Results tagged ‘ George Springer ’
Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow for the first time Friday said the outfielder George Springer would stay at Triple-A Oklahoma City for the rest of its season, which could include a trip to the playoffs. Whether Springer gets called to Houston afterwards remains to be seen, but don’t expect him in an Astros uniform anytime soon.
Oklahoma City finishes its regular season Sept. 2, but appears headed for the playoffs.
“The most important thing I want everybody to focus on is he’s having a great year, he’s a guy that unless something changes is going to be in our outfield next year,” Luhnow said. “All this discussion about what day is he coming up is really not that relevant right now. What’s relevant is a he’s a guy we’re excited about, he’s having a tremendous year, we’re going to let him finish his year at Oklahoma City and make a determination after that as far as how much time’s left and whether or not is makes sense to bring him up.
“I see him as a guy who’s going to come to Spring Training next year competing for our every day center fielder job, and I see him as a big part of our team next year. That’s really the message I want our fans to focus on, not worry too much about the date he comes up. There’s a lot of factors that go into it, and we’ll make the best decision for the organization.”
Springer, 23, has split time between Double-A Corpus Christi and Oklahoma City, hitting a combined .303 with a Minor League-leading 33 homers and 98 RBIs with 38 stolen bases entering play Friday. He’s the first player in the Minors to hit 30 home runs and steal at least 30 bases since former Oakland Athletics farmhand Grant Desme in 2009.
“As a general manger, when the fans are asking when your players are coming up because they want to see them in the big leagues, that’s a testament to our scouts and player development people and Springer himself for doing what he’s done this year,” Luhnow said.
Outfielder George Springer, one of the Astros’ most promising prospects, joined teammate and right-handed pitcher Jake Buchanan in getting promoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City on Sunday. They will join the RedHawks after participating in the Texas League All-Star Game Tuesday at Northwest Arkansas.
Springer said he would fly to Oklahoma City on Thursday, where he will join top prospect Jonathan Singleton in the middle of the RedHawks lineup.
“I’m excited about it,” he said. “It’s another opportunity and another chapter and I’m looking forward to it.”
Springer was leading the run producer in the Texas League in the first half of the season, hitting .297 with 19 home runs and 55 RBIs. At the time of his promotion, he ranked among league leaders in hitting (sixth), home runs (tied for first), runs batted in (tied for second), stolen bases (23, tied second), hits (81, tied for fourth), doubles (20, fifth) and runs scored (56, first).
Springer fell one long ball short of becoming the second Hook to hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases in a season. Drew Sutton hit 20 home runs and stole 20 bases in 2008.
“I’ve just got to continue with the same thing, keep hitting the ball hard and string together good, quality at-bats and results will happen,” Springer said. “Don’t press and go out and play.”
Buchanan helped anchor a pitching staff that carried the Hooks for much of the first half, going 7-2 with a 2.09 ERA in 18 games, 13 of them starts. He earned Astros Minor League Pitcher of the Month in May after he did not allow an earned run and posted a 4-0 record. Buchanan led the Texas League in WHIP (0.93), ranked fourth in batting average against (.226) and fifth in innings pitched (82.0).
In 2012, the 23-year-old North Carolina State product went 5-6 with a 5.00 earned run average in 19 starts before a move to the bullpen. Houston drafted Buchanan in the eighth round of the 2010 draft. He earned the Astros Minor League Pitcher of the Year award in 2011 after he went 5-10 with a 3.91 ERA for Class A Lancaster.
Corresponding moves have yet to be announced.
The Astros made their first roster cuts of the spring Sunday morning, reassigning second baseman Delino DeShields Jr., outfielder Jake Goebbert, outfielder Marc Krauss, center fielder George Springer and catcher Chris Wallace to Minor League camp and optioning left-hander Rudy Owens and right-hander Sam Demel to Minor League camp.
The cuts leave the Astros with 54 players in camp.
“The important thing for players like DeShields and Springer, who are a part of our future, was to come up here and make a good impression with a new staff and both of them absolutely did that,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “Goebbert has been a part of our Minor League system for a while and made a good impression, and Krauss had some big hits for us.
“The message to all those guys basically is you accomplished what your goal was this spring, you came up here and made a good impression on the staff. Krauss is a little bit closer. He’s a guy you could see having some time in Houston this year, and it’s nice when the staff has positive feelings about them so when we have a discussion, if there’s an opening later in the summer, they’ll be inclined to want him to come up.
“For all those guys, they did exactly what we wanted them to do.”
Minor League games begin on Thursday, and the Astros are expected to make another round of cuts later in the week, likely Wednesday. Players who were added to the 40-man roster for the first time this year can’t be cut from camp until Wednesday.
