Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Moar Tranzactionz!

Our fearless Masked Marvel was correct in one prediction, that Enrique Hernandez is being promoted from OKC to take Jonathan Villar's spot. But joining him on the flight to Houston will be LHP Kevin Chapman, and the biggest surprise: 21-year-old outfielder Domingo Santana.

Hernandez, 22, is a righty-hitting super-utility guy who will be making his first trip to the big leagues. This season for the RedHawks, he's been hitting a robust .337/.380/.508, with 8 HR and 31 RBI in 264 AB. He has played all four infield positions and all three outfield positions for OKC this year, but he's spent the majority of his time in the minors at 2B (357 games total), followed by SS (46 games) and LF (40 games). He was the Astros' 6th-round draft pick in 2009 out of American Military Academy in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico.

Chapman, 26, we know from his 3.2 IP of 12.27 ERA with Houston back in April this year, following a 1.77 ERA in 20.1 IP last August/September. But he's been pretty darn solid since the Astros sent him down after April 16, to the tune of a 0.94 ERA in 28.2 IP, with 37:21 K:BB, good for a sweet 11.6 K/9, and a less sweet 6.6 BB/9.

Santana is a surprise because Jeff Luhnow said two days ago that he "still has some developing in Triple A." But he is Houston's #7 prospect, according to MLB.com, and he's acquitted himself quite nicely at OKC so far, putting up a .304/.383/.502 slash line with 13 HR and 52 RBI in 319 AB, while only 5.7 years below the league average age (!). The strikeouts are a problem - 99 this year, and 714 in 2079 Minor League AB, good for a 34.3% career K rate - but Astros fans really ought to be used to that by now. Santana, of course, is the last remaining piece of the 2011 Hunter Pence trade to reach the majors, alongside fellow current Astros Jarred Cosart, Josh Zeid, and Jonathan Singleton. So we can conclude from this that Ruben Amaro, Jr. was clearly responsible for the Ground Control hack (with some Ed Wade assistance), and this is Luhnow exacting revenge by making Amaro cry in his oatmeal again.

So Anthony Bass replaces Jerome Williams (as expected), and Hernandez replaces Villar. But no word yet on corresponding moves for Chapman or Santana. With Dexter Fowler already having missed the last four games due to back issues, Santana's rushed promotion could be a sign that Fowler is DL-bound. Chapman could be replacing most anybody, though possibly Dallas Keuchel is also DL-bound and Brett Oberholtzer is still around to take Keuchel's rotation spot. We shall see.

UPDATE: The Astros have made the promotions official, as well as placing Fowler on the DL. No official word on Anthony Bass yet, interestingly, though he also just said he's back in Houston. So for now it's just Hernandez/Santana/Chapman in, and Williams/Villar/Fowler out.

UPDATE #2: Evan Drellich says Bass is still "a day or two away."

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