Sorry, it's been a while. I graduated, went to a bachelor party in Vegas, and got my river-rafting schedule for June, and I've been catching up with the Astros. Let's jump right in:
Preston Wilson looks BAD. I've been watching the Astros-Nationals series, and maybe I should have noticed this before, but Wilson takes absolutely HUGE swings at everything, and whiffs most of the time. Maybe he's just in a slump, but would it kill him to shorten his swing just a touch?
Morgan Ensberg is crushing anything on the inner half.
Brad Lidge got a little unlucky yesterday. First of all, he was called in with a runner on 3rd and 1 out. He walked Matthew Lecroy after getting ahead of him 1-2. He got Daryle Ward to hit a hard ground ball to 1st that somehow got by Berkman. Then Soriano blooped one in, Clayton hit a grounder through the left side, etc. He didn't pitch that badly.
How about a quick league at some of the Astros minor league stars?
Round Rock (AAA):
Brooks Conrad, 2B: .263 / .314 / .497, 23 extra-base hits in 180 AB. Those aren't really impressive numbers in a hitter's park like Round Rock, but I'm still a Conrad fan, just because any middle infielder who can slug .450 in the major leagues is pretty decent.
Humberto Quintero, C: .270 / .298 / .438. He doesn't walk. I'm more excited about our catcher in AA.
Jason Hirsh, RHP: 4-2, 2.88 ERA, 22/45 walk-to-strikeout ratio in 59.1 IP. After a semi-slow start, Big Hirsh has gotten it going lately, and will probably get called up sometime later this year and will likely be in the rotation next year.
Corpus Christi (AA):
J.R. House, C: .337 / .396 / .503. Wow. I was cautiously optimistic about our signing of House earlier this offseason - he was a top catching prospect for the Pirates a few years back, blew out his shoulder, and was out for a while. But look at him now! I think there's a great chance that House takes over for Ausmus after '07.
Ben Zobrist, SS: .315 / .418 / .461 - I haven't mentioned this guy before, but he's quietly put up great OBP's as a shortstop. Adam Everett is a wizard with the glove and he's still cheap, but if he ever gets expensive Zobrist is a better offensive player than Everett right now.
Hunter Pence, LF: .310 / .357 / .630, 13 HR. Definitely the best offensive prospect in the organization. He's still working his way up, but the kid is slugging .630. I would think the Astros would move him to AAA pretty soon, and I'd like to see him get a good look at the LF job in '07, since our chances of re-signing Preston Wilson aren't looking too good. Pence has a ton of power and a 'weird swing', according to most scouts.
Matt Albers, LHP: 5-1, 2.20 ERA, 57.1 IP, 19/40 BB/K - Nice year so far for Albers - a few more strikeouts would be sweet, and he doesn't have as high a ceiling as the next guy on this list, but so far, so good.
Troy Patton, LHP: 1-5, 4.20 ERA, 45.0 IP, 18 BB, 53 K - Forget about the record and the ERA - Patton's WHIP has been good, he's only allowed 2 HR, and his strikeout rate is still excellent. In my opinion Patton is the best pitching prospect in the organization, although it will take him a while to reach The Show.