“It makes sense for them to go down there and get regular playing time rather than struggling to get at-bats up here,” Luhnow said. “As we get deeper and deeper into spring, the pitchers are going to be extended, but we want to see the position players be out there longer than two or three at-bats. It’s just a matter of allocating that resource of playing time.”
Luhnow said it hasn’t yet been determined at which level of the Minor Leagues the players cut on Sunday will begin the season. DeShields, the team’s first-round pick in 2010, was Houston’s Minor League Player of the Year after stealing a combined 101 bases last year. Springer, the team’s top Draft pick in 2011, put up big numbers at Class A Lancaster last year.
“Obviously, the more impressions they made here the better chance they have of starting at a higher level,” Luhnow said. “Realistically, given that Springer got a taste of Double-A last year and DeShields got a taste of high A, we don’t want to be too unrealistic about what the right level is for their development.”
Astros manager Bo Porter arranged for prospect George Springer to meet with Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter on Monday in Lakeland, Fla. Porter has said several times this spring that Springer’s game — speed, power, high energy –is reminiscent of Hunter, a former All-Star and Gold Glover, and he thought it would be a good idea for Springer to latch onto him as a possible mentor.
“I told George, ‘When you are a young Major League player, you want to kind of find someone that possesses the same skill set you possess, has played a high level and you want pick that person’s brain,’” Porter said. “That’s why I put him in touch with Torii Hunter. They’re going to exchange numbers, and he’s a great mentor for George to latch onto that would really help him as he progresses in his Major League career.”
Springer grew up in Connecticut and actually met Hunter while he was playing at Double-A New Britain in the Twins organization in 1997-98.
“I was telling my dad that he played hard and I liked the way he played,” Springer said. “He always dove or hit the wall when he had to. He’s always been the guy who I look up to ever since.
“It’s going to be a great honor to see him play again in person. I see the highlights of him all the time and he’s obviously a fantastic player. He plays the game the right way. Just to get the opportunity to be on the same field as him, Miguel Cabrera and Prince [Fielder], that’s a great organization.”
Springer said being compared to Hunter is an honor.
“It’s something special to me as a kid, especially as a player, for Bo to compare you to anybody,” he said. “I’m obviously extremely thankful what Bo’s done for me. He’s given me an opportunity, and I’m going to go out and play and have fun.”
What happened: The Astros bashed out 18 hits, including a pair of home runs by George Springer in his first start of the spring, to beat the Blue Jays, 10-1, on Wednesday afternoon in Dunedin (boxscore).
What we learned: RHP Alex White will be a huge factor in the race for the rotation. White, acquired in last December’s trade that sent Wilton Lopez to the Rockies, threw two scoreless innings in his spring debut against a tough Blue Jays lineup, but his entire body of work this spring has opened some eyes.
“I put in a lot of time this offseason and made a lot of changes throughout my delivery to be more consistent,” White said. “I think now I’m just kind of seeing that I’ve put in the work and hopefully good things will happen. I have to make sure I throw a lot of strikes, and that’s the key.”
What we learned II: CF George Springer could be ready for prime time. Springer, who barely got his feet wet last year at Double-A, made his first spring start and clubbed a pair of impressive homers, a three-run shot in the fourth and a two-run shot in the fifth.
“It felt good,” he said. “I was trying to get my timing back and just hitting the ball hard. I honestly say the key to those at-bats were the guys who were on base ahead of me. [Matt] Dominguez and [Carlos] Corporan had some great at-bats and was able to get me into a fastball-hitting count.”
What we learned III: RHP Jarred Cosart is looking forward to getting a start. Cosart, a starter, has pitched twice in relief, throwing two scoreless innings Wednesday. He’s been piggybacking other starters, but should get a turn to start a game the next time through the rotation.
“It’s a little different as far as warming up and stuff,” he said. “I like to go out there pretty early before a game and get going. I’m in big league camp for the first time so I’ll go with my role and whatever they want me to do, I’ll do. I’ve adjusted well to it. We’ll see what happens from here, but hopefully I can get back in the starting routine.”
What else: Ten of the Astros’ 18 hits were for extra bases – eight doubles and two homers. … The Astros have 68 hits in six games. … C Carlos Corporan went 2-for-2 with two doubles and continues to draw praise from the pitchers. He’s hitting .667 early in the spring. … 1B Nate Freiman had a line drive double off center field wall, going 1-for-3 to raise his average to .385. … OF J.D. Martinez, starting in right field, had a pair of hits. … 3B Matt Dominguez went 2-for-2 with two runs scored.
What went wrong: Well, not much. Tyler Greene let a ball get past him at shortstop in the second, but the Astros wound up getting an out on the play to end the inning. … J.P. Arencibia homered off LHP Wesley Wright, who gave up three hits in one inning.
