Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Astros 2016 Minor League Players of the Year

Sometimes, selecting the Astros MiLB Players of the Year is a no-brainer. That wasn't the case this year. There were far too many deserving players, and I ended up awarding a couple of ties. Having too many good players isn't a bad problem to have.

With that said, presenting WTHB's 2016 Players of the Year ...

FULL SEASON PLAYERS OF THE YEAR

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: OF RAMON LAUREANO

Laureano did everything well in 2016. In 116 games between High A Lancaster and AA Corpus Christi, he hit .319/.428/.528 with 28 doubles, seven triples, 15 home runs, 73 RBI, 89 runs scored and he led the Astros system with 43 stolen bases. He also played all three outfield positions and collected 12 outfield assists while making only three errors all season.

Ramon Laureano - June 2016
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Honorable Mention goes to OF Drew Ferguson: .315/.408/.542 in 105 games (between High A Lancaster and AA Corpus Christi), 29 doubles, 3 triples, 17 home runs, 30 stolen bases, 84 runs scored

STARTERS OF THE YEAR: RHP BRADY RODGERS AND RHP JOSE LUIS HERNANDEZ

Rodgers and Hernandez were virtually in lock step in what they each managed to accomplish this season. Rodgers was 12-4 in 22 starts for AAA Fresno with a 2.86 ERA and a 1.152 WHIP in 132 innings. He walked only 23 batters while striking out 116. Rodgers hit only one batter all season and had zero wild pitches. He also had two complete games for the season, including one complete game shut out.

Hernandez was the only other pitcher in the system with two complete games and one complete game shut out. He was 6-5 with one save in 24 games (21 starts) between Low A Quad Cities and High A Lancaster. In 125.1 innings, he had a 2.94 ERA and a 1.189 WHIP. He walked 24 while striking out 127 batters.

Brady Rodgers - September 2015
Photo by Jayne Hansen

RELIEVER OF THE YEAR: RHP JAMES HOYT

Hoyt led the Astros system and the Pacific Coast League with his 29 saves in 2016. In 49 appearances for AAA Fresno, Hoyt was 4-3 with 29 saves, a 1.64 ERA and a 0.873 WHIP. He walked 19 batters and struck out 93 in 55 innings.

James Hoyt - June 2016
Photo by Jayne Hansen

CATCHER OF THE YEAR: GARRETT STUBBS

Stubbs' win of the Johnny Bench award in college wasn't a fluke and he proved that with his fine sophomore campaign. In 86 games (67 at catcher) between High A Lancaster and AA Corpus Christi, Stubbs hit .304/.391/.469 with 22 doubles, one triple, 10 home runs, 54 RBI, 15 stolen bases (!), and he walked 43 times while striking out 48 times. Behind the plate, he had a .997 fielding percentage and caught 51% of runners attempting to steal.

Garrett Stubbs - June 2016
Photo by Jayne Hansen

SHORT SEASON PLAYERS OF THE YEAR

PLAYERS OF THE YEAR: OF STEPHEN WRENN AND 2B RYNE BIRK

Sixth-rounder Wrenn provided more than a little pop, collecting 15 doubles, five triples and 12 home runs over his 71 games (.260/.324/.471) between Short Season A Tri-City and Low A Quad Cities. He also swiped 15 bags, scored 46 times and drove in 39.

Birk, drafted by the Astros in the 13th round this year, missed some time this season on the DL, but what he accomplished in his 43 games with Tri-City and Quad Cities was nothing short of remarkable. Hitting .293/.385/.455 with 13 doubles, one triple, four home runs, 31 RBI, 30 runs scored, and five stolen bases, he also managed to walk 21 times while striking out only 16 times in those 43 games.

Stephen Wrenn - July 2016
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Ryne Birk - July 2016
Photo by Jayne Hansen

STARTERS OF THE YEAR: RHP ENRIQUE CHAVEZ AND RHP JHEYSON CARABALLO

Chavez started his season with Short Season A Tri-City and ended it with Low A Quad Cities. Between the two venues, he was 3-4 with one save, a 2.89 ERA and a 0.995 WHIP in 62.1 innings of work (14 games/10 starts). Chavez walked 15, struck out 51 and held hitters to a .205 batting average.

Caraballo toiled for the Dominican Summer League Astros Blue team this summer. In 13 games (8 starts), he compiled a 3-0 record with three saves, a 2.85 ERA and a 0.913 WHIP. Caraballo walked 11 and struck out 46 in 53.2 innings, holding hitters to a .199 average.

Enrique Chavez - July 2016
Photo by Jayne Hansen

RELIEVER OF THE YEAR: LHP YEREMI CEBALLOS

This 17-year old Dominican lefty shone in his first professional season, playing for the Dominican Summer League Astros Blue team. In 19 appearances (34 innings), Ceballos was 2-1 with one save, a 0.79 ERA and a 1.147 WHIP. He held batters to a .183 average.

CATCHER OF THE YEAR: GABRIEL BRACAMONTE

Bracamonte (no relation to Astros bullpen catcher Javier) split his season between Rookie League Greeneville and Short Season A Tri-City. In 28 games (all of them behind the plate), he hit .278/.362/.367 with six doubles and a triple. He walked 11 times, struck out 13 and even managed to steal a couple of bags. Defensively, he played errorless ball and caught 43% of would-be stolen base runners.

Gabriel Bracamonte - June 2016
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Congratulations, gentlemen! Fine jobs from all.

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I'm still working on my not-so-serious awards presentations so check back soon for a giggle or two.

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