Friday, March 25, 2016

Looking at the Evan Gattis Trade

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published this article on Tuesday focusing on former Astros RHP Mike Foltynewicz and his road to recovery from a blood clot and related surgery last year. His first appearance of the spring season in a split squad game was rated a solid "Holy Cow!"

Mike Foltynewicz - March 2013
Photo by Jayne Hansen

That led me to wonder how all the players from that January 2015 trade with Atlanta are faring since they left the Astros fold.

RHP Mike Foltynewicz is, according to the above article, expected to be able to join the Braves as soon as mid-April. He split his 2015 season between AAA Gwinnett and Atlanta. With Gwinnett, he was 1-6 with a 3.49 ERA and a 1.376 WHIP. He walked 26 and struck 63 in 56.2 innings. For the Braves, Folty was 4-6 with a 5.71 ERA and a 1.627 WHIP, walking 29 and striking out 77 in 86.2 innings. Through two Spring Training appearances, Foltynewicz has a 4.76 ERA and a 0.882 WHIP in his 5.2 innings of work. He is 24.

RHP Andrew Thurman has only appeared in one Spring Training game with the big league club at this point, but he was perfect in that one inning. The former 2013 second rounder's 2015 season was a tale of two seasons. He was putting up very nice numbers in his first six appearances in High A (2.51 ERA and 1.206 WHIP in 32.2 IP), but then this happened. Thurman missed almost two months to the disabled list after the bus accident. After coming back, he put up a 5.02 ERA and a 1.413 WHIP in his final 13 appearances of the season and his Arizona Fall League Campaign was mostly forgettable. Thurman was ranked #28 in the Braves system in Baseball America's 2016 Prospect Handbook. He is also 24.

3B Rio Ruiz struggled in his first taste of AA for the Braves (.229/.331/.318 in 126 games), but this article from the Atlanta paper reports a newly focused and more mature Ruiz showed up for Spring Training this year. In six games with the big league club, he has hit .400/.455/.500. Ruiz, who turns 22 in May, was ranked #17 in the Braves system by Baseball America going in to the 2016 season.

In return for Foltynewicz, Thurman and Ruiz, the Astros obtained DH Evan Gattis and minor league right-hander James Hoyt. Gattis hit .246/.285/.463 with 20 doubles, a mind-boggling 11 triples and 27 home runs in his first season for the Astros in 2015. He is currently working his way back from an injury (sports hernia) and is not expected to be ready by opening day. Gattis is 29.

Hoyt's 3.49 ERA and 1.204 WHIP for AAA Fresno in 2015 is somewhat misleading as he was significantly stronger in the second half of the season. He built on that with an excellent showing in Venezuelan winter ball which I spoke with him about in this December 2015 interview. In eight Spring Training appearances, Hoyt is 1-0 with a 1.08 ERA and a 0.840 WHIP. He has held hitters to a .071 batting average. He was ranked #27 in the Astros system by Baseball America going in to the 2016 season despite being much older than the average prospect at 29 years of age (see the linked interview for more on that as well).


Nothing but 5-star reviews for the 2016 Houston Farm System Handbook!!! Get yours today.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Astros Farm Report: 3/21

Spring Training is in full swing and it's just 16 days until the Astros four minor league affiliates start their seasons! Here's what's happening in Astros MiLB land.


3-21: OF Andrew Aplin (25)
3-22: RHP Ezequiel Madera (20)
3-23: RHP Adam Whitt (23)
3-23: IF Chan Moon (25)
3-23: LHP Steve Naemark (26)
3-24: RHP Jacob Dorris (23)
3-25: LHP Neal Cotts (36)
3-26: RHP Cristian Javier (19)
3-27: 1B Felix Lucas (19)

Andrew Aplin - Birthday Boy


Join the crowd, Eric!

The World Baseball Classic Qualifying Rounds in Mexicali and Panama City were played over the last few days. A couple of current Astros minor league pitchers were on the roster for Spain: Rogelio Armenteros (2.0IP 9.00ERA 2.000WHIP) and Carlos Sierra (1.1IP 0.00ERA 1.500WHIP). The Spanish team lost to Colombia and France in the double elimination.

OF Leo Heras played for the Mexican team. In three games, Heras hit .333/.429/.833 and contributed a two-run home run in the finale last night as Mexico defeated Nicaragua to advance to the March 2017 World Baseball Classic.

Friend of the blog and former Astro farmhand, lefty Alex Sogard, was on the Czech Republic team for the second time, having appeared for them during the last WBC. In 6.2 innings, he had a 0.00 ERA and a 0.750 WHIP. The Czech team was eliminated, but received accolades for the progress they made since their last appearance in the Classic, particularly their pitching.

In Spring Training action, Tyler White continues to do his thang. He's doing what he has done since drafted. He's hitting like crazy (.344/.389/.500 in 14 games). I know that it's a small sample size, but inquiring minds want to know if he might not get that elusive 40th roster spot. Probably not, with the need for a backup catcher, but it's certainly one of the biggest stories of the spring.

In the meantime, Michael Feliz is reminding everyone that he would like a chance to join Fiers, Feldman, Fister and Fields when the Astros break camp. He has appeared in four games (one start) and has compiled a 0.00 ERA and a 1.300 WHIP in 10 innings, striking out eight and walking three. This fact was brought to you by the letter "F."

Jose de Jesus Ortiz had some good pieces on up-and-comers RHP David Paulino and RHP Joe Musgrove on what they took away from big league camp. And, of course, Tyler White continues to impress.

From Evan Drellich, we find that A.J. Reed has been getting shifted on for years.'s Jonathan Mayo weighs in on the depth of the Astros system, despite trades and graduations.

And a reminder that being a minor leaguer isn't all fun and games.