So far we have looked at the DSL Astros season, the GCL Astros season, the Greeneville Astros season and the Lexington Legends season. Now let's take a look at the AAA Oklahoma City affiliate. Here's a quick look at how the 2011 and 2012 teams compare.
2011 Wins-Losses/Win Percentage: 68-75/.476
2012 Wins-Losses/Win Percentage: 78-65/.545
2011 Runs Scored - Runs Allowed = Run Differential: 619 - 717 = (98)
2012 Runs Scored - Runs Allowed = Run Differential: 764 - 758 = 6
2011 Team ERA & WHIP: 4.63 & 1.516
2012 Team ERA & WHIP: 4.91 & 1.508
2011 Team Batting Line: .260/.341/.381
2012 Team Batting Line: .282/.349/.434
It's hard to truly judge a AAA affiliate because those teams are generally a mix of lifetime minor leaguers who may get an occasional MLB callup to fill a hole, struggling major leaguers who have been sent down to work on things and a few true prospects. With that said, it's difficult to read too much into the results and season comparisons at this level.
So which players had standout seasons in Oklahoma City?
There were several position players whose 2012 seasons resulted in a call-up to the Astros, such as OF Brandon Barnes (.321/.381/.514 39-2B 1-3B 12HR between Corpus Christi and Oklahoma City), 3B Matt Dominguez (.298/.347/.398), IF Scott Moore (.318/.410/.555 26-2B 1-3B 10HR), OF Fernando Martinez (.314/.367/.507 23-2B 2-3B 13HR) and C Carlos Corporan (.286/.349/.447 15-2B 6HR).
But probably the most noteworthy of those getting call-ups was OF Jimmy Paredes. In 124 games, the 23-year old hit .318/.348/.477 with 28 doubles, seven triples, 13 home runs and 37 stolen bases (tied for second in the league). He was third in the league in hits with 161 and fifth in runs scored with 92.
Of the position players left behind, the best seasons belonged to SS Angel Sanchez (.320/.390/.407 13-2B 1-3B 5HR), OF Brad Snyder (.304/.375/.550 23-2B 3-3B 20HR) and the ever dependable albeit not flashy OF J.B. Shuck (.298/.374/.352 with 11-2B 3-3B). Sanchez ranked in the top 20 in the league in batting average and on-base percentage. Snyder was seventh in slugging, eighth in OPS and was tied for 11th in home runs.
The 34-year old journeyman IF Mike Hessman deserves his own paragraph. Although he only hit .231 with a .301 OBP, he was 13th in the league with a .515 slugging percentage, first in home runs with 35 (and third in strikeouts with 136), and was tied for 11th in the league in RBI.
Several relief pitchers shuttled back and forth from Oklahoma City to Houston and back again, such as Fernando Abad (now starting), Xavier Cedeno and Enerio del Rosario. But it was RHP Mickey Storey that opened some eyes with his performance at Oklahoma City and merited an August 3rd call-up. In 38 appearances, including two spot starts, Storey was 7-4 with a 3.05 ERA and a 1.169 WHIP. Another standout was RHP Jose Valdez who ranked third in the league in saves with 21. His season numbers do not impress at first glance, but if you throw out his June numbers when he was nursing an injury that would eventually land him on the DL, his ERA drops to 2.84 with a 1.237 WHIP for the remainder of the season.
LHP Dallas Keuchel (6-4 in 16 starts, 3.90 ERA, 1.213 WHIP) had a good season with OKC before his call-up and RHP Edgar Gonzalez (1-0 in 2 starts, 0.69 ERA, 0.615 WHIP) barely saw the inside of the clubhouse at OKC before his call-up.
Of the pitchers left behind, three in particular made that crucial step from AA to AAA during the season and showed good progress in their development. LHP Brett Oberholtzer (10-10 in 38 starts, 4.37 ERA, 1.356 WHIP combined) actually got stronger as the season progressed and ended the season at Oklahoma City with a 2.02 ERA and a 1.121 WHIP over his final five starts. RHP Jarred Cosart only made six appearances (five starts) with Oklahoma City, but had a very impressive 2.60 ERA and 1.410 WHIP. His combined numbers for the season were 6-7 with a 3.30 ERA and a 1.395 WHIP. RHP Jose Cisnero was 4-1 at Oklahoma City and ended the season with a 3.70 ERA and 1.409 WHIP (combined), and a 4.54 ERA and 1.764 WHIP at Oklahoma City -- not the most impressive of numbers but a decent first step.
I will continue with my look at the final three teams' seasons when they finish post-season play. I hope I have to wait a good long while!