Astros Prospect Report: Roller coaster riding pitchers hit the final hill

Brian Stevenson
SB Nation

Your daily look at the previous night's Minor League happenings.

AAA Oklahoma City RedHawks: 11-8 loss to Iowa (CHC)

-> Joe Sclafani: 3-for-5, 3B, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R
-> Matthew Duffy: 2-for-5, RBI, R
-> Ruben Sosa: 1-for-3, BB, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R
-> Andrew Aplin: 1-for-3, BB, 2B, R
-> Ronald Torreyes: 1-for-3, BB, 2B, R
-> Preston Tucker: 1-for-4, BB, R
-> Domingo Santana: 1-for-5, 2 RBI





SP Asher Wojciechowski: 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 H, 1 BB, 6 K
RP Jason Stoffel: 2.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 1 K (hold)
RP Anthony Bass: 0.1 IP, 4 R (3 ER), 3 H, 0 BB, 0 K (hold, loss)
RP Patrick Urckfitz: 0.0 IP, 2 R (1 ER), 2 H, 0 BB, 0 K (blown save)
RP Jorge De Leon: 0.2 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 0 K



So ends what has been a rough, injury-plagued year for Wojo. Coming into Spring Training, it was thought he could be on the MLB 25-man roster by mid-season, but instead he was just barely underway at that point. His 4.74 ERA doesn't look great, but his BAbip and line drive rate were both elevated significantly, giving some hope for regression in the future. His walk rate stayed strong at 2.49 per nine innings, a 0.47 improvement which brought it back down to the area it was in AA last year (2.42) when he broke out and restored his upside as a potential starter. He could rest for an off-season, or the Astros could choose to have him play some Winter Ball and make up for lost time.

Mr. MLB Joe Sclafani is hitting nearly .400 in his last ten games, thanks to a pair of three-hit outings and one four-hit performance. With the RedHawks, he's batting .342/.425/.444, showing a surprising level of pop with seven doubles, three triples and a pair of long balls in 61 games. Even if that doesn't translate, plate discipline will be a selling point; in those 61 games he's walked 26 times and whiffed just 25 times.

Duffy is straight-up scalding hot right now; over his last ten games, he's hitting .429/.467/.548 with three doubles and a triple. Seven of those ten games have been multi-hit games. On the season with OKC, he's slashing .283/.337/.453 with 26 XBH. He's in the top 20 in the PCL in homers among guys with fewer than 100 games played in the league.

And by the way, unless I'm figuring this incorrectly, the RedHawks' loss here torpedoed their playoff chances; if they win tomorrow and Omaha loses, they'll be in a tie for first in the division, but the tiebreaker is the season series, and Omaha won that 9-7. So...that's it. They can't blame themselves; they needed a 3-1 series win over Iowa to clinch the spot or a split to force Omaha to have to win tomorrow, but they lost the first three.

AA Corpus Christi Hooks: 7-1 loss to San Antonio (SDP)

-> Leonardo Heras: 1-for-2, BB
-> Telvin Nash: 1-for-3, BB, solo HR
-> Tony Kemp: 1-for-3, BB
-> Jonathan Meyer: 1-for-3
-> Colin Moran: 1-for-4



SP Darin Downs: 0.2 IP, 1 ER, 1 H, 2 BB, 0 K (loss)
RP Mark Appel: 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 5 H, 3 BB, 4 K
RP Travis Ballew: 1.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 0 K
RP David Rollins: 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K


Well, that didn't go quite as planned. There were some definite obstacles to overcome, like muddy, unusable bullpen mounds, and Darin Downs blowing up so bad in his rehab outing that Appel had to come in early, but he still walked a bunch of guys and hurt himself. Live and learn as you head into the AFL in October. On the bright side, there were four strike outs and five outs on the ground in less than five innings.

Moran's hitting streak is at 11 games now. During that run, he's batting .313/.333/.313. Yeah, more of a staying-alive streak than a real hot hitting streak, but we'll take it.

A+ Lancaster JetHawks: 9-5 loss to Inland Empire (LAA)

-> Chan Moon: 3-for-4, R
-> Austin Elkins: 2-for-3, 2B, 2 BB
-> Brett Phillips: 1-for-3, HR, SB, RBI, 2 BB, 2 R
-> Ronnie Mitchell: 1-for-4, solo HR
-> Jobduan Morales: 1-for-4, 2B, R
-> Danry Vasquez: 1-for-4, RBI
-> Tyler White: 0-for-4, BB





SP Kent Emanuel: 4.1 IP, 6 ER, 11 H, 1 BB, 4 K (loss)
RP Zach Morton: 2.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 0 K
RP Patrick Christensen: 2.0 IP, 2 R (0 ER), 3 H, 3 BB, 2 K

Emanuel's last start was a tough one, but he didn't beat himself with walks and battled, and he really turned things around during the second-half of this season; from July 12 through August 24 (eight starts), he posted a 1.44 ERA, 1.03 BB/9 and 6.80 K/9 in 43.2 innings of work. That's a heck of a run out in the California League. Don't be surprised in the least if he's starting games in Corpus next April.

