It's been a few days since we've posted here but there's something cool happening throughout the Astros organization. Seemingly every level could end up tasting the postseason this season, from the Dominican League all the way up to the parent club. I don't know if that's rare or not, but either way it's pretty darn cool. Here's the skinny:
We all know what's been going on this year. Houston has scraped and clawed all season trying to stay on top of the standings in the AL West. Not bad for a team many picked to finish last in their division coming into the year. Pitching has been their calling card as most games follow the same theme: hold the other team's offense back until one of our guys can run into a Springer Dinger, or a Colby Jack, or a Conger Donger, or whatever the cool kids are using this week. So far that's been a good formula. Hopefully there's a few more weeks of magic left for this team.
Fresno opens the first round of the PCL playoffs tonight against El Paso. The Grizzlies, anchored by league MVP Matt Duffy, used their league best .357 OBP to finish the season as the only team in the league to score over 800 runs.
Corpus also starts their first round matchup tonight against Midland. While they made the playoffs on the strength of their 1st half standings, when they still had Correa, Kemp, and Aplin all hitting over .340, they've been bolstered in the 2nd half by AJ Reed and pitcher Joe Musgrove. As a team they finished 1st in runs scored and 2nd in runs allowed.
Lancaster also starts their postseason run tonight against High Desert. Slugger AJ Reed was the California League MVP, despite spending the latter part of the season in Corpus. In a league known for offense, the JetHawks were the most offensive, averaging over 6 runs per game. Chase McDonald hit 30 homers, JD Davis had 26, and Reed hit 23 in just 82 games. Perhaps more impressive is the 1.94 ERA in 79 innings turned in by last year's 35th round pick Keegan Yuhl.
Quad Cities is joining in the fun by opening their first round series against Cedar Rapids tonight. The River Bandits pitching staff had a team era nearly a full run lower than the league average. Of the 16 pitchers who threw at least 35 innings for QC this year, 11 had an ERA under 3.00, including 5 with an ERA under 2.00.
Tri-City is ALSO opening their playoffs tonight against Staten Island. Led by OBP monsters Johnny Sewald (.413) and Bobby Wernes (.438) the Valley Cats offense led the NYPL in runs scored. Sewald also stole 31 bases in 70 games.
Greeneville, unfortunately, is NOT beginning a playoff series tonight. That's because they've already been crowned the Appalachian League Champs after taking the third and final game of the final round against Princeton.
Yeeah...we're just gonna skip this one. (ok, they went 19-41. woof.)
As you should know, the Astros have two teams in the Dominican Summer League. The "Blue" team made it to the semi-finals before bowing out to the Rangers, who would then lose to the Giants.
Out of nine minor league teams, seven made the postseason, including the top six levels. I don't know if this is a good sign for the future, but it's at least in interesting backdrop to the surprise success the big league club is having this year, too.