Friday, November 13, 2015

2015 Lancaster Offensive Efficiency

2015 Lancaster Offensive Efficiency
By Jeremy Schmidt ( @Jeremy_IP_TTM and @TXLScouting )

When you think about the Cal League, Lancaster in particular, a launching pad offensive environment comes to mind. The 2015 Lancaster JetHawks took full advantage of their extreme hitter friendly ballpark to lead the league with 6.34 runs per game and 174 homeruns. When looking at the offensive efficiency numbers in a league with such polar extreme hitting conditions as the Cal League the averages relative to the league average will usually have a wide spread. The 2015 edition of the JetHawks had a team OE of 48.43 which was nearly 19% better than the league average of 40.72. As talented as the team was the park effects of The Hangar further inflated the offensive numbers. Below are the OE numbers for the JetHawk players that had at least 100 plate appearances. [Click here for the Offensive Efficiency formula.]
  1. A.J. Reed - 62.03
  2. Sean McMullen - 58.85
  3. Derek Fisher - 53.00
  4. J.D. Davis - 50.86
  5. Jamie Ritchie - 48.25
  6. James Ramsay - 47.54
  7. Mott Hyde - 46.64
  8. Jack Mayfield - 46.55
  9. Danry Vasquez - 45.85
  10. Marc Wik - 43.88
  11. Alex Bregman - 43.06
A.J. Reed really took off to start the season and played his way to AA where he continued to mash. Sean McMullen took full advantage of the positive run scoring environment in his short stint with the team; he should start next season back in Lancaster. Chase McDonald finished second in the league in homeruns with 30; aside from his power numbers, McDonald’s stats are nearly identical to last season at Quad Cities. Brett Phillips was spectacular, although he was hurt on the base paths getting caught stealing 43% of the time. Derek Fisher was very good after joining the team; he showed a great power and speed combination in spite of a lower than expected batting average. J.D. Davis matched his numbers from 2014 at a higher level which is a very good sign going forward. Ronnie Mitchell finished with double digit totals in doubles, triples, and homeruns. Jamie Ritchie after his late season call up racked up 25 walks against just 27 strikeouts in only 164 plate appearances; he is another in a very deep catching position for the Astros’ farm system. James Ramsay led the team in hits with 160 but his efficiency number was hurt by being caught stealing 12 times. Mott Hyde in half a season at Lancaster played very well, improving his stock as a 26th round pick. Danry Vasquez played his way to a AA promotion even though his traditional stats didn’t line up with his OE number. Vasquez struggled with the Hooks. Marc Wik is a solid on base player, but it looks like he will end up being squeezed out by other outfielders with louder tools. [Note from Jayne: Wik is being used as a super utility player. As long as he continues to do a lot of things reasonably well, I think he has the opportunity to fill that niche role for some team at some point.] Alex Bregman, the Astros’ first pick in the 2015 draft, played very well in Lancaster. His OE number was hurt by 4 caught stealing and grounding into 5 double plays in limited plate appearances in Lancaster. Alfredo Gonzalez didn’t hit for much power in limited time. Brian Holberton walked at a good rate but did not do much else at the plate. Jose Fernandez did not have a very good year at the plate and was subsequently demoted to Quad Cities.

Traditional statistics for the above players can be found here http://bbref.com/pi/shareit/cYote

Stay tuned for more covering the other Astros farm clubs.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

An Updated 2015 Astros Rule 5 Draft Primer

[UPDATE: With today's moves (11/19) and the re-signing of Colby Rasmus, the roster now stands at 34.]

The deadline for protecting players from the Rule 5 draft is next Friday, November 20th, so it's time to update my post from August as to which players in the Astros system are at risk of being drafted if they aren't placed on the 40-man roster by next Friday. The only real substantive change from my August list is that corner infielder Matt Duffy was placed on the 40-man roster during the season and is no longer at risk of being drafted. As of today, there are 36 players on the 40-man roster, but that doesn't mean that there are four available spots since Astros GM Jeff Luhnow will be actively pursuing a free agent signing or two, including the potential re-signing of OF Colby Rasmus.

