Tuesday, September 19, 2017

WTHB Astros MiLB 2017 Players of the Year

There were so many amazing feats of baseball excellence in the Astros system this season that I wish I could acknowledge them all. Here are just a few ...

FULL SEASON PLAYERS OF THE YEAR

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: OF KYLE TUCKER


Kyle Tucker - August 2017
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Despite somewhat uneven results following his late May promotion to AA Corpus Christi, Tucker was still the player to beat in terms of the breadth of his accomplishments for 2017. In 120 games between Buies Creek and Corpus Christi, Tucker batted .274/.346/.528 with 33 doubles, five triples, 25 home runs, 90 RBI, 70 runs scored, 21 stolen bases and eight outfield assists. He was the only 20/20 man in the Astros minor league system, an accomplishment worth noting. As is the fact that he is still only 20 years old at AA.

Serious consideration was also given to Quad Cities/Buies Creek OF Carmen Benedetti (.316/.421/.452 in 92 games); Quad Cities/Buies Creek OF Ronnie Dawson (.278/.363/.437 in 129 games) and Buies Creek/Corpus Christi OF Myles Straw (.290/.405/.360 in 127 games). Benedetti has an outstanding right field arm (11 outfield assists), developing power (27 doubles, one triple and five home runs) and excellent on-base skills. Ronnie Dawson's numbers may not look that impressive until you consider that he hit .314/.410/.490 from June 1st on and .333/.413/.502 from July 1st forward. And, last but certainly not least, Myles Straw may not be a power threat, but his 38 stolen bases for the season show him to be a legitimate speed threat; he also scored 90 runs and collected 14 outfield assists.

Note that I did not consider any players who have already made their major league debut (sorry, Tony Kemp!).

STARTER OF THE YEAR: RHP ROGELIO ARMENTEROS

Rogelio Armenteros - April 2017
Photo by Jayne Hansen

There were a number of very good pitching performances in the Astros minor league system in 2017, but no one was quite as dominant as Rogelio Armenteros. Armenteros split his season between Corpus Christi and Fresno and compiled a 10-4 record with a 2.04 ERA, a 1.043 WHIP and 38 walks to 146 strikeouts in 123.2 innings. His stats were almost identical at the two levels with the main difference being an astonishing 8-1 record in his 10 starts at the higher level.

Honorable mention goes to Quad Cities/Buies Creek RHP Carson LaRue (12-7, 3.23 ERA, 1.133 WHIP, 30BB:105SO in 120 IP); Quad Cities/Buies Creek RHP Jorge Alcala (7-6, 3.05 ERA, 1.061 WHIP, 45BB:95SO in 109.1 IP); Buies Creek/Corpus Christi RHP Yoanys Quiala (9-5, 2.57 ERA, 1.187 WHIP, 24BB:92SO, 108.2 innings); and Quad Cities/Buies Creek/Corpus Christi RHP Forrest Whitley (5-4, 2.83 ERA, 12.13 WHIP, 34BB:143SO, 92.1 IP).

RELIEVER OF THE YEAR: RHP NICK HERNANDEZ

Nick Hernandez - August 2017
Photo by Jayne Hansen

I struggled with this one a little bit, but ultimately I went with Nick Hernandez. Hernandez was lights out in his time with Buies Creek (1.59 ERA, 0.853 WHIP with 9 saves in 24 appearances), but the numbers following his promotion to Corpus Christi were a little less flashy (5.84 ERA, 1.297 WHIP with 1 save in 14 appearances). But once I dug down a little bit further, I was sold. Hernandez inherited 32 runners and allowed only two of them to score and he converted 10 of 11 save opportunities. He ended the season with a 1-3 record, 10 saves, a 3.38 ERA, a 1.040 WHIP and held batters to a .170 average in 38 appearances (58.2 IP).

There were several other pitchers that I considered for this award, primary among them Buies Creek/Corpus Christi RHP Riley Ferrell (3.67 ERA, 1.204 WHIP, 6 saves in 38 appearances). Ferrell started out the season slowly, but hit his stride late. He had a 2.45 ERA and a 0.773 WHIP from July 1st forward, holding batters to a .158 batting average. In his final nine appearances, he allowed only three hits, zero walks and zero runs over 12.1 innings.

