Memorable 2015 season for Astros farm system continues

Highlighted by a franchise-record seven playoff teams and several individual honors

 

HOUSTON, TX - The 2015 season has been an outstanding one for the Astros minor league system, highlighted by a franchise-record seven teams advancing to the postseason. The Triple A Fresno Grizzlies, Double A Corpus Christi Hooks, Class A Advanced Lancaster JetHawks, Class A Quad Cities River Bandits and Class A Short Season Tri-City ValleyCats are still in playoff contention, while the Rookie Level Greeneville Astros were crowned Appalachian League Champions on Tuesday.

 

 

PLAYOFF UPDATE
The Appalachian League Championship title for Greeneville marked their second in franchise history, and their first since the club's inaugural season in 2004. After dropping the first game of the three-game series vs. Princeton, the Astros rallied for two consecutive wins to capture the title. OF Kyle Tucker, the fifth overall selection in the 2015 draft, hit .375 (9x24) with three home runs and six RBI during the postseason, including a crucial three-run homer in Game 3 of the Appalachian League Championship Series.

Last night, Fresno took Game 1 of the Pacific Coast League Pacific Conference Finals, defeating El Paso by a score of 9-1 thanks to strong performances from RHP Dan Straily (1ER/6IP) and RF Alex Presley (4x5, 2 2B). The best-of-five game series continues tonight in Fresno at 9:05 p.m. CT. This marks Fresno's second postseason appearance in franchise history, with the other appearance being the club's inaugural season in 1998.

Corpus Christi took a 1-0 lead in the Texas League South Division Series with a 9-2 win over Midland last night. Texas League Midseason and Postseason All-Star RHP Chris Devenski struck out nine batters over 6.0 innings of one-run ball, while C Roberto Pena went 2x2 with a home run and five total RBI. The Hooks and RockHounds will continue the five-game series tonight in Corpus Christi with Game 2 starting at 7:05 p.m. CT.

The Lancaster JetHawks also notched a 1-0 lead in their playoff series last night, defeating High Desert, 9-7, in Game 1 of the California League South Division Mini-Series. 3B J.D. Davis (2x4) launched a go-ahead, two-run homer in the seventh inning, while the Astros top selection in the 2015 draft, SS Alex Bregman, also went 2x4 with two RBI. Game 2 of the best-of-three game series will take place tonight at 9:05 p.m. CT.

Quad Cities dropped the first game of their best-of-three game series with Cedar Rapids, 5-2. Game 2 of the Midwest League Western Division Semifinal will take place tonight at 7:00 p.m. CT.

The Tri-City ValleyCats fell to Staten Island, 3-2, in Game 1 of the New York-Penn League Semi-Final series last night. The club will continue the best-of-three game series tonight at 6:00 p.m. CT.

The Dominican Summer League Astros Blue club was eliminated from the playoffs on Aug. 28, falling to the DSL Rangers1, 1-2, in their best-of-three game series. At 43-29, the DSL Astros Blue became the first DSL Astros team to capture a division title and postseason appearance since at least 2005 (the year stats started being recorded in the DSL).


REGULAR SEASON NOTES
Houston posted the best combined overall minor league record among all MLB organizations during the regular season with a 502-405 (.553) mark, becoming the first organization in the last 10 years to record over 500 minor league wins in a single season.

The Fresno Grizzlies set a franchise record with 84 regular season wins, leading the entire Triple A level in runs scored (804) and on-base percentage (.357). 

Corpus Christi led all of minor league baseball with 89 wins, becoming the second Texas League team in the last 20 years to reach 89 wins in a single season (also San Antonio, 2011, 94-46). 

The Lancaster JetHawks made the postseason for the fourth consecutive season after leading all of minor league baseball in runs scored (888), home runs (174), batting average (.291) and OPS (.850). 

Quad Cities led all of minor league baseball in winning percentage (88-50, .638) for the first time in club history, and their 88-50 record was their second-best all-time, behind the 1992 River Bandits and their 91-46 record.

Tri-City won their fourth consecutive Stedler Division title.

 

HOME RUN KING
1B A.J. Reed led all of minor league baseball in home runs (34), RBI (127) and OPS (1.044) in what was his first full-season in professional baseball. Selected by Houston in the second round of the 2014 draft, Reed won the Golden Spikes Award and Dick Howser Award, and was named the SEC Player of the Year, Baseball America College Player of the Year and Collegiate Baseball's National Player of the Year following his historic season at the University of Kentucky in 2014. 

Reed was a finalist for USA Today's 2015 Minor League Player of the Year award, and was named the 2015 California League Most Valuable Player.

 

DUFFY MVP
IF Matt Duffy was named the Pacific Coast League Most Valuable Player after leading the PCL in RBI (104) and runs scored (94), while batting .294 (144x490) with 29 doubles, two triples and 20 homers with an .850 OPS. A 20th-round selection by Houston in the 2011 draft, Duffy has been an All-Star in each of his five seasons in the Astros minor league system. He became the fourth Astros minor leaguer to win the PCL MVP award, and the first since right-handed pitcher Donne Wall captured the honor as a member of the Tucson Toros in 1995.

 

BATTING TITLES
Two Astros minor leaguers won batting titles in their respective leagues, as OF Jon Kemmer hit .327 (119x364) to lead the Double A Texas League, and IF Bobby Wernes batted .346 (65x188) en route to the Class A Short Season New York-Penn League batting title.

Kemmer, 24, was selected by the Astros in the 21st round of the 2013 draft out of Brewton-Parker College in Georgia. Kemmer also led the Texas League in OPS (.988) while finishing tied for second in home runs (18) and second in on-base percentage (.414). Wernes, 21, was taken by the Astros in the 30th round of this year's draft from the University of Arkansas.


MANAGERS OF THE YEAR
Corpus Christi manager Rodney Linares (Texas League) and Quad Cities skipper Josh Bonifay (Midwest League) were both named Manager of the Year for their respective leagues. 

It marked the second Manager of the Year award for Linares, as he received California League Manager of the Year honors in 2012 after guiding Class A Advanced Lancaster to a championship title. 

For Bonifay, it was also his second career Manager of the Year award. In 2013, he received Appalachian League Manager of the Year honors when he led the Greeneville Astros to their second-best record in club history (38-30) and an appearance in the league championship series.

 

-ASTROS-