The teams that make up the Houston Astros farm system are off to a fast start.
The Fresno Grizzlies have compiled an overall record of 12 wins and 11 losses and sit in second place in the Pacific Northern Division of the Pacific Coast League half a game behind the Sacremento River Cats. Fresno’s pitching staff is 13th in the league with the highest ERA (4.96), has hit the most batters (13), and is fourth in the league in runs allowed (118). However, solid defense and strong plate appearances have kept the team out front sitting fourth in runs scored (124) and third in RBIs (117).
The Corpus Christi Hooks have pulled a game and a half ahead of the Midland RockHounds in the South Division of the Texas League. The Hooks currently have a record of 13 wins and 10 losses due to strong performances from a multitude of former River Bandits both on the mound and at the plate. It marks the team’s best start to a season ever. The Texas League’s top-ten pitchers with the best ERAs include two Quad Cities alumni in the form of Chris Devenski and Lance McCullers with ERAs of 0.00 and 0.90 respectively. Devenski was also named the Texas League’s pitcher of the week for his work during the week of April 26th. He was two outs away from his second career no-hitter before he was pulled from the game after 6.1 innings with three walks and eight strikeouts. Baseball America’s number one Houston Astros prospect Carlos Correa and teammate Tony Kemp are continuing to put in strong performances as 2015 progresses. Correa is second in the league with 22 RBIs and is hitting .371 with a slugging percentage sitting at .697. He also picked up Player of the Week honors for the week of April 26th. During that week, the Puerto Rico native had a slash line of .435/.435/.913 with seven RBIs and fell a triple short of hitting for the cycle. In his second season with Corpus Christi, Kemp is showing patience at the plate drawing 16 walks with an on-base percentage of .460 while hitting .349. Out of 160 minor league teams across the country, Baseball America ranked the Hooks as the sixth-best minor league team coming into 2015 and it’s no surprise because seven of MLB.com’s top 20 Astros prospects are currently with Corpus Christi as the team looks to continue their winning ways this season.
Lancaster is currently tied for third place in the California League South division standings. Several former River Bandits have already put in solid starts to the season. Edison Frias was named the California League Pitcher of the Week for the first week of play. He posted a record of two wins pitching for nine innings allowing three hits and no runs while walking two and striking out nine during that week. He held opponents to just a .100 batting average which is over 100 points better than last season in the Quad Cities. River Bandits’ alumni Chase McDonald is having a strong season with the JetHawks hitting .299 and slugging .558 including five doubles, five home runs, and 14 RBIs over the course of 20 games. But he’s not the only Lancaster player having a good start at the plate as Brett Phillips leads the league with 34 hits.
The Quad Cities River Bandits have started out with their best record in over 20 years with a record of 18 wins and six losses on the season. The River Bandits lead the Western Division of the Midwestern League with a four game lead over the Burlington Bees. Mott Hyde was awarded Player of the Week honors for April 27th-May 3rd for his performance at the plate. Hyde has a .347 batting average and is slugging .542 with 12 doubles and seven RBIs. Defense and pitching has been a key factor as well with the Quad Cities leading the league with the lowest ERA (2.22) with a key standout being Joe Musgrove. Musgrove has compiled a 4-1 record in five appearances with an 0.70 ERA walking one and striking out 23.
With the scrappiness of the Grizzlies, the defensive strength of the Hooks, the offensive domination of the JetHawks, and the historic start for the River Bandits, it looks to be another strong season that puts the Astros minor league teams in the hunt for their respective league championships.