Leading up to the 2013 season, cchooks.com spotlights select farmhands in the Astros system. Today, we feature OF Robbie Grossman, C Ben Heath and RHP Matt Heidenreich.
Born: 9/16/89 in San Diego, CA
Resides: Cypress, TX
Acquired: Via trade from Pittsburgh, with LHPs Colton Cain and Rudy Owens, for LHP Wandy Rodriguez in July 2012. Originally selected by the Pirates in the sixth round of the 2008 draft.
Career Highlights: 2012 - Entered the season as Baseball America's eighth ranked prospect in the Pirates organization and as having the system's best plate discipline. In 131 games split between Altoona and Corpus Christi, hit .266 with 10 home runs, 47 RBIs and 13 stolen bases. Ranked eighth among Double-A hitters with 77 walks. Hit in 13 straight games from June 16-29 at .380 (19-for-50) with a .508 OBP. Reached base in 26 consecutive games from June 16-July 14, hitting .348 (32-for-92) with a .504 OBP. June 29 at Harrisburg went 4-for-6 with two doubles and 3 runs scored. July 22 vs. Erie went 4-for-5 with a triple and five RBIs. Traded to the Astros and assigned to Corpus Christi on July 24. At the time of the trade, ranked among Eastern League leaders in runs (59, 4th), triples (4, T10th), walks (59, 1st) and OBP (.378, 8th). Made Hooks debut July 26 and went 2-for-4 with a run. 130 of 135 at-bats with Corpus Christi came out of the leadoff spot. Overall hit .321 (51-for-159) with two homers and nine RBIs from the right side of the plate and .239 (78-for-326) with eight homers and 38 RBIs from the left side. With Altoona played all 94 of his games in centerfield, while with the Hooks played six games in left field, 27 games in centerfield and three in right field.
2011 - Named Pirates Minor League Player of the Year. Became the first minor league player at any level to score 100 runs and draw 100 walks in a season since Nick Swisher in 2004. His .418 OBP ranked fifth among all Class-A hitters and was second in the Florida State League. Led the FSL in runs (127) and walks (104) and ranked third in games (134). Reached base safely in 79 of 80 games from May 21-August 18, hitting .313 (90-for-288). In June, hit .341 (31-for-91) with 30 runs, eight doubles, 11 RBIs and 30 walks. Hit .269 with 21 RBIs in the season's first half and .320 with 35 RBIs in the second half. Played 15 games in centerfield and 119 games in right. Hit .326 (45-for-138) with two home runs and 12 RBIs from the right side and .281 (99-for-352) from the left side.
2010 - Ranked third in the Florida State League in runs (84) and walks (66). Reached base in 19 straight home games from May 24-June 28, hitting .300 with a .417 on-base percentage. Collected a season-high four hits and drove in four runs June 28 vs. Fort Myers. Hit .279 (34-for-122) with two homers and 11 RBIs from the right side of the plate and .233 (81-for-348) with two homers and 39 RBIs from the left side. Hit .309 (17-for-55) in April, but failed to bring his average above .300 in any other month. Hit second in the lineup in 121 games and third in four games. Played 15 games in left field, 40 in center and 70 in right.
2009 - Reached base safely in 51 of 52 games from June 6-August 14, hitting .284 (60-for-211) with 33 walks. June 18 at Hickory went 5-for-6 with two runs, a double, triple, stolen base and 5 RBIs. In June, hit .323 (31-for-96) with 16 RBIs. Right-handed, hit .330 (33-for-100) with three homers and 13 RBIs, while hitting .248 (87-for-351) with two homers and 29 RBIs left-handed. Played 31 games in left field and 82 in centerfield.
2008 - Made professional debut August 20 against the GCL Red Sox and went 0-for-3 with a walk and stolen base. Hit in three of five games, collecting first pro hit on August 21 against the GCL Orioles. Before signing with Pittsburgh, had committed to play for the University of Texas.
