Brown works 5 scoreless for Triple-A Sugar Land

June 25th, 2022

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Brown bounces back with scoreless outing (June 24)
Astros fans paying close attention to the organization's Triple-A affiliate got a glimpse at a pitcher making his way back to the Majors and one on his way up.

Following Jake Odorizzi's rehab outing, Astros top prospect Hunter Brown essentially worked a start of his own, striking out five over five scoreless innings in Sugar Land's 8-4 win over Tacoma.

MLB's No. 92 prospect lowered his ERA to 2.66, an impressive mark considering the five runs in four innings he allowed in his previous start. But altogether, Brown's season has been superb; in addition to a .193 opponent's batting average, he's striking out 12.5 batters per nine innings. -- Jacob Resnick

Whitley continues road back with start for Fayetteville (June 22)
In his first regular season non-complex start since 2019, Forrest Whitley took the hill for Fayetteville and tossed two scoreless frames in the Woodpeckers' 4-2 loss to Augusta at SEGRA Stadium.

The fourth-ranked Astros prospect worked around a hit without issuing a walk and whiffed two. He exited after tossing 21 of his 29 pitches for strikes.

Whitley worked his way to Triple-A Round Rock at the end of the 2019 season and had a good showing at Spring Training in 2020, but the pandemic shutdown canceled the 2020 season. The 24-year-old underwent Tommy John surgery last year and saw his first action of this year in Rookie ball last week. -- Rob Terranova

Berryhill walks, extends on-base streak to 51 (June 21)
The streak lives on ... barely.

No. 25 Astros prospect Luke Berryhill walked in the first inning of Double-A Corpus Christi's 10-9 loss to Amarillo, extending his on-base streak to 51 games, the longest in the Majors or Minors this season. After his walk, the catcher went 0-for-3, recording an RBI on a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning.

Just 22 other players have reached 50 games since 2005, when Minor League game logs become available. Berryhill still has a few weeks to go to catch all-time leader Andrew Velazquez at 74 (2014). -- Jacob Resnick

Whitley getting reps in FCL
Astros No. 4 prospect Forrest Whitley is back. The 2016 first-round pick pitched in his first regular-season game since 2019, striking out two batters and allowing three runs in his Florida Complex League start.

Whitley, who entered 2019 as the top-ranked pitching prospect in baseball, was sidelined with right shoulder inflammation and command issues in 2019, the pandemic shutdown and elbow soreness in 2020 and Tommy John surgery in 2021.

Valdez clubs three-homer game for Space Cowboys (June 15)
Enmanuel Valdez
has been with Triple-A Sugar Land for exactly one week, but he's already established a reputation in his new clubhouse -- and a legendary one at that.

After notching a multihomer game in his debut, the Astros infield prospect clubbed three home runs for the first time in his career to power the Space Cowboys to a 10-4 victory over Round Rock at Dell Diamond on Wednesday.

"He is such a confident kid and a mature kid, he knows what he's capable of and his approach is so advanced for his age. Especially at this level," Space Cowboys hitting coach Rafael Pena said. "But when he got up here and hit two home runs in his first two Triple-A at-bats, the guys started joking around and calling him Enmanuel Ruth. Like, oh wow, look, we got Enmanuel Ruth. And then after his performance today, our group chat just kept going with that nickname.

"He's the real deal and what he's doing right now is just making him fit in really good here."

Valdez was only the third player in Sugar Land franchise history to record the milestone -- Jake Meyers and Jeremy Peña were the other two. Full story »

No. 11 prospect delivers 2-homer, 9-RBI night (June 14)
Cristian Gonzalez
had never driven in more than four runs in a game in his pro career, and that four-RBI effort came on June 12, 2019, in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League.

The 11th-ranked Astros prospect more than doubled that after a four-hit, nine-RBI performance -- with three runs scored -- to lead the charge in High-A Asheville's 19-7 romp over Rome at McCormick Field.

It was a career night for Gonzalez, whose nine RBIs not only set his highwater mark, but his four hits also set a personal best. The 20-year-old went yard twice for the first time in his career, doubled and singled.

Outfield prospect Luis Guerrero also turned in a multihomer game for Asheville, clubbing two-run shots in the ninth while finishing with three hits and four RBIs. Full story »

Cristian Gonzalez turned in his first pro multihomer game in a four-hit performance.Ken Inness/MiLB.com

Valdez homers twice in Triple-A Sugar Land debut (June 7)
Enmanuel Valdez, who had just been called up from Double-A Corpus Christi, hit two home runs Tuesday in his Triple-A debut after hitting 11 homers through 44 games with Corpus Christi this season. Valdez and Corey Julks are tied for the most home runs in the Astros' system this season, with 13 apiece.

