Astros’ Minor League Players of the Month
After becoming the first organization since Pittsburgh in 2003 to have six Minor League teams make the playoffs, the Astros’ player development department also announced August’s Minor League Pitchers and Players of the Month at their eight Minor League affiliates. These awards are chosen every month by the field staff of each team.
At Triple-A Oklahoma City, LHP Eric Berger earned Pitcher of the Month honors after going 3-0 with a 1.59 ERA, 22 strikeouts and a .122 opponent’s batting average in 11 games (one start) in August. The 27-year-old lefty was acquired by the Astros from the Indians in exchange for C Chris Wallace on April 14. IF Brandon Laird was named OKC’s Player of the Month after hitting .306 with six doubles, four homers, 24 RBIs and a .366 on-base percentage in 29 August games. Laird’s 33 doubles ranked tied for fourth in the PCL this year.
At Double-A Corpus Christi, RHP Jonas Dufek was named Pitcher of the Month while IF Erik Castro was named the Hooks Player of the Month. Dufek led the Texas League with six wins in the month of August, posting a 6-0 record with a 0.61 ERA, three saves, 14 strikeouts and just one walk in 11 games. A ninth-round pick, he posted a combined 3.19 ERA this year between Lancaster (36 games) and Corpus Christi (14 games) in his first season in a relief role. Castro hit .340 with eight doubles, four homers, 17 RBIs and a .980 OPS in 27 games in August. He finished third in the Texas League with an .848 OPS.
At Class A Lancaster, Pitcher of the Month was LHP Colton Cain, as the Waxahachie, Texas, native went 3-0 with a 3.24 ERA and 22 strikeouts in five August starts. Cain was acquired from the Pirates in the Wandy Rodriguez trade in July of 2012. IF Delino DeShields was named the club’s Player of the Month after hitting .349 with nine doubles, 15 stolen bases and a .907 OPS in 25 games in August. DeShields finished third in the California League in hitting (.313) and runs scored (100), and second in OBP (.405), stolen bases (51) and triples (14).
At Class A Quad Cities, LHP Brian Holmes received Pitcher of the Month honors while IF Rio Ruiz took home Player of the Month honors for the second consecutive month. Holmes went 2-0 and allowed just two earned runs in 23 2/3 innings with 21 strikeouts across four starts in August. Ruiz hit .298 with five homers, 19 RBIs and a .558 slugging percentage in 28 games in August. He was one of the Midwest League’s premier hitters over the second half of the season, as he posted a .291 average with 20 doubles, eight homers and an .876 OPS from July through the end of the season.
At short-season Tri-City, RHP Gonzalo Sanudo earned Pitcher of the Month award after not allowing a run in 13 innings in August, striking out 20 with just one walk. Sanudo was acquired by the Astros from the Twins in exchange for OF Mike Kvasnicka on March 25, and walked just four batters while striking out 51 in 38 2/3 combined innings between Corpus Christi, Tri-City and Greeneville this season. IF Conrad Gregor hit .324 with 17 RBIs and a .372 on-base percentage in 27 games in August en route to getting named the club’s Player of the Month. Gregor was taken by the Astros in the fourth round of the 2013 draft out of Vanderbilt.
At rookie-league Greeneville, RHP Raul Rivera and IF Chase McDonald were named the Pitcher and Player of the Month, respectively. Rivera didn’t allow an earned run and struck out 11 strikeouts and walked one 11 2/3 innings in August, while McDonald hit .265 with four doubles, a triple, two homers and 17 RBIs in 24 games during the month.
At Gulf Coast League Astros, RHP Joe Musgrove was named the Pitcher of the Month after putting up a 1.96 ERA with 17 strikeouts in six outings in August. IF Yonathan Mejia took home Player of the Month honors for the second straight month, as he hit at a .292 clip with 11 doubles and 14 RBIs in 29 August games. Mejia finished fifth in the GCL with a .324 batting average and led the league in doubles (19) and total bases (97).
For the Dominican Summer League Astros, RHP Angel Heredia was named the Pitcher of the Month and OF Brauly Mejia was named the Player of the Month. Heredia saved six games and gave up one earned run in 10 1/3 innings in August (0.87 ERA). He finished tied for third in the DSL with 13 saves. Mejia hit .297 with a .375 OBP in 18 games during the month.