CATCHER OF THE YEAR: CHUCKIE ROBINSON

Chuckie Robinson - July 2017
Photo by Jayne Hansen

I like a catcher who is a well-rounded player and that sums up who Chuckie Robinson is. He not only has a solid bat (.274/.330/.463 with 32 doubles, two triples and 15 home runs) and a good arm (41% caught stealing rate in 2017), but he can also steal an occasional base as he did seven times during the season. He was an invaluable member of the Quad Cities team both during the season as he caught around 30 or so pitchers who came through the level, as well as the River Bandits postseason, catching eight of nine games and contributing four home runs and eight RBI.

SHORT SEASON PLAYERS OF THE YEAR

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: OF RAMIRO RODRIGUEZ

Rodriguez spent the vast majority of his season with the Dominican Summer League with a mid-August promotion to the Gulf Coast League that saw him continue with his dominance at the plate. In 58 games, Rodriguez hit .335/.440/.500 with 11 doubles, three triples, five home runs, 24 RBI, 37 runs scored and eight stolen bases. He walked 30 times to only 23 strikeouts. Rodriguez is from Panama and will be 20 in February.

STARTER OF THE YEAR: LHP ANTONIO PUJOLS

In his first season in the Astros system, Pujols made quite an impression, compiling a 4-2 record with a 1.65 ERA, a 0.933 WHIP and 16 walks to 49 strikeouts in 54.2 innings of work. He held opposing batters to a .186/.250/.266 batting line. Pujols is from the Dominican Republic and will turn 20 in January.

RELIEVER OF THE YEAR: RHP JESUS BALAGUER

Jesus Balaguer was 5-2 with 4 saves, a 2.73 ERA and a 1.061 WHIP in 18 bullpen appearances for Greeneville, Tri-City and Quad Cities this season. He walked 15 batters and struck out 53 in 33 innings of work and held hitters to a .175/.271/.263 batting line. Balaguer, who just turned 24 in August, is from Cuba and 2017 was his first season in the U.S.

TEAM OF THE YEAR: QUAD CITIES RIVER BANDITS

Russ Steinhorn - July 2017
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Russ Steinhorn guided the 62 players who came through the River Bandits clubhouse in 2017 to the Midwest League Championship in his second season as a manager in the Astros system. He first managed in the Dominican Summer League in 2016, an experience that came in very handy for him as 30 of those 62 players he managed in Quad Cities were Latin American and ran the gamut in their abilities to communicate in the English language. Steinhorn created a great clubhouse culture that blended all of the personalities and backgrounds, resulting in a vibrant atmosphere with great chemistry and energy both on and off the field. The River Bandits ended the season with a 79-59 record, the best mark in the Astros minor league system and, of course, bragging rights at Spring Training 2018 as they will be the only Astros MiLB team to be presented with championship rings.

MISCELLANEOUS AWARDS ...
(SOME SERIOUS, SOME NOT SO MUCH)

BEST HAIR: RHP DEAN DEETZ

Dean Deetz - April 2017
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Not only does he have hair that would fit in alongside Yuli Gurriel and George Springer, he also has a great sense of humor and took no offense when I mentioned that his hair made him look like a porcupine.

Honorable mention has to go to Cesar Rosado though ...



MOST LIKELY TO BREAK OUT DANCING IN THE CLUBHOUSE (OR ANYWHERE ELSE FOR THAT MATTER): OF RONNIE DAWSON


BEST BASEBALL NAME: OF FILDEX PERFECTO

Surely the Astros are planning to convert this young man to a pitcher just so someone gets the opportunity to report on a Perfecto Perfecto one day!!!

BEST USE OF DUGOUT PAPER CUPS: RHP CY SNEED

Cy Sneed - April 2017
Photo by Jayne Hansen

HAVE A GAME AWARD, PART 1: C EDUARDO DE OLEO

De Oleo hit three home runs in ONE GAME on April 21st. It was only his second game in the Astros system.

MOST INTERESTING FACE: RHP CRISTIAN JAVIER

Cristian Javier - July 2017
Photo by Jayne Hansen

I have been intrigued by Javier's face since I met him last year ... so interesting, mysterious and somehow vulnerable. Oh, and he's a really good pitcher too!

