THE MONEY AWARD: 1B A.J. REED
Reed led the Astros minor leagues in hits with 178.

TWO FOR THE SHOW AWARD: IF MOTT HYDE
Hyde doubled himself to second base 40 times in 2015.

THREE TO GET READY AWARD: OF RONNIE MITCHELL
Mitchell was tied at 11 triples with former Astros farmhand Brett Phillips.

GO, CAT, GO AWARD: 1B A.J. REED
Reed's organization-leading 34 home runs earn him a pair of blue suede shoes.

MOST REMARKABLE FEAT: 1B JON SINGLETON
In a May 13th 17-6 drubbing of Albuquerque, Singleton hit a two-RBI single in the first, a grand slam in the second, a two-run home run in the third, and a two-RBI single in the 6th to end the day with 10 RBI in one game.

MOST REMARKABLE FEAT, PART II: OF DEREK FISHER
I'm not sure how I forgot about this, but friend of the blog Jason Schwartz jogged my memory. Only about two weeks after Singleton's big game, Derek Fisher hit a solo homer in the first, a grand slam in the second, another grand slam in the third, and a bases clearing double in the seventh. That's right ... three home homes, including two grand slams, and 12 RBIs. And did I mention that it was his first game after his promotion to HIgh A?!?! How did I forget that?

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I wish I could have given an award to every player in the system after such a terrific year, but, alas, I finally ran out of time and ideas.



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