This morning, on the 6am SportsCenter that I watched because my daughter has forgotten how to sleep, they did something unconscionable:
They showed the box score from Friday night's 30-8 beatdown of Lancaster by High Desert and one noob anchor actually said:
If the minors are an indication of future success, it's only going to get worse for the Astros.
Then they showed the highlights from the Astros/Rangers game last night. Because that fits the ESPN narrative that the Astros are bad, won't get better, and it's generally funny for everybody else. F SportsCenter.
So how about some facts, rather than a cherry-picked box score? (Note: many of these stats come from the invaluable MLBFarm. Stats are valid through games on August 10.)
*At .576, the Astros have the highest organizational winning percentage in the minor leagues, better than the .560 Giants and .558 Rangers.
*At 391, the Astros have the most organizational wins in the minors, one ahead of the Mets, eight ahead of the Mariners, and 32 wins above the fourth-place Rays.
*At 520, the Astros' affiliates have hit the most organizational home runs. Oakland, with 519, is next. Seattle, at 514, is 3rd.
*At 69-52, the Triple-A Oklahoma City RedHawks are tied with the Salt Lake Bees for the best record in the Pacific Coast League, and are four games up on Albuquerque in the division. They are three wins short of their 2012 season total, with three weeks left in the season. They have already posted more wins in 2013 than they did in the entire 2007-2011 Triple-A affiliate seasons.
*OKC has the youngest batters in the League, at 24.7 years old, almost a full year younger than next-youngest Tacoma, at 25.4. Their pitching staff is the second-youngest in the League, at 25.2 years old. Memphis is the youngest, at 25.1 years old.
*George Springer is the first 30-30 player in the Minors since Grant Desme in 2009. He's 23 years old, and between Corpus and OKC is hitting .304/.411/.602 with 31 homers and 38 stolen bases. He has 12 HR in 173 PAs at OKC, and is hitting .317/.434/.648 in 41 games. That's the 3rd-highest OPS in the league.
*In the last month, Jon Singleton has 19 hits and 19 walks, for a .352 OBP.
*At 72-47, Corpus is 25 games over .500 and has the best record in the Texas League. Their 72 wins are the 3rd-most in all of MiLB, as is their .605 Win%. With three weeks left in the season, the Hooks need nine wins to match their 2012 win total. They won 50 games in 2011.
*At 22.8 years old, the Hooks have the youngest batters in the league. They also have the highest OPS in the league, at .745, and their .414 SLG is 21 points higher than 2nd-best.
*At 23.4 years old, they also have the youngest pitching staff. At 2.6 BB/9, they have the best walk rate, as well.
*20-year old Domingo Santana is 6th in the league with 20 home runs.
*George Springer is still 4th in the league in stolen bases.
*Only two Texas League pitchers have thrown more than 60IP with a WHIP under 1.00: Jake Buchanan (0.93) and David Martinez (0.997). Both are now in Triple-A.
*In 86.1IP, Mike Foltynewicz has 85K, and has allowed just six home runs.
*At 69-50, the JetHawks have the best record in the California League, one game ahead of the San Jose Giants. In their own division, they're seven games better than 2nd place Inland Empire.
*They, as well as Modesto and Lake Elsinore, have the 2nd-youngest batters in the League, at 22.4 years old.
*The JetHawks have scored 840 runs, 156 more than their nearest competitor. They have the league-lead in hits by 86, doubles by 19, and are 2nd in team home runs. Their .864 OPS is 68 points higher than 2nd-place High Desert.
*They have the lowest strikeout total by 57 strikeouts (369 fewer strikeouts than league-worst Modesto). Lancaster also has the most walks in the League, by 134 (and have drawn 236 more walks than league-worst Bakersfield.)
*The pitching staff averages 22.9 years old, next-youngest in the League after High Desert at 22.6 years old.
*They have the highest ERA in the League, thanks to the elevation, but have the 4th-best K:BB ratio, at 2.68.
*Four of the top ten California League batters in OBP are Lancaster players: Nolan Fontana (5th), Joe Sclafani (6th), Brandon Meredith (9th) and MP Cokinos (10th). All have OBPs over .400.
*At 67-49, the River Bandits - in their first season as an Astros affiliate - are four games behind Cedar Rapids for 1st place in the Western Division, but they have the 3rd-highest winning percentage in the League.