BEST DEBUT BY A PITCHER IN 2017: LHP KIT SCHEETZ

With apologies to NDFA RHP Brendan Feldmann and 11th rounder LHP Brandon Beilak, each of whom had terrific starts to their pro careers, I have to go with Kit Scheetz, another non-drafted free agent who started his season with the Gulf Coast League rookie club, was quickly promoted to Tri-City and earned his way to Quad Cities in mid-August. From rookie ball to earning a win in Low A postseason play in your first professional season while compiling a 1.72 ERA and a 1.021 WHIP is pretty impressive no matter how you look at it. In 47 innings in the regular season, he walked nine and struck out 53.

CUTEST COUPLE, PART 1: TRENT WOODWARD AND KYLE TUCKER


Trent Woodward and Kyle Tucker - August 2017
Photo by Jayne Hansen

BEST NICKNAME: FREUDIS "SUPER" NOVA

Freudis was christened "Super" Nova after hitting two home runs in one game on August 3rd.

BEST SMILE: 1B DEX MCCALL

Dex McCall - August 2017
Photo by Jayne Hansen

HAVE A GAME AWARD, PART 2: C NERIO RODRIGUEZ

Rodriguez caught five baserunners in one game on July 28th. In addition, he hit a home run. According to MLB pipeline, that combination has NEVER happened before.

BEST DEBUT BY A POSITION PLAYER IN 2017: JOSH ROJAS

Josh Rojas - July 2017
Photo by Jayne Hansen

There are several deserving candidates, but I have to go with the 26th rounder out of the University of Hawaii. Not only did he skip rookie ball and the short season clubs altogether to make his debut with Low A Quad Cities, he also subbed in at AAA Fresno at the end of the season, and he more than held his own at the plate, hitting .261/.319/.478 with five doubles, five triples and 10 home runs in 56 games. Primarily a third baseman/second baseman, he also played a couple games at short and ended up playing outfield in the postseason where he was credited with two outfield assists.

ONLY IN THE DSL AWARD: ASTROS ORANGE TEAM

On June 21st, the Astros Orange team scored six runs in one inning without collecting a hit ... six walks, three hit batters, two wild pitches, one passed ball and one stolen base ... only in the DSL!

CUTEST COUPLE, PART 2: TROY SIEBER AND KRISTIAN TROMPIZ

Troy Sieber and Kristian Trompiz - July 2017
Photo by Jayne Hansen

HAVE A GAME AWARD, PART 3: 1B/OF JOSE BENJAMIN

Benjamin hit for the cycle in only four at-bats in a rain shortened game on July 17th ... double in the first, triple in the third, home run in the fifth and single in the sixth.

HALL OF FAME AWARD: RHP BROCK DYKXHOORN

Brock Dykxhoorn - April 2017
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Dykxhoorn has the distinction, as far as I know, of being the only current Astros minor leaguer to have already been inducted into the Hall of Fame ... the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, that is. He was inducted this past summer as a member of the Pan Am Gold Medal 2015 Canadian National Team.

MOST LIKELY TO BREAK A FEW HEARTS: RHP FORREST WHITLEY


Forrest Whitley - August 2017
Photo by Jayne Hansen

What can I say? He's talented, charming, good looking and a top prospect! 

HAVE A GAME AWARD, LAST CALL: C JAMIE RITCHIE

Jamie Ritchie - August 2017
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Ritchie hit for the cycle on August 6th ... home run in the second, single in the fifth, double in the seventh, triple in the eighth. According to twitter, saving the triple for last (and getting it) is the equivalent of getting every beautiful girl in the bar to go home with you at closing time.