Valdez, who had played mostly third base and second base in his Minor League career, homered in his first Sugar Land at-bat, belting a solo home run to right field in the third inning. He followed with another solo home run in the fifth, both coming off Oklahoma City starter Michael Grove.

At the time of his assignment to Sugar Land, Valdez led the Texas League with a .357 average, was tied for first with a 1.112 OPS, was second with 45 RBIs and tied for fifth with 11 home runs. Last year, he hit a combined .255 (93-for-365) with 26 home runs and 90 RBIs in 98 games with Corpus Christi and High-A Asheville. He led all Astros’ Minor Leaguers with 26 home runs in 2021. -- Brian McTaggart

McDermott, Barber lead way for Asheville (June 8)
The duo of Chayce McDermott and Colin Barber paid off handsomely to lead High-A Asheville to a 6-3 win over host Greenville.

McDermott, the No. 12 Astros prospect, tossed 5 2/3 hitless innings before surrendering a solo homer, the only hit and run he allowed over six frames. The 23-year-old struck out a career-high 10 to improve to 5-1 with a 3.97 ERA in 11 starts for the Tourists. McDermott has held opponents to a .173 average and will carry a 1.07 WHIP and a 70-to-21 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 47 2/3 innings into his next outing.

Barber, Houston's fifth-ranked prospect, went deep for the third consecutive game, giving him four in that span and five this month. The 21-year-old is in the midst of an All-Star worthy campaign, slashing .336/.444/.547 with 13 extra-base hits, seven home runs and 23 RBIs in 38 games. -- Michael Avallones

Barber displays power in first multi-HR game (June 5)
It has already been an impressive month for Colin Barber.

Houston’s No. 5 prospect is slashing .444/.524/1.167 in June. Barber expanded upon his recent impressive stretch going 3-for-4 with his first career multihomer game and three RBIs in High-A Asheville’s 21-6 loss to Hickory.

The 2019 fourth-round pick crushed the ball twice. He drilled a solo shot to center field in the second inning and a two-run shot to right field in the sixth. He also lined a single to center in the third.

The 21-year-old’s two taters brought his home run tally to six, and he has 20 RBIs this season. -- Edwin Perez

Barber, Arrighetti show up big for Tourists (June 2)
Outfielder Colin Barber delivered a couple of big hits in High-A Asheville’s 7-3 win over Hickory.

Houston’s No. 5 prospect struggled to start the season, slashing just .188/.339/.271 in 14 games in April, but bounced back with a .407/.493/.525 line in 18 games in May. His trend upward continued with a double in the second inning and a homer in the fifth, both to center field, finishing his night 2-for-3 with two RBIs.

On the mound, Spencer Arrighetti had one of his best performances of the season. Houston’s No. 28 prospect bounced back after giving up two runs in the first, striking out a career-high 10 over five frames. He threw 54 of his 82 pitches for strikes. -- Edwin Perez

Julks slugs ninth homer in past 15 games (May 29)
Outfielder Corey Julks continued his torrid May when he slugged his ninth homer in his last 15 games in Triple-A Sugar Land’s 17-14 win in El Paso on Sunday night. Julks hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning, which was his team-high 10th of the season and ninth in May, which leads the Pacific Coast League in that span.

Julks, the team’s 26th-ranked prospect by MLB Pipeline, is slashing .337/.387/.756 in 21 games in May after slashing just .188/.242/.259 in 21 games in April. He went 16-for-85 in April and is 29-for-86 in May.

Brown racks up 10 strikeouts in sparkling effort (May 26)
Hunter Brown
allowed five hits, but it was what he didn't allow that was most impressive. Baseball's 100th overall prospect struck out a season-high 10 and did not issue a walk over seven scoreless innings as Triple-A Sugar Land blanked El Paso, 7-0.

Brown, who has been virtually unhittable in May with a 1.21 ERA, completed seven innings for the first time as a professional. The 23-year-old fanned eight in his final four frames, including the last four batters during his 88-pitch outing.

Brown has tossed 11 consecutive scoreless innings and improved his record to 3-3 with a 2.01 ERA and 56 strikeouts in 40 1/3 innings across nine appearances (six starts) for the Space Cowboys. The Wayne State product went 6-5 with a 4.04 ERA and 131 whiffs across 100 1/3 innings across two Minor League levels in 2021. -- Michael Avallone