Monday, March 19, 2018

Astros Farm Report: 3-19

Catching you up on the latest Astros MiLB news ...


Jacob Dorris - April 2017
Photo by Jayne Hansen

3-22: RHP Joe Smith (34)
3-23: OF Patrick Mathis (22)
3-23: LHP Julio Robaina (17)
3-24: RHP Jacob Dorris (25)


Another quiet week on the transaction front ...

With the the latest reassignments to the minor league camp, there are currently 33 32 (with A.J. Reed optioned today) players with the big league camp, including the rehabbing Jandel Gustave and Brady Rodgers and the lone remaining non-roster invitee, C Tim Federowicz.

You can check the cumulative Astros offseason transaction list here to see if you've missed any of the posted moves this offseason.


Minor league pitchers aren't getting many innings in Spring Training as the season opener gets closer, but most of those who have can be proud! In the last week, Jacob Dorris provided two scoreless outings and Nick Hernandez, Chris Nunn and Brendan McCurry each put up zeroes in their individual outings as well. And Rogelio Armenteros converted a 3-inning save opportunity on Friday, allowing one hit, one walk and no runs while striking out five.

As far as position players go, the same trio keeps rising to the top week after week: Kyle Tucker (4-for-8 for the last week: 4G 3RBI 2R SO), Jon Kemmer (3-for-7 for the last week: 4G 2B R SO) and Jack Mayfield (3-for-7 for the last week: 4G RBI SO). For the spring, they are:

Tucker: .410/.429/.795 in 17 games
Mayfield: .333/.400/.556 in 18 games
Kemmer: .320/.433/.600 in 16 games

And, although they haven't gotten a ton of at-bats this spring, a couple of other minor leaguers made their marks this week -- Alex DeGoti with a 2-run home run on Tuesday and Anibal Sierra with a grand slam on Saturday.

In case you were wondering, I've just been featuring players who have yet to make their MLB debut in these "Spring Training Standouts" posts, but I'm sure you're aware that there is a major league battle to see who will start the season at first base for the Astros as they await the return of Yuli Gurriel from his DL stint and suspension. Through Sunday's game, here are how the three contenders are faring:

J.D. Davis: 16G .333/.378/.619 3-2B 3HR 3BB:11SO
A.J. Reed: 19G .298/.365/.511 4-2B 2HR 4BB:15SO (optioned today)
Tyler White: 17G .242/.378/.515 3-2B 2HR 7BB:9SO


Unfortunately, the first thing I saw on twitter when I woke up this morning was this ...

I'll save my full-blown soapbox for another day, but the cost of giving each minor league player in the Astros system an extra $1000 per month from early March through early September would cost approximately $1,440,000 per year. I know that isn't cheap, but it's less than the signing bonus for one top prospect and would make a huge difference in the lives of 240 minor league players, many of whom signed for a pittance. Paying players an hourly wage may not make sense due to the nature of the business, but increasing their pay to a fair salaried wage does. I honestly wish the Astros would do that, not because they have to or because it's the law, but because it's the right thing to do. Here is the full story.

That, on top of the ridiculous extra inning and other rules for the minors, makes me like this Commish less and less. And, since mound visits in which a "injury or potential injury to the pitcher" isn't counted as a visit, I'm anticipating a lot of soccer-type "injuries" to occur. (As someone who has done extensive acting over my lifetime, I will be happy to sign up as the Astros injury acting coach for a small fee.)


I forgot to post this last week. And I'm happy to add this story to the mix. Yes, we're coming to take your jobs, boys! One note on the second story -- Tiedemann is replacing the retiring Keith Elkins. Elkins was my contact with the Lexington Legends in my very first credentialed minor league trip. He made it an incredible experience for me and certainly contributed to my confidence going forward. I will always have a special place in my heart for Keith.

Saturday night was the ring ceremony for the Midwest League Champion Quad Cities River Bandits. Steve Batterson has the story. Troy Sieber showed us his ring and I drooled.

MiLB with stories on Kyle Tucker and one of my favorite catching prospects, Chuckie Robinson.

In case you missed it, here is my Astros Consensus Top 32 Prospect Rankings, incorporating rankings from Baseball America, MLB Pipeline, Baseball Prospectus and FanGraphs.

Also, in case you missed it, I've been rolling out a "Beyond the Top 30" series, looking at both those Astros players who are considered Top 30 prospects and others at each position who may not be top talents (or may grow to be), but will be interesting to watch nonetheless. So far we've looked at ...

Second Basemen
First Basemen
Third Basemen
Center Field
Right Field
Left Field
Utility Players
Left-Handed Pitchers
Right-Handed Relievers - Coming this week

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