If you want to know the most likely targets, look no further than the pitchers who finished their seasons at AA and AAA. Joe Musgrove just came off a phenomenal season and is currently the Astros number nine prospect in the MLB Pipeline rankings, the highest ranking of any of the eligible players. Chris Devenski had a fabulous start and end to his season (MVP of the National AAA championship) with a few mixed results in between. Jandel Gustave turned the corner in 2015 and turned into a dominant closer for the Hooks. He was drafted last year and the Astros were lucky to get him back; if they leave him unprotected this year, they will not be that lucky again.

But a strong case could be made that another team will draft from among several other Astros pitchers as well. Mike Hauschild, Brady Rodgers and Jordan Jankowski spent all or a large part of the season at AAA and are probably as close to major league ready as they're going to get. At the other end of the spectrum, Reymin Guduan isn't as polished and David Paulino hasn't progressed beyond High A, but they will be attractive targets nonetheless. Honestly, I fully expect that the Astros will lose a couple of pitchers in the draft. And that doesn't even consider the position players! Andrew Aplin, Nolan Fontana, Teoscar Hernandez and Danry Vasquez are all on the MLB Pipeline Top 30 Astros prospect list as well. I'm really glad that I don't have to make this decision. Whomever the Astros decide to protect, they will be second-guessed. At the end of the day, one just hopes that a Johan Santana doesn't get away.

With all that said, here is a primer based on my understanding of how the Rule 5 draft works, as well as my list of this year's draft eligible players. The draft will be held in December at the Baseball Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tennessee.

Joe Musgrove - May 2015
Photo by Jayne Hansen

RULE 5 ELIGIBILITY

The Rule 5 draft (don't call it the Rule V draft or baseball purists will jump down your throat) has both a major league phase and minor league phases which I'll cover later, but first things first ... eligibility. Those players who are eligible in a given year fall under these guidelines:


[That is directly from the 2008 Major League Rules which can be found here. If it has changed since then, I haven't seen that information.]

What that means in English is that this year's eligible players basically include: 1) any player who signed prior to the end of the 2011 season; and 2) players who signed after the end of the 2011 season and prior to the end of the 2012 season who were 19 years old or older when they signed. That means most 2012 drafted college players are eligible, but high school players (and some community college players) drafted in 2012 are not eligible until next year. For the international free agents, one needs to know when the player signed their first professional agreement and their age at signing to make the determination. There are exceptions, but that is the basic gist of it.

MAJOR LEAGUE PHASE OF THE RULE 5 DRAFT

The first phase of the Rule 5 draft is the major league phase. In order to protect an eligible player from being drafted in the major league phase of the Rule 5 draft, they must be on the major league club's 40-man roster prior to November 20th (if that falls on a business day). Players on the 40-man roster at that deadline are considered "protected."

Obviously not all of a team's best players can be protected on the 40-man roster. That is where the 38-man AAA Reserve List helps. If a player from the AAA Reserve List is drafted in the Rule 5 draft, that player must remain on the drafting team's 25-man major league roster for the full season or he will have to be put through waivers. If claimed, the new team will be subject to the same conditions regarding that player. If not claimed, the player will be offered back to the team from which they were drafted.

The cost of drafting a player in the major league phase of the draft is $50,000. If the player is offered back to the team from which he was drafted, the original team must pay $25,000 back to the drafting team. If the original team declines, the player will be put on waivers.

Last season RHP Vince Velasquez, RHP Michael Feliz and IF Ronald Torreyes were all added to the 40-man roster in advance of the deadline. The front office made the determination that these three players were the most likely players to be taken in the Rule 5 draft. Presumably, the front office took a calculated risk by not adding players such as OF Delino DeShields, RHP Jandel Gustave, LHP David Rollins and others to the 40-man roster, but only included them on the AAA Reserve List. They made a determination as to which players, if drafted, were more likely to "stick" on a major league roster for a full season. All three of those players were claimed in the Rule 5 draft, but Gustave was subsequently returned.