What they said: “Outstanding. He really laid into those two balls with really good swings and got the head out. I thought the second one was better than the first one. It was a good day all around. We swung the bat well and the pitching was outstanding.” – manager Bo Porter on Springer.
What’s next: RHP Lucas Harrell will become the first Astros starter to take the mound for the second time when he gets the ball for Thursday’s 12:05 p.m. CT game against the Yankees in Kissimmee. Harrell, the Astros’ Pitcher of the Year last season, went two innings and allowed four hits and two runs on Saturday against the Phillies in Clearwater in his first spring start. The game will be televised on CSN Houston with Alan Ashby making his return to the Houston airwaves.
Who’s injured: RHP Hector Ambriz (sprained ankle) is scheduled to face live pitching soon. . … C Max Stassi (oblique) was scheduled to get an MRI on Philadelphia on Wednesday for a possible sports hernia.
Links of the day: Check out the Astros notebook for Delino DeShields Jr. talking about getting to hit together in the lineup, prospect Telvin Nash on how/why he lost 30 pounds and the plan for J.D. Martinez to get time in right field.
And don’t miss the feature story on Wesley Wright, who has gone from Rule 5 pick to elder statesman in five years:
The day in photos
With George Springer heading to Double-A Corpus Christi and Delino DeShields Jr. on his way to high Class A Lancaster, the Astros have begun to shuffle some prospects for the final few weeks of the Minor League season. Here’s who’s on the move:
LHP Kenny Long from Tri-City to Lancaster
OF Andrew Aplin from Tri-City to Lancaster
2B Delino DeShields Jr. from Lexington to Lancaster
OF Enrique Hernandez from Lancaster to Corpus Christi
SS Jose Martinez from Corpus Christi to Oklahoma City
SS Chan Moon from Lancaster to Lexington
SS Yoel Silfa from Dominican Summer League to Gulf Coast League
C Jobduan Morales from Tri-City to Lexington
C Cristian Moronta from Lexington to Tri-City
RF Emilio King from Lexington to Tri-City
IF Matt Downs from Astros to Oklahoma City
OF J.D. Martinez from Astros to Oklahoma City
Astros first-round draft pick George Springer, who signed with the club late Monday for a $2.525 million bonus, will meet the Houston media as a group for the first time Friday when he has a press conference at Minute Maid Park before taking batting practice on the field.
This will be Springer’s second visit to Houston – the first coming earlier this month when he was in town for a few hours to undergo his physical. Prior to meeting with the media as a whole, Springer was gracious enough to grant his third interview with MLB.com since being drafted.
“I’m extremely excited to get going and move forward and 100 percent relieved that’s it’s done,” Springer said of the signing. “I can just strictly focus on playing baseball.”
Springer, 22, was drafted with the No. 11 overall pick out of the University of Connecticut, where he hit .343 with 12 homers, 77 RBIs, 31 stolen bases and a .450 on-base percentage during his junior season. The center fielder will begin his career at Tri-City, but not before spending a few days at the Astros’ Spring Training facility in Kissimmee, Fla.
“I’m just looking forward to getting in and getting started and to compete for a job,” he said.
Considering his age, his tools and the Astros’ track record of moving players quickly through the system, it’s not a stretch to think Springer could be getting his feet wet at the Major League level late next year. The Astros’ center field position has opened up substantially since the team traded Michael Bourn last month.
Instead of competing with a two-time Gold Glove winner and an All-Star, he’ll eventually be in the mix with Jason Bourgeois, Jordan Schafer, Jay Austin and Austin Wates. Springer isn’t putting any kind of timetable on his path to the Majors, but he did make one promise.
“I’m a player that will play as hard as I can possibly play day in and day out,” he said. “I like to have fun, but I will play hard and do whatever I have to do to win.”
Springer instantly becomes one of the top Minor League prospects in an Astros’ Minor League system that has been infused with young talent in the last month with the trades of Jeff Keppinger, Hunter Pence and Bourn. With talent like Springer, Jared Cosart and Jonathan Singleton leading the way, the next crop of young talent could be hitting Houston soon.
“Hopefully down the road some of these young players will hopefully be in their primes and propel the Astros to where they want to be, which is on top of the division and competitive for the foreseeable future,” Springer said.
Before Springer hung up the phone, I jokingly reminded him he wouldn’t need a jacket for his trip to Houston, which has seen 100-degree-plus temperatures for 19 consecutive days.
“That’s unbelievable,” he said.
Thank goodness for the roof.
The Astros got their men late Monday night, signing first-round pick George Springer and third-round pick Jack Armstrong, announcing the deals just after the 11:01 p.m. CT deadline. Springer got a $2,525,000 bonus, and Armstrong signed for $750,000, according a person with knowledge of the situation.
