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Expansion Era Minor League All-Star Rosters – Colt .45’s / Astros

Founded on my research for the “Minors vs Majors” chapter in my book, “Hardball Retroactive” paired with complementary articles “Minors vs. Majors: The Top Minor League Batters in the Expansion Era” and “Minors vs. Majors: The Top Minor League Pitchers in the Expansion Era“, the ensuing series will reveal the Minor League All-Star rosters for every MLB franchise based primarily on single-season statistics in Runs Created / 140 Games (batters) and Fielding Independent Pitching (pitchers).

Selection Criteria

  • individual seasons in the Expansion Era (1961 – 2017)
  • levels A through AAA
  • ages 24 or younger (A and A+)
  • age 25 seasons (AA and AAA)
  • age 26 seasons (AAA)

Terminology

RC – Runs Created – using the basic formula devised by Bill James:

((H + BB) * TB) / (AB + BB)

Note: I utilized the basic formula as opposed to the Technical Version due to

incomplete GIDP and IBB data.

RC/140 – Runs Created per 140 Games as Minor League ballplayers

RC / (G / 140)

FIP – Fielding Independent Pitching – “Fielding Independent Pitching converts a pitcher’s three true outcomes into an earned run average-like number. The formula is (13*HR+3*(HBP+BB)-2*K)/IP, plus a constant (usually around 3.2) to put it on the same scale as earned run average.

FIP is a component ERA inspired by the work of Voros McCracken on defense-independent pitching statistics, but has become more widely used because of the ease of computation – it requires only four easily-found box score stats, uses only basic arithmetic operations and has four easily-memorized constants. It was conceived of by both Tom Tango and Clay Dreslough, the latter of who called it Defense-Independent Component ERA.” (definition courtesy of Baseball Prospectus Glossary).

((13*HR+3*(HBP+BB)-2*K)/IP)+3.2)

Assessment

The Houston Colt .45’s / Astros 

Jose Altuve compiled the highest RC/140 among qualifiers for the Houston franchise when he batted at a .389 clip and slugged .591 over a half-season with Lancaster (A+) and Corpus Christi (AA) in 2011. The 2017 AL MVP, six-time All-Star second baseman and three-time batting champion led the Junior Circuit with 200+ base knocks in 4 straight seasons (2014-17). A.J. Reed clobbered 34 blasts, drove in 127 baserunners and registered 113 tallies while hitting .340 and slugging .612 across two minor league stops in 2015. Jason Lane swatted 26 big-flies and 34 two-base knocks with the ‘Stros in his first full big-league campaign (2005), four years after slashing .316/.407/.608 against Texas League pitching. Alex Bregman (#1, 2015) breezed through the upper minors as he batted .306 and slugged .580 SLG prior to making his Major League debut in July 2016. “A-Breg” topped the century mark in runs and RBI, led the circuit with 51 doubles and finished fifth in the 2018 AL MVP race. Morgan Ensberg clouted 23 four-baggers and recorded a .310 BA for the New Orleans Zephyrs (AAA) in 2001. He subsequently established career-highs in home runs (36), RBI (101) and SLG (.557) to merit his lone All-Star invitation in ’05. Danny Heep totaled 13 big-league seasons as a pinch-hitter and backup outfielder for 5 organizations after tearing up the Pacific Coast League in 1980 with a .343 BA and a .580 SLG. Four-time All-Star outfielder Hunter Pence mashed 25 taters for the ‘Stros in three successive seasons (2008-2010). “Captain Underpants” slammed 31 round-trippers and supplied a .327 BA as a member of the Lexington Legends (A) and the Salem Avalanche (A+) in 2005. George Springer (#1, 2011) pummeled opposition hurlers in the Texas and Pacific Coast Leagues throughout the 2013 season, crushing 37 circuit clouts and swiping 45 bags while slugging .600. Tallying 100+ runs in three straight years (2016-18), the 3-time All-Star outfielder blasted a career-high 34 homers in 2017.

Roy Oswalt triumphed in 15 of 22 decisions and fashioned an ERA of 2.21 as he split the 2000 campaign between Kissimmee (A+) and Round Rock (AA). The “Wizard of Os” placed runner-up in the 2001 NL Rookie of the Year balloting and finished among the top 5 vote-getters in the NL Cy Young voting five times in six years (2001-06). Don Wilson compiled 104 wins along with a 3.15 ERA in his 9 seasons with the Astros. In his age-20 season for Cocoa (A), Wilson registered 10 victories with a 1.44 ERA and a 0.983 WHIP. Joe Sambito pitched almost exclusively in relief through 11 MLB seasons after tallying 11 wins and completing 12 of 23 starts for Cedar Rapids (A) in ’74.

