Fresno Grizzlies win PCL Championship

Appel tallies 10 K's, Kemp earns MVP honors; Caps off memorable 2015 season for Astros Minor League system

The Astros Triple A affiliate Fresno Grizzlies defeated the Round Rock Express today, 7-3, to capture the Pacific Coast league championship. Fresno's decisive win came at home in Game 5 of the best-of-five series.

Right-handed pitcher Mark Appel tallied 10 strikeouts en route to earning the victory (5.2 IP, 3 ER, 2 BB, 10 SO). Second baseman Tony Kemp went 3-for-4 with two RBI, earning series MVP honors. For Grizzlies manager Tony DeFrancesco, this marked his fourth PCL championship (previous three came with Sacramento). The championship was also the first in franchise history for Fresno, who became an Astros affiliate following the 2014 season.

As a result of winning the PCL title, Fresno will face the Columbus Clippers of the International League on Tuesday in a one-game playoff for the Triple A championship.


Fresno's win was the second championship by an Astros Minor League affiliate in what has been an outstanding year for the system as a whole. A franchise-record seven clubs qualified for the postseason in 2015. Earlier this month, Greeneville captured the Appalachian League title. The Astros organization 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.

In addition to Fresno and Greeneville, the other clubs that made it to the postseason in 2015 were: Double A Corpus Christi, Class A Advanced Lancaster, Class A Quad Cities, Class A Short Season Tri-City ValleyCats and one of the two Dominican Summer League clubs.


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.


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.