2017 ASTROS MILB BY THE NUMBERS

TEAM STATS


  • 893: Regular season Astros minor league games played
  • 456-437: Cumulative record of all nine Astros MiLB teams
  • +150: Cumulative run differential for all nine teams
  • 9: Astros MiLB teams
  • 5: Astros MiLB teams with winning records
  • 2: Astros MiLB teams advancing to the playoffs (Greeneville and Quad Cities)
  • 1: Astros MiLB team winning a League Championship (Quad Cities/Midwest League Champions)



  • 5.52: Highest team ERA in the Astros MiLB system (Fresno Grizzlies)
  • 4.13: Cumulative ERA for all pitchers in the Astros MiLB system
  • 3.53: Lowest team ERA in the Astros MiLB system (Gulf Coast League Astros)
  • 1.607: Highest team WHIP in the Astros MiLB system (Fresno Grizzlies)
  • 1.397: Cumulative WHIP for all pitchers in the Astros MiLB system
  • 1.216: Lowest team WHIP in the Astros MiLB system (Buies Creek Astros)



  • .473: Highest team SLG in the Astros MiLB system (Fresno Grizzlies)
  • .397: Cumulative SLG for all players in the Astros MiLB system
  • .316: Lowest team SLG in the Astros MiLB system (DSL Astros Orange)
  • .359: Highest team OBP in the Astros MiLB system (Fresno Grizzlies)
  • .337: Cumulative OBP for all players in the Astros MiLB system
  • .304: Lowest team OBP in the Astros MiLB system (Tri-City ValleyCats)
  • .282: Highest team BA in the Astros MiLB system (Fresno Grizzlies)
  • .251: Cumulative BA for all players in the Astros MiLB system
  • .216: Lowest team BA in the Astros MiLB system (Tri-City ValleyCats)


OFFENSIVE LEADERS




Minimum 300 PA for full season and minimum 150 PA for short season to qualify



PITCHING LEADERS




Minimum 70 innings pitched for full season and minimum 40 innings pitched for short season to qualify

  • 13.9: Strikeouts per nine innings for Quad Cities/Buies Creek/Corpus Christi RHP Forrest Whitley in 92.1 innings (143 strikeouts), the full season leader
  • 11.6: Strikeouts per nine innings for Tri-City RHP Colin McKee in 41 innings (53 strikeouts), the short season leader
  • 5.8: Hits per nine innings for Quad Cities/Buies Creek RHP Jorge Alcala in 109.1 innings, the full season leader
  • 4.2: Hits per nine innings for Tri-City RHP Colin McKee in 41 innings, the short season leader
  • 1.7: Walks per nine innings for GCL/Tri-City/Quad Cities LHP Kit Scheetz in 47 innings, the short season leader
  • 1.6: Walks per nine innings for Corpus Christi/Fresno RHP Trent Thornton in 131.1 innings, the full season leader
  • 5.89: Strikeout-to-walk rate for GCL/Tri-City/Quad Cities LHP Kit Scheetz in 47 innings, the short season leader
  • 4.39: Strikeout-to-walk rate for Corpus Christi/Fresno RHP Trent Thornton in 131.1 innings, the full season leader
  • 0.933: WHIP from DSL LHP Antonio Pujols in 54.2 innings, the short season leader
  • 1.043: WHIP from Corpus Christi/Fresno RHP Rogelio Armenteros in 123.2 innings, the full season leader
  • 1.65: ERA from DSL LHP Antonio Pujols in 54.2 innings, the short season leader
  • 2.04: ERA from Corpus Christi/Fresno RHP Rogelio Armenteros in 123.2 innings pitched, the full season leader


Previous By The Numbers Posts from 2017
April
May
June
July
August/September

If you made it this far, thank you all for reading! And a special thanks to Dustin Nguyen who has provided continuously excellent recaps and helped keep me sane over these last few years!!! Come back soon for my Rule 5 post.

4 comments:

  1. Tucker? He was on the DL most of AA. Wow! Ridiculous.

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    Replies
    1. Tucker missed 9 games on the DL when playing for Corpus while playing 72 games at the level. Only 7 players played more games than Tucker did for the season (120), the most being 129 games. So he played 9 fewer games than the most in the system and still managed to be a 20/20 guy. He played more games than 143 other players. So the thing that is ridiculous is that you come in here and make an anonymous comment about something you know nothing about. Are you related to a player that you think deserved it more? Because that's the only reason I can see for you saying that Tucker's accomplishments aren't important because he missed NINE games on the DL. I research this stuff. I don't pull it out of my ass so I would appreciate not being called ridiculous by someone who IS pulling bull crap out of his/her ass. Thank you for reading, but do a little research before you start making up your own fake news.

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