Starting Lineup Age Year Teams Levels POS RC140 BA HR RBI OBP SLG
Jose Altuve 21 2011 LNR,CPC A+,AA 2B 146.3 0.389 10 59 0.426 0.591
Ed Moxey 22 1965 SBY,DHM A LF 138.7 0.336 27 90 0.435 0.633
A.J. Reed* 22 2015 LNR,CPC A+,AA 1B 143.8 0.340 34 127 0.432 0.612
Jason Lane 24 2001 RRK AA RF 126.4 0.316 38 124 0.407 0.608
Koby Clemens 22 2009 LNR,CPC A+,AA C 130.4 0.341 22 123 0.415 0.620
Keith Ginter 24 2000 RRK AA DH 130.3 0.333 26 92 0.457 0.580
Ty Gainey* 25 1986 TUC AAA CF 130.0 0.351 17 63 0.437 0.616
Alex Bregman 22 2016 CPC,FRE AA,AAA SS 126.2 0.306 20 61 0.406 0.580
Morgan Ensberg 25 2001 NOR AAA 3B 119.2 0.310 23 61 0.397 0.592
Bench Age Year Teams Levels POS RC140 BA HR RBI OBP SLG
Danny Heep* 22 1980 TUC AAA 1B 127.3 0.343 17 69 0.398 0.580
Derek Fisher* 23 2017 FRE AAA OF 127.0 0.318 21 66 0.384 0.583
Rich Johnson 23 1986 AVL,OSC A 1B 126.8 0.341 29 112 0.424 0.581
Hunter Pence 22 2005 LEX,SAL A,A+ CF 125.7 0.327 31 90 0.400 0.598
Brian L. Hunter 23 1994 TUC AAA OF 125.6 0.372 10 51 0.432 0.520
Mitch Meluskey# 24 1998 NOR AAA C 125.3 0.353 17 71 0.465 0.584
George Springer 23 2013 CPC,OKC AA,AAA CF 123.4 0.303 37 108 0.411 0.600
Brett Phillips* 21 2015 LNR,CPC A+,AA CF 122.7 0.320 16 71 0.377 0.548
Danny Walton 21 1969 OKC AAA OF 121.1 0.332 25 119 0.405 0.587
Aaron McNeal 21 1999 BTC A 1B 118.6 0.310 38 131 0.358 0.588
James Mouton 24 1993 TUC AAA 2B 118.0 0.315 16 92 0.397 0.524
Randy Braun* 22 1982 AVL A 1B 116.9 0.296 23 72 0.417 0.566
Ed Whited 23 1987 AVL A 3B 115.8 0.323 28 126 0.407 0.598
Drew Sutton# 25 2008 CPC AA 2B 115.8 0.317 20 69 0.408 0.523
Gary Rajsich* 25 1980 TUC AAA OF 115.7 0.321 21 99 0.435 0.575

 

Starters Age Year Teams Levels FIP WLSV ERA WHIP BB9 SO9
Roy Oswalt 22 2000 RRK,KIS AA,A+ 2.10 15-7 2.20 1.091 1.7 9.7
Forrest Whitley 19 2017 DAV,BUI,CPC A,A+,AA 2.07 5-4 2.83 1.216 3.3 14.0
Don Wilson 20 1965 COC A 2.23 10-8 1.44 0.983 2.3 8.4
Kirk Saarloos 23 2002 RRK,NOR AA,AAA 2.39 12-1 1.54 0.838 2.1 9.2
Troy Patton* 19 2005 LEX,SAL A,A+ 2.41 6-6 2.19 1.015 2.1 10.0
Relievers Age Year Teams Levels FIP WLSV ERA WHIP BB9 SO9
Jason Green 25 2000 RRK,NOR AA,AAA 1.70 16 2.00 1.167 2.5 11.0
Mike Burns 25 2004 RRK AA 1.73 9 1.68 0.973 1.7 10.5
Jesse Carlson* 22 2003 LEX A 1.81 13 1.57 0.840 2.3 12.0
Juan Campos 22 2002 BTC,LEX A 1.95 9 2.08 0.954 1.2 9.4
Oscar Zamora 24 1969 COC,PNS A 1.95 14 1.15 0.838 1.8 8.8
Bench Age Year Teams Levels FIP WLSV ERA WHIP BB9 SO9
Jordan Lyles 18 2009 LEX A 2.42 7-11 3.25 1.193 2.4 10.4
Joe Sambito* 22 1974 CDR A 2.44 11-8 3.00 1.167 2.8 10.5
Blaise Ilsley* 22 1986 AVL,OSC A 2.46 20-6 1.88 0.887 1.8 9.6
Doug Sessions 22 1999 KIS,BTC A+,A 2.01 18 1.70 0.962 2.3 11.3
Sammy Gervacio 22 2007 SAL,CPC A+,AA 2.06 18 2.31 1.064 3.0 12.0
Wally Trice* 24 1991 BUR,JAC A,AA 2.10 19 2.08 0.912 1.8 10.4

