added 6/4/2010 by Mike Tauser
(Mike Tauser of Farmstros recaps the progress of Houston's prospects in the farm system.)
In early May, it appears that the several Round Rock Express prospects received their wake up call. While most of the organization's hope for the future is admittedly still at the AA level and lower, it is encouraging to see that Round Rock may be able to offer more to the big league club this season than Kevin Cash, Gustavo Chacin, Ozzie Navarro and Casey Daigle.
The most notable Express bat to come alive during the season's second month was Jason Castro. The Astros' catcher of the future batted .293 for the month of May. He even came through with his first long ball of the season during the month.
Castro's teammates Chris Johnson, Brian Bogusevic and Drew Locke made their presence felt as well. Johnson struggled with the Astros out of spring training. However, after returning from the disabled list, the third baseman had five home runs and 21 RBIs in 20 May games for Round Rock. Bogusevic batted .311 with 12 extra-base hits in the month. Locke began to show signs of the hitter who led the Texas League in batting in 2009. He hit .337 with six home runs and 18 RBIs in May. Johnson and Locke are candidates for the Farmstros' Player of the Month for May.
Two Legend Hitters
J.D. Martinez and Kody Hinze of Lexington continue to be two of the hottest hitters in the South Atlantic League. Martinez batted .339 with a .587 slugging percentage for May. Hinze had six home runs and 28 RBIs in the month. The two have combined for 94 RBIs in the first two months of the season (Hinze-53, Martinez-41) making them the top run-producing tandem in the Astros' system.
Lyles a #3 starter for Corpus Christi?
Jordan Lyles continues pitching up to and beyond expectations for the Hooks, maintaining a sub-3.00 ERA through the end of May. However, two left-handers relegated Lyles to #3 status in the Corpus Christi rotation for the month of May. Doug Arguello made five starts and posted a 1.98 ERA in 36-1/3rd innings. Arguello had one complete game victory which earned him Texas League pitcher of the week honors. Tyler Lumsden had a 2.53 ERA in six starts, pitching 32 innings.
Mier continues to Struggle
The Astros' 2009 First Round Pick Jio Mier continues to hover dangerously close to the Mendoza Line. He has yet to homer this season and he has only 22 RBIs in 49 games. Even worse, Mier was removed from the first game of June with an apparent hip injury.
What to do with Jason Bourgeois?
Jason Bourgeois was beat out by Cory Sullivan during spring training for the speedy defensive specialist role in the Houston outfield. In spite of that defeat, Bourgeois is leading the Round Rock team in batting at .363 with 26 RBIs. In addition, he adds speed with 15 stolen bases. However, Bourgeois is 28 and he is not on Houston's 40-man roster. With the recent surge by Bogusevic, who is on the 40-man roster, it is doubtful that an injury to Sullivan or Jason Michaels would result in a call-up for Bourgeois. He looks to be a repeat of Tim Raines, Jr., who put up nice numbers for the Express in 2007 then moved on to the Arizona organization.
Dallas Keuchel- Road Warrior
Much has been made about Lancaster's Clear Channel Field being unfriendly to pitchers. Dallas Keuchel's May performance did nothing to refute that reputation. The JetHawk lefthander had an ERA over 10 in three home starts in May. In three road starts, Keuchel allowed only one earned run in 24 innings.
The Dominican Astros Play Ball
The Astros Dominican Summer League entry started their season during the last weekend of May. The club is playing at the Astros' brand new academy in the Caribbean nation. The opening ceremony of that academy, which took place in May, was attended by numerous Astros executives, including Drayton McLane. On the field, Xavier Baso was the star of the first weekend. Baso, 19, who was a stalwart of the DSL Astros' bullpen in 2009, pitched four innings of two-hit, scoreless relief on the first day of the season.
Things to keep an eye on in June
June is here... A few items to keep an eye concerning the Astros of the Future:
Enjoying following the Astros of the future with you this season.