Since players taken in the Rule 5 draft have to remain on the drafting team's 25-man roster for the full season, pitchers are taken much more frequently than position players simply because it's fairly easy to use a pitcher sparingly out of the bullpen. Position players can't be tucked away quite so neatly if they struggle. It all comes down to another team's ability to find room on their 25-man roster for a full season. It's simply not that easy to do and that's why so very few players are drafted in the Rule 5 draft and stick with a team.

It's also the case that often minor league fans overvalue prospects. We may think much more highly of a player than the other teams' front offices do. When all is said and done, the Astros front office will take some risks in leaving players unprotected, but it will be a highly educated guess based on many factors, including future needs.

MINOR LEAGUE PHASES OF THE RULE 5 DRAFT

There are two minor league phases of the Rule 5 draft as well. The players on the 40-man roster and the 38 players on the AAA reserve list aren't eligible to be taken in the minor league phases of the draft. So, in essence, you are protecting your top 78 players from the minor league phases. (As far as I know, AAA Reserve Lists are not made public so we are left to guess who the Astros will be shielding from the minor league phases of the draft.)

In the AAA Phase of the draft, a player who is on the AA Reserve List or lower can be drafted for inclusion on the drafting team's AAA Reserve list for a cost of $12,000. In the AA Phase of the draft, players at all of the levels lower than AA can be drafted for inclusion on the drafting team's AA Reserve List for a cost of $4,000.

The kicker on the minor league phase of the draft is that the drafted player basically becomes that team's property. There is no requirement to offer the player back if he doesn't work out. He can be traded, released, etc. at a team's discretion. In the minor league phase of the 2014 Rule 5 draft, the Astros lost OF Ariel Ovando to the Cubs, for whom he became a pitcher, pitching in the Rookie level Arizona League in 2015.

ASTROS 2015 RULE 5 ELIGIBLE PLAYERS

The following are those players who will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft in December if they are left unprotected. I have organized them by the level at which they finished the season. Players who are first year eligible have been #'d and those who are on MLB Pipeline's current Top 30 list are in bold. Obviously, there will be some tough choices ahead.

AAA Position Players
#OF Andrew Aplin
#IF Nolan Fontana
#C Tyler Heineman
#IF Joe Sclafani

AAA Pitchers
#RHP Travis Ballew
RHP Chris Devenski
RHP Jandel Gustave
#RHP Mike Hauschild
#RHP Jordan Jankowski
RHP Tyson Perez
#RHP Brady Rodgers
LHP Tommy Shirley

AA Position Players
#OF Teoscar Hernandez
SS Chan Moon
C Roberto Pena
OF Danry Vasquez

AA Pitchers
RHP Edison Frias
LHP Reymin Guduan
#LHP Brian Holmes
#RHP Joe Musgrove
RHP Gonzalo Sanudo
#RHP Aaron West

Position Players at High A or lower
#C Marlon Avea
#OF Rodrigo Ayarza
#3B Randy Cesar
2B Jose Fernandez
#IF Arturo Michelena
#IF Luis Reynoso
#IF/OF Marc Wik

Pitchers at High A or lower
#RHP Harold Arauz
RHP Agapito Barrios
#RHP Kevin Comer
#RHP Samil de los Santos
#RHP Yeyfry del Rosario
LHP Evan Grills
RHP Angel Heredia
RHP Jose Montero
#RHP David Paulino
#RHP Christian Powell
#LHP Edwin Villarroel
RHP Andrew Walter

Disabled List
#RHP Kyle Smith

#First year eligibility for Rule 5 Draft

In addition to the above, the following players became minor league free agents at the conclusion of this season; they are free to explore free agency if they are not re-signed by the Astros.

