Friday, July 12, 2013

Astros Stats

Happy Jarred Cosart day everyone. This is the first of the group of core prospects (consistently in top 100 prospect rankings) who has been called up in Luhnow's tenure. It is very exciting, even if Cosart's prospect shine has dimmed in recent years, because it is a small glimpse of the future of the organization. With that in mind, lets briefly check in on a few of the other core prospects, to see how they are doing down on the farm.

- Delino DeShields really shot up the prospect rankings last year, combining 101 steals with solid power numbers and a great on-base-percentage. He has lost of bit of that this year, sitting at only 30 stolen bases, with 12 caught stealing, more than halfway through the minor league season. His power has slipped a little as well, in a much better offensive environment at Lancaster. That said, he is still only 20 years old, and is showing signs that he is adjusting to his new league. On May 16, DeShields was hitting .232/.321/.354 with 5 stolen bases and 7 caught stealing. Since that date, he is hitting .322/.423./.428 with 25 stolen bases and only 4 caught stealing. He has also increased his walk rate over that time from 9% to over 16%. Also worth noting, DeShields only has 6 at bats against pitchers younger than him all year.

- The Astros prime pitching prospects also continue to impress. Mike Foltynewicz has a 2.33 in 14 starts at AA. He too has faced primarily older batters, facing only 32 younger hitters all season. He has held all older batters to a .226/.324/.362 line. Walks have been a problem, however. At both stops this year, his BB/9 has been over 4.5, and it is approaching 5 in AA. The excessive walks, and relatively low BABIP of .263 have driven up his AA FIP to 3.75. That is a common problem among Astros pitching prospects. McCullers's walk rate is over 4, and Cosart is bringing a 4.84 BB/9 into his first big league start. To put that in perspective, Cosart's walk rate in AAA would rate the 3rd worst in the major leagues among qualified pitchers, sitting right between Ubaldo Jiminez and (gasp) Lucas Harrell. That said, all three have solid groundball/flyball rates and excellent K rates, which should mitigate some of that concern.

- I'm not going to write anything about Jon Homerton. Go read this. Or Springer, because what he is doing is ineffable, and I'm not about to try to eff it.

- To those who wish Luhnow would move these prospects through the minors faster, keep this in mind. Foltynewicz, McCullers and Cosart have, combined, only faced  90 batters younger than them this season. Correa, DeShields and Singelton, even with his progression through Quad Cities and Corpus, have only 27 total plate appearances against younger pitchers. These player's success is coming almost exclusively against older competition, and that is very exciting. Help is on the way, we just need to show a little patience.