Interesting group … Schreiber missed most of the season this year due to injury, but looked to be on a fast track before. Sprinkle moved to the bullpen full time the year, and Kouba was hot and cold as a (mostly) tandem starter. Colton Gordon stands out to me as the one to watch, though.
Agree about Gordon. He’s not currently on any of the prospect lists but I think that changes over the next few months as those lists get further updates.
As far as Schreiber, the writeup by the MLB Pipeline folks notes that he missed most of this season due to having back surgery in the spring. I think that’s the first time I’ve seen disclosed the nature of his injury. I’m not sure a college guy who’s been in the system since 2018 and hasn’t gotten past AA is on the fast track to anything.
It’s just 6 games and the AFL is an extreme hitter’s league but Billy’s son is hitting .455/.538/.864 with 5 doubles and 2 triples.
481 footer with a 114 EV for Zach Daniels today.
Article also notes that he missed 2 weeks of AFL play with a right wrist injury. And that he struggles with offspeed pitches (which despite the progress he made at the plate this season does perhaps explain the 31% K rate).
Daniels strikes me as Michael Rosamond 2.0 - oozing with tools, but lacking the ability to make consistent contact. Really interested to see if he can put it all together.
Matt Ruppenthal was named to the AL squad for the Fall Stars game. The former Vandy pitcher has allowed just 1 run on 2 hits in 9.1 innings while whiffing 14. He has walked 5 however which is consistent for a guy with a 4.9 BB/9 over his 5 years in the system.
Surprised Will Wagner didn’t make it. Kid’s been crushing out there in AZ.
Pitched a scoreless inning in the game today.
Wagner is an IFer, right?
If memory serves he’s played all over the infield but I think he’s played 2B the most.
Mostly 3B; some 2B
Nope, BillyD was correct: 63 starts at 2B versus 45 starts at 3B in his 2 years in the system (plus 7 starts at SS and 18 at 1B).
FWIW, all 13 starts in the AFL have been at 3B. But that’s almost certainly the result of Blue Jays prospect Samad Taylor being on the roster and getting most of the starts at 2B for the Saguaros.
btw Wagner was #2 on this week’s BA Hot Sheet…
Few players have announced their presence quite like Wagner has over the Fall League season. Wagner was snubbed for a Fall Stars nod but is among the leaders in several categories as he’s hitting .340/.436/.681 over 13 games. Last week Wagner homered in consecutive days to start the week, including a game winner in the bottom of the eighth on Wednesday to give Surprise the win over Glendale. …he possesses one of the better combinations of feel to hit and strike-zone discipline in the Astros system.
And Colton Gordon was at #10…
Gordon is a pitchability lefthander who worked his magic against Glendale on Thursday afternoon. Gordon struck out eight over five innings of work, allowing just three hits. He allowed a home run to Edouard Julien to lead off the game, but it was heavily aided by high storm winds pushing the lined shot out to left. Gordon sits 89-91 mph with a flatter plane, pairing his fastball with a trio of secondaries. His slider sits low 80s with slight ride and, on average, a foot of horizontal break. His curveball is a mid-70s sweeper with more depth and he flashes feel for a mid-80s changeup. It’s a back-end starter ceiling with some utility as an up-and-down spot starter.
You are correct (of course) – I was going on his early season at Asheville (where he played more 3B than anything else) and the AFL (where he was only playing 3B). I think I had heard/read somewhere that he was more likely to stick at 3B, but he did play mostly at 2B in Sugar Land.
So Will Wagner homered again last night (2-5, 3 RBIs) and is now hitting .346 with an 1.145 OPS which ranks 2nd in the league. And BA posted a stand-alone article today about him talking about his breakout campaign and noting he has posted some of the highest exit velocities in the AFL this year. Interesting reading here about a swing change he’s been making to add more pop…
Wagner’s ability to find the barrel and control the strike zone have long been strengths, but his power surge in the AFL has elevated him into a different tier of prospect. Wagner has six doubles, two triples and three home runs in only 14 games with Surprise and is slugging .712. His latest home run was a three-run blast off Orioles reliver Nick Richmond that cleared the 10-foot high wall in right-center field with room to spare. Hitting long bombs is something Wagner has been doing a lot of recently. After missing time with an illness, he has now homered in three of his last four games.
“I’ve changed my swing a couple of times here,” Wagner said. “Like, I was out a week because I was sick and I came back and I was late on fastballs, so I shortened up my swing and went to a toe tap and that seemed to help a little bit. And then spreading out on two strikes helped a lot, too. So those are my kind of two changes I made here, and it’s worked so far.”
It’s not just home runs Wagner is squaring up. His exit velocities this fall include a 105 mph groundout and a 102 mph triple in addition to a 419-foot, 103 mph home run he hit last week. In the at-bat preceding his home run Tuesday, Wagner drilled a comebacker up the middle that hit Angels righthander Jack Kochanowicz in the leg so hard that Kochanowicz had to leave the game.
With the way he’s playing in the Fall League, Wagner looks like he might just be the Astros next late-round, low-bonus, homegrown success story.
And lots of nice quotes from Mickey Storey (including why Wagner is playing 3B)…
“Offensively and defensively he’s had about as good of a fall campaign as you can have, and (he’s) really opening eyes within the organization. It’s one of those things where like, I’ve already called back to the Astros and been like, ‘Hey, what’s the plan for him next year? Because I know a guy in Sugar Land who would love to have him (on the) Opening Day roster.’ "
"I think he’s done some things with his swing and it’s just really repeatable. His barrel stays in the zone so long and kind of stays on plane and he is doing damage when he gets a pitch to hit, which is kind of often at this point.”
“He’s played predominantly third just because we didn’t have as many third baseman on the roster, and he grabbed the bull by the horns,” Storey said. “He’s our third baseman. He’s literally made every play that has been hit his way and looks really good doing it.”
“What he’s doing is just the tip of the iceberg. You just go back to his preparation and his poise and his competitive edge that he shows every day. He wants extra work, wants to work as a routine and goes out there and plays the game. When you when you operate that way good things seem to happen, so I think we’re seeing just the beginning of what Will Wagner has to offer.”
Look for Wagner to perhaps jump into the Astros’ Top 10 Prospects heading in to next year (he’s in the 20-30 range right now). And if that increased pop carries over into next season then an appearance with the big club in the back half of next season wouldn’t be too surprising.
Making up for lost time after undergoing back surgery in the spring and missing a large chunk of the season, corner OF/1B Scott Schreiber is hitting .340/.404/.540 with a K rate of 16%. The slugger’s whiff rate keeps coming down—it was 31% his first 2 years in the system (‘18 and ‘19) and then dropped to 22% in ‘21 after the org got him to reduce his stride at the plate. The back injury goes all the way back to 2015 and he says post-surgery he now feels healthier than he has in years. At 27 he’s not going to get the prospect gurus too excited but someone to keep an eye on at Sugar Land next season.
Regular season ended today with the Saguaros finishing in first with a 19-10 record. They’ll play in the championship game on Saturday.
Besides contributions from Wagner, Schreiber and Colton Gordon, Rhett Kouba (who got the start today) finished strong. Over his final 2 outings: 8 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 9 K.
As far as others, JC Correa finished with a .333 BA (12-36) but all of his hits were singles. Zach Daniels went 7-40 with 3 doubles and that 1 massive poke. Jonathan Sprinkle gave up 9 walks and 5 hits in 5.2 IP.