Minor League Free Agents
RHP R.J. Alaniz
C Alfredo Gonzalez
IF Jio Mier
RHP Juan Minaya

Here is some basic information from MLB about the Rule 5 draft.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Astros 2015-2016 Off-Season Transaction Master List

Here are the Astros 2015-2016 off-season transactions through 4:00 p.m. on April 3rd. March 27th. The Astros 40-man roster currently stands at 40. This will be the final update of the off-season.

ADDED TO THE 40-MAN ROSTER
OF Andrew Aplin - Added to the 40-man prior to the Rule 5 Draft
RHP Doug Fister - FA signing
IF Nolan Fontana - Added to the 40-man prior to the Rule 5 Draft
RHP Ken Giles - Trade with the Phillies
C Alfredo Gonzalez - Added to the 40-man prior to the Rule 5 Draft
RHP Jandel Gustave - Added to the 40-man prior to the Rule 5 Draft
C Erik Kratz - Trade with the Padres
RHP Juan Minaya - Added to the 40-man prior to the Rule 5 Draft
RHP Joe Musgrove - Added to the 40-man prior to the Rule 5 Draft
RHP David Paulino - Added to the 40-man prior to the Rule 5 Draft
OF Colby Rasmus - FA signing
RHP Danny Reynolds - Claimed off waivers from the Dodgers and added to the 40-man
LHP Tony Sipp - FA signing
1B/3B Tyler White - Added to the 40-man roster out of ST

NEW TO THE ASTROS SYSTEM
RHP Octavio Acosta - Drafted in the AAA phase of the Rule 5 draft (MiLB) - Loaned to the Mexican League
2B Alfredo Angarita - International FA signing (MiLB)
SS Jonathan Arauz - Trade with the Phillies (MiLB)
P Jesus Bernaez - 18-year old Venezuelan (MiLB)
SS Samir Caraballo - 17-year old Colombian (MiLB)
LHP Edwar Cabrera - MiLB contract with ST invite
P Juan Corniel - International FA signing (MiLB)
LHP Neal Cotts - Signed to a minor league deal - released 3/25
RHP Doug Fister - FA signing
RHP Ken Giles - Trade with the Phillies (MLB)
SS Eduardo Guzman - 21-year old Venezuelan (MiLB)
P Juan Infante - 19-year old Venezuelan (MiLB)
RHP Brendan McCurry - Trade acquisition (MiLB)
P Kilvio Peralta - 19-year old Dominican (MiLB)
LHP Carlos Perdomo - International FA signing (MiLB)
OF Eury Perez - FA signing (MiLB)
OF Ramiro Ramirez - International FA signing (MiLB)
RHP Danny Reynolds - Waiver claim (Dodgers)
LHP Wandy Rodriguez - Signed to MiLB contract with invite to ST - didn't make club out of ST
RHP Carlos Sierra - International FA signing (MiLB)
RHP Cy Sneed - Trade acquisition (MiLB)
RHP Cesar Valdez - FA signing (MiLB)
2B Danny Worth - MiLB contract with ST invite

MAJOR LEAGUE FREE AGENTS
1B Chris Carter - Non-tendered - Signed with the Brewers
LHP Scott Kazmir  - Signed with the Dodgers
LHP Oliver Perez - Signed with the Nationals
RHP Chad Qualls - Signed with the Rockies
OF Colby Rasmus - Qualifying offer made; re-signed with Astros
LHP Tony Sipp - Re-signed with Astros
LHP Joe Thatcher - Signed an MiLB deal with Cleveland

MINOR LEAGUE FREE AGENTS
RHP Ruben "R.J." Alaniz - Signed a minor league deal with the Tigers
RHP Samuel Deduno - Signed with the Orioles
SS Jio Mier - Signed with the Blue Jays
OF Alex Presley - Signed with the Brewers