“This was a contentious day, but at the end of it we got the two prime guys we set out to get over the last couple of months,” Astros assistant general manager/director of scouting Bobby Heck said. “At the end of the day, we knew both kids wanted to play.”
Springer, 22, was drafted with the No. 11 overall pick out of the University of Connecticut, where he hit .343 with 12 homers, 77 RBIs, 31 stolen bases and a .450 on-base percentage during his junior season. He will likely begin his career at Tri-City.
“He stayed in shape,” Astros general manager Ed Wade said. “We had a chance when he came in for his physical the other day to see him firsthand, and he’s in pretty good shape. I’m sure he’s going to be able to bounce back and do whatever we ask.”
Armstrong, 21, appeared in 13 games for Vanderbilt, going 9-1 with a 2.65 ERA while striking out 17 batters in 17 innings. The 6-foot-7 right-hander spent his summer pitching in the Cape Cod League to re-establish his value after injuries slowed him down in college this spring. He’s the son of former Major League pitcher Jack Armstrong Sr.
“It was a full family decision, just talking with my dad and mother and my brother and sister,” Armstrong told MLB.com via phone. “It was the right time, the right fit and the right people. I’m excited to get my professional career going and I think it’s with the right organization.”
The Astros signed 35 of their top 50 picks this season, including their top 13 selections.
A week away from the deadline for team’s to sign players selected in June’s First-Year Player Draft, Astros third-round pick Jack Armstrong – a 6-foot-7 pitcher from Vanderbilt – isn’t concerning himself with the approaching deadline.
“I’m not too anxious,” he said. “My dad [former Major League pitcher Jack Armstrong] has done a good job making sure I’m focused on what matters, and that’s playing baseball and pitching. Whatever happens, happens. I have two good options next year, either going back to school or signing with the Astros.”
Armstrong, who has one year of eligibility remaining at Vanderbilt, has been pitching in the Cape Cod League this summer to re-establish his value. He experienced some tightness in his elbow late last month and has been moved to the bullpen, but Armstrong said Monday he’s healthy and hoping to make a start in the Cape Code playoffs.
“I’m feeling really good,” he said. “I threw an inning a couple of days ago and it felt good. [The injury] was just a little too much too soon out of my college season and being a relief guy and then jumping into 70, 80 pitches right away. It’s nothing major.”
Astros assistant general manager/director of scouting Bobby Heck expects Armstrong to come to Houston for a physical as soon as his Yarmouth-Dennis team is eliminated, which could happen later this week. First-round pick George Springer, who’s also unsigned, passed a physical last week in Houston.
“We’ve gotten signs that [Armstrong] wants to start his professional career, and we plan to be aggressive with him,” Heck said. “Obviously, it’s a lifetime between now and Monday night. It’s something we think is going to go down to the end, not because we’re far apart in negotiations, just because we’re working with him still playing and the plan is to get him here in front of [team medical director] Dr. [David] Lintner at some point. The physical part is going to be imperative to the negotiating process.”
Astros first-round pick George Springer III made his first visit to Houston on Friday afternoon, but it wasn’t to sign a contract. Springer took and passed a team physical, getting the procedure out of the way in advance of the Aug. 15 signing deadline.
Springer briefly visited Minute Maid Park before hopping a plane back to his home in Connecticut.
“It’s an incredible ballpark,” Springer told MLB.com. “The atmosphere and the whole feel of the stadium was something special to me. [Houston] is an incredible place. I didn’t know it was as big as it was.”
Springer, 21, was drafted with the No. 11 overall pick out of the University of Connecticut, where he hit .343 with 12 homers and 77 RBIs with 31 stolen bases and a .450 on-base percentage during his junior season. He briefly met Astros manager Brad Mills on Friday.
“He seemed like a great guy,” Springer said. “He’s a baseball guy and was fun to be around for a while. I was only there a short time. It was basically in and out.”
Astros general manager Ed Wade wanted to get the physical done in case Springer signs near the deadline.
“If this thing drifts to the Aug. 15 deadline, we don’t have to set our hair on fire at that point to try to get an agreement in place,” Wade said. “He passed it with flying colors. It was an in-and-out deal. [Team medical director] Dr. [David] Lintner and the people at Methodist Hospital paved the way for him. The hard part is done. Now the easy part comes, getting him signed.”
Wade said he expects negotiations to continue until the deadline. The Astros are hoping to sign Springer, third-round pick Jack Armstrong, who’s currently pitching in the Cape Cod League, and 13th-round pick Horace Stubblefield, a right-handed pitcher from Lufkin, Texas.