Four of Phillips' last ten games have been multi-hit affairs, and he's batting exactly .333 during that span, with a pair of bombs and three doubles. I'd like to point out that his ISO in Lancaster, currently .225, is only negligibly higher than the ISO he posted with Quad Cities (.219). In other words, as well as he's hitting in Lancaster, you can't really attribute his numbers looking so good to some kind of cheap, league-induced power boost. His strike out rate is up a bit, but nothing too serious and he's still struck out less than once a game, and he continues to draw his walks. He's easily the system's breakout player of the year, and he's got to be on the short list for the overall player of the year, too. What a season. Maybe he won't pan out, but this is why following the minors can be so much fun.

A- Quad Cities River Bandits: 9-4 win over Burlington (LAA)

-> J.D. Davis: 2-for-3, BB, SB, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI
-> Marc Wik: 2-for-4, BB, 2B, R
-> Chase McDonald: 1-for-2, BB, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R
-> Bobby Boyd: 1-for-4, 3B, RBI, R
-> A.J. Reed: 1-for-4, R
-> Brett Booth: 1-for-4
-> Ryan Bottger: 1-for-5, 2B, RBI, R
-> Thomas Lindauer: 0-for-3, BB, R
-> Dayne Parker: 0-for-3, RBI







SP Chris Lee: 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 2 K
RP Troy Scribner: 3.0 IP, 4 R (1 ER), 4 H, 3 BB, 2 K (win)
RP Keegan Yuhl: 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 4 K (save)

Davis had done just about everything you'd want, given his profile, after his promotion, except hitting for the power we knew he possessed. These two homers make four in his last eight games, though, and jack his ISO up to a much more appropriate .197, and there's possibly even more in there still. He's even stolen four bases in four attempts in his 42 games with the River Bandits; while that probably won't ever be part of his package, it's a nice little show of some athleticism from a guy with questions about whether he can stick at third base defensively.

Man, I was really hoping for a big Chris Lee break out season, and though I didn't get quite what I was looking for, Lee did take a solid step forward. After spending the last three seasons in Rookie-level Greeneville, the Astros showed some faith in him by placing him in full-season ball from the get-go. He got off to a solid start in April, but after a mediocre May and a flatly-horrible June, he really came on strong these last two months, with a 2.83 ERA, 3.40 BB/9 and 5.10 K/9 in 47.2 innings combined. Clearly, he still has a good deal of work to do, but this is a young lefty with solid control who just posted a a 58% ground ball rate over a full season. That's something to build on.

SS Tri-City ValleyCats: 4-1 win over Vermont (OAK)

-> Kristian Trompiz: 2-for-4, R, 2 2B
-> Jamie Ritchie: 1-for-2, 2 BB
-> Terrell Joyce: 1-for-3, solo HR
-> Alex Hernandez: 1-for-4, BB, RBI, R
-> Nick Tanielu: 1-for-4, 2B, RBI, R
-> Jose Solano: 1-for-4, RBI
-> Jason Martin: 0-for-2, BB, SB





SP Randall Fant: 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 3 K (win)
RP Francis Ramirez: 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 2 K (hold)
RP Aaron Vaughn: 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 K (hold)
RP Derick Velazquez: 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 1 K (save)


Barring one heck of a day from Nick Tanielu tomorrow (like finding a way to hit nine homers in one game), Terrell Joyce is you're Tri-City leader in homers this year by a lot. He's only hitting .236 on the year, but the .270 ISO is a serious number. His homer tonight was #11 in just 52 games, with 13 doubles and a triple mixing in to form an impressive power cocktail. This was his third season after being drafted out of a JuCo in 2012, so he'll need to work hard in the off-season and show something in full-season ball soon or risk being left behind.

Trompiz won't be turning 19 until this December, but he's already gaining some experience outside of the GCL. Another writer tells me he may not be a power guy, but his hit tool looks legit and he can play more than one position, so there's a solid foundation to start building on. Being from Venezuela, it's possible we could see him in Winter Ball in a couple of months.

The closer Velazquez continues his solid debut season; 1.57 ERA, 0.78 BB/9 and 9.39 K/9 in 23 innings. No, the walk rate is no typo; just two walks all season.

Today's Scheduled Starters

AAA: TBD vs. TBD
AA: Jordan Jankowski vs. Bryce Morrow
A+: Vincent Velasquez vs. Raymond Hanson
A-: Michael Feliz vs. TBD
SS: Austin Chrismon vs. Jerad Grundy



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