OUTRIGHTED TO FRESNO
RHP Samuel Deduno - Elected free agency

DESIGNATED FOR ASSIGNMENT
OF L.J. Hoes - Traded to Baltimore

NO LONGER IN THE ASTROS SYSTEM
(All free agents unless re-signed plus the following players)
RHP Mark Appel - Traded with 4 others to the Phillies for RHP Ken Giles and SS Jonathan Arauz
RHP Harold Arauz - Traded with 4 others to the Phillies for RHP Ken Giles and SS Jonathan Arauz
RHP Travis Ballew - Released 3/31
OF Ryan Bottger - Released 3/28
RHP Tyler Brunnemann - Released 3/28
RHP Jake Buchanan - Released 3/31
RHP Austin Chrismon - Released 3/28
C Hank Conger - Traded to Tampa Bay for cash
LHP Neal Cotts - Released 3/25
1B Jared Cruz - Released
LHP Luis Cruz - Released (Signed to MiLB deal with Chicago Cubs)
LHP Zach Davis - Released 1-16
RHP Samil de los Santos - Released 3/21
RHP Thomas Eshelman - Traded with 4 others to the Phillies for RHP Ken Giles and SS Jonathan Arauz
OF Robbie Grossman - Released (Signed to MiLB deal with Cleveland)
RHP Zac Grotz - Released 4/2
OF L.J. Hoes - Traded to Baltimore for cash
C Brian Holberton - Released 3/28
SS Jed Lowrie - Traded to Oakland for RHP Brendan McCurry (MiLB)
RHP Lachlan Madden - Released 1-16
RHP Michel Martinez - Released 4/2
OF Sean McMullen - Released 3/28
LHP Jordan Mills - Released 3/28
RHP Jose Montero - Released 3/28
LHP Steve Naemark - Released 3-28
LHP Brett Oberholtzer - Traded with 4 others to the Phillies for RHP Ken Giles and SS Jonathan Arauz
RHP Adonis Peña - Released
RHP Jorge Perez - Released 1-16
RHP Joselo Pinales - Released 1-16
RHP Jose Rosario - Deceased
LHP Starlyng Sanchez - Released 1-16
IF Joe Sclafani - Released 3/31
RHP Troy Scribner - Traded to Angels for cash considerations
LHP Alejandro Solarte - Released 1-16
RHP Dan Straily - Traded to San Diego for C Erik Kratz 3/28
RHP Vince Velasquez - Traded with 4 others to the Phillies for RHP Ken Giles and SS Jonathan Arauz
SS Jonathan Villar - Traded to the Brewers for RHP Cy Sneed (MiLB)
LHP Edwin Villarroel - Released
RHP Kyle Westwood - Released 3/28

Monday, November 9, 2015

2015 Fresno Grizzlies Offensive Efficiency

WTHB contributor Jeremy Schmidt has started a new blog in which he will be Scouting the Texas League. His first post focused on the 2015 Corpus Christi Hooks Offensive Efficiency. He has offered to look at the other Astros affiliates to see how the players performed offensively. First up, he'll be looking at the Fresno Grizzlies.

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2015 Fresno Grizzlies Offensive Efficiency
By Jeremy Schmidt ( @Jeremy_IP_TTM )

The 2015 Fresno Grizzlies were an offensive juggernaut for good stretches of the season on their way to the AAA National Championship. This is a look at how efficient the individual Astros farmhands were over the course of their time with Fresno. Essentially I boiled down the basic offensive and base running statistics readily available for minor league players and created a formula that shows how well each player controlled what they could control. I choose to leave Runs and Runs Batted In out of the formula because those stats are largely based on team performance. For the formula see this post on the Hooks.
  1. Matt Duffy 46.76
  2. L.J. Hoes 45.56
  3. Max Stassi 40.06
  4. Tony Kemp 38.91
For reference the Grizzlies as a whole had an OE score of 44.16. The PCL average was 42.91, so the Grizzlies were roughly 3% more efficient than the league. Four players were better than 20% more efficient than the league average player. Domingo Santana and Tyler White both had incredible seasons each posting an OPS over 1.000. Singleton continues to show his game is power and patience. Preston Tucker gave a preview to his rookie season. League MVP Matt Duffy was only the 6th most efficient player on his team. Carlos Correa’s power did not present in his short AAA stint. Aplin and Fontana both walk a ton but don’t hit for much power, Fontana was hurt by a terrible base stealing year going only 6 for 17. Presley and Grossman underperformed what you would expect from guys with big league experience. Tony Kemp struggled to adjust to AAA, this could be an example of getting BABIP’d as his walk and strikeout numbers aren’t out of line with his track record, but I don’t have those numbers.