*Last year, under the Cardinals affiliation, the River Bandits were 68-71.
*With 493 walks, the River Bandits have the highest walk total in the League, by 31 walks. Their .338 OBP is third-best in the league.
*The pitching staff has the 4th-highest strikeout total (35 behind league-leading Great Lakes), and the 2nd-lowest walk total, at 333 - 10 walks behind Peoria for league-best.
*Their 2.9 BB/9 ratio is tied with Peoria for the lowest in the league, while the 8.1 K/9 is 3rd-best in the League.
*Carlos Correa, at 18 years old, is hitting .327/.409/.480 in a league where the average hitter is 21.3 years old. His .327 average is the 4th-best in the league, and the best among players with over 300 PAs. His .889 OPS is highest among players with more than 300 PAs.
*Correa and Teoscar Hermandez are 11th and 12th, respectively, in total bases.
*Vincent Velasquez and Lance McCullers have 123 and 115 strikeouts, respectively. This is good enough for 1st and 2nd in the Midwest League.
*Gera Sanchez, Lance McCullers, and Vincent Velasquez rank 8th-10th in K/9 ratio. Mitchell Lambson is 14th.
*In five starts (19.2IP), Mark Appel has allowed 15H/5ER, 16K:6BB for a 2.29 ERA/1.07 WHIP.
*In 83.1IP, Mike Hauschild (now at Lancaster), allowed one home run.
*The ValleyCats, at 31-22, have the 2nd-best record in the New York-Penn League, and are leading their division by 1.5 games.
*ValleyCat batters have 327 strikeouts, three more than league-leading Batavia. They are also tied with Vermont for the 2nd-highest number of walks. They're also scoring the 3rd-highest runs/game.
*In 462IP, the pitching staff has issued just 90 walks, best in the league, and 100 fewer walks than league-worst Auburn. Their 1.8 BB/9 is 1.2 walks less than League-Average.
*They also have the 3rd-highest strikeout total. As a team, their K:BB ratio is 4.52 - 1.43 better than 2nd-best Lowell.
*Before getting called up to Quad Cities, Dan Gulbransen was leading the league in BA (.397) and SLG (.638).
*Mike Martinez's seven HR are tied for 3rd-best in the League. Conrad Gregor's 55 hits are 6th in the league, four behind the League leader.
*Pitcher Zach Morton has allowed 17 hits and seven walks in 32.2IP for a 0.74 WHIP - 7th-best in the League, and best among pitchers who have thrown 30+ IP.
*Richard Rodriguez, Tanner Bushue, and Michael Feliz also have a WHIP under 1.00.
*Chris Cotton (21K:2BB) and Richard Rodriguez (20K:2BB) are two of the six pitchers in the league with a K:BB ratio over 10.00
*At 32-16, the Greeneville Astros are a game behind Bluefield for the best record in the Appalachian League, and they're leading the division by four games.
*They have already won more games than the team did in 2007-11 seasons. The 2007 Greeneville Astros won 17 of 68 games, the 2013 Astros won 13 games in a row between July 11-25.
*Their 206 walks lead the league by 27, and they have the fewest strikeouts (318) by 15.
*Staff ERA, at 2.80, is the best in the League. They have the most strikeouts, 3rd-fewest walks issued, lowest WHIP (1.14), and the best K:BB ratio, at 3.13.
*Chris Munnelly (0.84) and Frederick Tiburcio (1.26) are both in the Top 10 in League ERA. Munnelly has the League's 2nd-lowest WHIP, at 0.56.
*Chris Lee is 4th in strikeouts, with 47 in 39IP.
*Only four pitchers have thrown 10+ IP and have BB/9 rates under 1.0. Raul Rivera is one of those pitchers, walking one of the 42 batters he has faced.
*Tyler Brunnemann has the 7th-highest K/9 ratio, at 13.0, while Raul Rivera's 13.00 K:BB ratio is 2nd-best in the league.
That's far enough, I think. Of the six teams highlighted here (I didn't get into the GCL or the VSL), three have the best record in their league, two more are 2nd in the league. The Hooks have the 3rd-highest winning percentage of all minor-league teams. Five of the six teams are leading their division.
That 30-8 game from Friday night fit ESPN's narrative of "TEH ASTORS R BAD HAR HAR HAR." Too bad they didn't get some statistics before making their funny, funny little joke.