Honorable Mention

Lance Berkman (#1, 1997) merited 6 All-Star nominations and placed third in the NL MVP balloting twice in 15 MLB seasons including a dozen with the ‘Stros. “Big Puma” delivered 37 doubles, 33 dingers, 110 ribbies, 101 runs and 102 bases on balls annually over an eight-year span (2001-08). One year prior to ascending to the Majors, Berkman mirrored his future output with 38 two-baggers, 30 blasts and 102 RBI as a member of the Jackson Generals (AA) and the New Orleans Zephyrs (AAA). Johnny Ray blistered PCL pitching for a .349 BA along with 50 two-base hits and 111 tallies in ’81. Shipped to the Bucs in a deal for Phil Garner in August 1981, the switch-hitting second-sacker placed runner-up in the 1982 NL Rookie of the Year race and later led the Senior Circuit with 38 doubles in back-to-back campaigns (1983-84). Cliff Johnson (.302/33/117) walloped 20+ bombs four times through his 15-year big-league career subsequent to scalding the baseball as a member of the Denver Bears (AAA) in ’73. Following his release by Houston in March 2014, J.D. Martinez supplied a .307 BA with 32 doubles, 34 jacks and 96 RBI per year. “Flaco” jumped to the Majors in July 2011 after slashing .338/.414/.546 for the Corpus Christi Hooks (AA). Joe L. Morgan coaxed 105 walks, pilfered 47 bases, scored 113 runs and hit .323 with 42 doubles as a 20-year-old playing for the San Antonio Missions (AA) in ’64. “The Little General” finished second in the 1965 NL Rookie of the Year race, warranted 10 invites to the Mid-Summer Classic and notched back-to-back NL MVP Awards (1975-76). Shane Reynolds fashioned a 3.66 ERA and averaged 200 innings annually over a six-year span (1994-99) which mimicked his results for the Tucson Toros (AAA) in ’93.

Batters Age Year Teams Levels POS RC140 BA HR RBI OBP SLG
Lance Berkman# 22 1998 JAC,NOR AA,AAA OF 115.4 0.302 30 102 0.422 0.566
Johnny Ray# 24 1981 TUC AAA 2B 114.9 0.349 5 83 0.397 0.510
Cliff Johnson 25 1973 DEN AAA 1B 114.8 0.302 33 117 0.398 0.582
Jacob Nottingham 20 2015 DAV,LNR A,A+ C 114.4 0.326 14 60 0.383 0.558
J.D. Martinez 23 2011 CPC AA LF 114.2 0.338 13 72 0.414 0.546
Chuck Harrison 23 1964 SAN AA 1B 114.2 0.298 40 119 0.379 0.601
Jon Gaston* 22 2009 LNR A+ LF 114.0 0.278 35 100 0.367 0.598
Kody Hinze 23 2011 LNR,CPC A+,AA 1B 113.8 0.306 29 98 0.420 0.541
Jon Kemmer* 24 2015 CPC AA RF 112.8 0.327 18 65 0.414 0.574
Joe Morgan* 20 1964 SAN AA 2B 112.0 0.323 12 90 0.440 0.512

 

Pitchers Age Year Teams Levels FIP WLSV ERA WHIP BB9 SO9
Donne Wall 23 1991 BUR,OSC A,A+ 2.53 13-8 2.05 0.870 1.6 8.0
Aaron West 23 2013 LNR A+ 2.55 10-8 5.24 1.396 1.4 9.3
Shane Reynolds 25 1993 TUC AAA 2.57 10-6 3.62 1.208 1.4 6.9
Kevin Hill 24 2017 BUI,DAV,CPC A+,A,AA 2.16 5 1.96 0.997 2.9 9.5
Jesse Hickman 26 1965 OKC AAA 2.23 3-2 2.42 1.164 4.0 12.4
Jim Dougherty 23 1991 AVL A 2.33 28 1.52 1.060 2.7 8.5

 

References and Resources

Baseball-Reference

Bill James Baseball Abstract

Seamheads – Baseball Gauge

 

About the Author 

I am a New Jersey native with a passion for baseball, statistics, computers and video games who enjoys spending quality time with his family.

Hardball Retroactive”, published in June 2018, is available in paperback and digital (Kindle) format at Amazon.com along with digital eBook format at GooglePlay.com.  

“Hardball Retrospective” is available in digital format on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, GooglePlay, iTunes and KoboBooks. The paperback edition is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and CreateSpace. Supplemental Statistics, Charts and Graphs along with a discussion forum are offered at TuataraSoftware.com.

Don Daglow (Intellivision World Series Major League Baseball, Earl Weaver Baseball, Tony LaRussa Baseball) contributed the foreword for Hardball Retrospective. The foreword and preview of my book are accessible here.

“Hardball Retrospective – Addendum 2014 to 2016” supplements my research for Hardball Retrospective, providing retroactive standings based on Wins Above Replacement (WAR) and Win Shares (WS) for each “original” team over the past three seasons (2014-2016). Team totals from 2010 – 2013 are included for reference purposes. “Addendum” is available in paperback and digital formats through Amazon, Barnes and Noble and CreateSpace.

 

Tagged:
I am a New Jersey native with a passion for baseball, statistics, computers and video games who enjoys spending quality time with his family. Visit my Amazon author page to check out my books, promotional videos, and post a review if you're a Hardball Retro fan! https://www.amazon.com/author/derekbain https://play.google.com/store/books/author?id=Derek+Bain

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