Ivy Leaguer Joe Sclafani’s OE number reflects his extreme lack of power this season. Matt Dominguez is the Brewers problem now. Tyler Heineman is around for his work behind the plate not at it. [Note from Jayne: I disagree with Jeremy on this point. Heineman had a slow start at AAA, but I think his offense will ultimately prove to be more than enough to make him above average offensively for the position.]

Stay tuned for more covering the other Astros farm clubs.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Astros Farm Report: 11/8

More recognition of the Astros in the minor league MILBY awards, but first things first ...

WISHING A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO

11-8: OF/2B Juan Fuentes (22)
11-11: LHP Tommy Shirley (27) (Yeah, I messed up the date last week.)
11-11: OF Johnny Sewald (22)
11-11: OF Andy Pineda (19)
11-13: RHP Chris Devenski (25)

TWEET OF THE WEEK
FALL/WINTER LEAGUE STATS

Here is how the Astros players participating in fall and winter leagues have fared to date (through Saturday, the 7th):

ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE
3B J.D. Davis - .268/.333/.463 in 11 games
OF Derek Fisher - .167/.333/.278 in 11 games
IF Chan-Jong Moon - .111/.219/.148 in 8 games
1B A.J. Reed - .231/.326/.385 in 11 games
LHP Chris Cotton - 1.35 ERA/0.900 WHIP in 7 games (6.2IP)
LHP Brian Holmes - 0.69 ERA/1.308 WHIP in 5 games (13.0IP)
LHP Albert Minnis - 3.12 ERA/1.269 WHIP in 6 games (8.2IP)
RHP Keegan Yuhl - 6.00 ERA/1.167 WHIP in 6 games (6.0IP)

Holmes has continued to have good results, but has walked 11 batters to 10 strikeouts in his 13 innings of work, and Chris Cotton has proven himself to be the strongest relief pitcher on the Glendale Desert Dogs squad.

On the offensive side, Davis had an excellent week, hitting .333 with two doubles and three runs scored in four games prior to last night's Fall Stars game. Reed, also originally slated to be on the Fall Stars squad, was shut down early and sent home after winning just about every minor league offensive accolade in the books.

In the Arizona Fall Stars game on Saturday, Davis and Fisher got the start for the West team. Davis was 1-for-2 with a strikeout and Fisher was 0-for-2 with a strikeout. The West prevailed over the East 8-3.

DOMINICAN WINTER LEAGUE
C Tyler Heineman - .214/.340/.262 in 14 games
IF Jonathan Villar - .357/.438/.357 in 4 games
1B/DH Tyler White - .293/.423/.552 in 16 games
RHP Jake Buchanan - 2.45 ERA/0.818 WHIP in 5 games (18.1IP)
LHP Reymin Guduan - 1.50 ERA/1.167 WHIP in 6 games (6.0IP)
RHP Jandel Gustave - 0.00 ERA/1.125 WHIP in 7 games (8.0IP)
RHP Angel Heredia - 13.50 ERA/2.500 WHIP in 2 games (2.0IP) - Not playing at this time
RHP Juan Minaya - 12.60 ERA/1.800 WHIP in 4 games (5.0IP) - Did not play last week

Jonathan Villar showed up on the Aguilas team this past week and has had a very strong start. Buchanan, Guduan and Gustave continue with their solid work.

VENEZUELAN WINTER LEAGUE
IF Arturo Michelena - .167/.167/.167 in 2 games (has been playing in the Liga Paralela)
IF Kristian Trompiz - 2 games as pinch runner; no at-bats (has been playing in the Liga Paralela)
OF Danry Vasquez - .309/.352/.506 in 22 games
*RHP Ruben "R.J." Alaniz -7.98 ERA/1.941 WHIP in 2 games (5.2IP)
RHP Chris Devenski - 40.50 ERA/6.002 in 1 game (1.1IP)
RHP James Hoyt - 1.46 ERA/1.054 WHIP in 12 games (12.1IP)

*Free agent

Vasquez (4-for-6 HR 3R last night) and Hoyt have been very solid, but Chris Devenski's first start provided him with a rude welcome to Venezuela.

MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE
OF Leo Heras - .280/.429/.460 in 17 games
RHP Enrique Chavez - 9.00 ERA/3.000 WHIP in 1 game (1.0IP) - not currently playing
RHP Jose Hernandez - 1.20 ERA/0.933 WHIP in 4 games (15.0IP)
RHP Juan Robles - 0.71 ERA/0.711 WHIP in 6 games (12.2IP)

I continue to be blown away by what Robles has been doing in this league at the ripe old age of 18. Jose Hernandez improved upon his already good numbers with his strong start last night as he went five innings and allowed only four hits, no runs and no walks.

AUSTRALIAN BASEBALL LEAGUE
C Jake Bowey - .048/.091/.048 in 6 games
IF Jared Cruz - .091/.091/.091 in 7 games - DNP last week
1B Connor MacDonald - .292/.438/.500 in 10 games
IF/OF Marc Wik - .302/.423/.395 in 12 games (including today's game)
RHP Kevin Comer - 16.88 ERA/4.499 WHIP in 4 games (2.2IP)

MacDonald and Wik continue with solid performances down under. And Wik really made an impression (on the wall) in this attempted catch ...
PUERTO RICAN WINTER LEAGUE
OF Robbie Grossman - .083/.185/.083 in 6 games
OF Edwin Medina - .000/.000/.000 in 1 game - not currently playing
C Roberto Pena - .158/.273/.211 in 6 games
C Max Stassi - .357/.438/.643 in 4 games
RHP Travis Ballew - 0.00 ERA/0.429 WHIP in 2 games (4.2IP)
LHP Luis Cruz - 9.00 ERA/2.400 WHIP in 2 games (5.0IP)

Stassi had a nice week going 4-for-12 with a double and a home run in three games. Ballew hasn't been used much yet, but he has been excellent in his limited work out of the bullpen.

NEWS AND LINKS

Building on last week's MILBY awards to A.J. Reed and Tyler White as top offensive players, this week the Astros won Best Farm System as voted by both fans and MiLB staff; the Fresno Grizzlies won Best Team (also voted by both fans and staff); and Astros OF Derek Fisher won Best Individual Performance (staff vote) for his 12-RBI game in May.

Friend of WTHB and sometimes contributor Jeremy Schmidt has started his own blog in which he will be Scouting the Texas League. In his first post, he looks at the 2015 Corpus Christi Hooks Offensive Efficiency. (SPOILER ALERT: Carlos Correa is good.)  Give him a read ... it's good stuff! (And give him a follow on twitter.)

Finally, last but certainly not least, I would be remiss if I didn't take a moment to say how privileged I have been to be able to sit down and talk baseball with Doug Brocail. He's a great pitching coach and an even better person. The Tweet of the Week above is representative of many, many tweets from Astros minor leaguers who loved playing for and learning from Brocail. As he takes over as Pitching Coach for the Texas Rangers, WTHB wishes him the best of luck (except when the Rangers play the Astros). He will be missed.