Career stat note: Has walked in 14.1 percent of his career plate appearances (326 BB in 2311 PA).
|2008||GCL Pirates (R)||.188||5||16||3||3||1||0||0||1||4||7||1|
|2009||West Virginia (A)||.266||116||451||83||120||21||2||5||42||75||164||35|
|Corpus Christi (AA)||.267||36||135||36||36||8||2||3||11||18||43||4|
Born: 10/7/88 in Danville, VA
Resides: Martinsville, VA
School: Penn State. Named First-Team All-Big Ten and a Louisville Slugger Second Team All-American following his 2010 junior season. Led the Nittany Lions in batting average (.369), home runs (19), RBIs (57), runs (53), doubles (16), extra-base hits (36), total bases (148) and slugging (.747). His 19 HR set a new Penn State record that had stood since 1978. Became the highest PSU position player taken in the draft since Greg Vogel in 1976. Batted .400 in 24 games Big Ten games with a 1.306 OPS. As a sophomore in 2009, played in 27 games and hit .289-3-20. His freshman year in 2008, he went 1-for-17 in 13 games, three starts.
Acquired: Selected by the Astros in the fifth round of the 2010 draft.
Career Highlights: 2012 - Hit .290 with 5 home runs and 33 RBIs in 59 games between Advanced-A Lancaster and Corpus Christi. Drove in a season-high five runs June 3 vs. Rancho Cucamonga. Named JetHawks player of the month for June, after he hit .407 (24-for-59) with 3 home runs and 16 RBIs. Batted .330 in 26 home games and .266 in 24 road contests for Lancaster. Promoted to Corpus Christi on July 20. Hit in four of his nine games with the Hooks. Placed on the disabled list August 15 for the remainder of the season.
2011 - Hit .252 with 10 home runs and 42 RBIs in 91 games between Lancaster and Lexington. Started the season with the JetHawks and caught 28 games with 11 at DH. In May, hit .302 with a homer and 10 RBIs. Hit in 12 straight home games from May 4-June 5 at .408 (20-for-49). Reassigned to Lexington in mid-June where he caught 29 games and was the DH in 22. Overall, hit .276 when catching and .211 when he was the designated hitter.
2010 - Hit a combined .276 with 10 home runs and 38 RBIs at three stops: Tri-City, Lexington and Corpus Christi. Played the bulk of the season for short season Tri-City where he caught 30 games. Hit .286 in 18 road games and .212 in 19 games at home. Promoted to Lexington on August 7. August 13 vs. West Virginia, went 3-for-4 with three homers and 7 RBIs. Promoted to Corpus Christi on September 1 and went 3-for-4 with 2 RBIs in consecutive games on September 2 & 4.
Career stat note: Has thrown out base runners at a 24 percent clip (43 of 180).
|Corpus Christi (AA)||.500||4||12||0||6||1||0||0||4||1||3||0|
|Corpus Christi (AA)||.217||9||23||2||5||2||0||0||4||1||7||0|
Born: 1/17/91 in Coronado, CA
Resides: Lake Elsinore, CA
Acquired: Via trade from Chicago-AL, along with LHP Blair Walters, for RHP Brett Myers in July 2012. Originally selected by the White Sox in the fourth round of the 2009 draft.
Career Highlights: 2012 - Went 12-5 with a 3.95 ERA in 25 starts plus one relief appearance for Winston-Salem, Birmingham and Corpus Christi. Named Carolina League Pitcher of the Week for June 25-July 2, after he went 2-0 and allowed an earned run over 16.0 innings pitched, including a complete game shutout. Named a Carolina League Mid-Season All-Star. Promoted to Double-A Birmingham July 4 and allowed two runs, one earned, over eight frames in his debut. Followed that start by allowing 11 earned runs over 10.1 innings in his next two outings. Traded to Houston July 21. Made Hooks debut July 26 at San Antonio and allowed one earned run in eight innings en route to a win. Lasted six full innings just once (August 18) after his Corpus Christi debut. At the plate, went 0-for-7 with 2 RBIs.
2011 - Ranked among South Atlantic League leaders in starts (27, T1st), innings pitched (154.1, 4th), BB/9 IP among starters (1.81, 4th) and putouts among pitchers (20, 1st). In June went 1-3 with a 2.92 ERA in six starts. Posted a 3.95 ERA in 16 home starts and a 4.95 ERA in 11 road starts.
2010 - Was among Appalachian League leaders in ERA (2.49, 4th), innings (76.0, T3rd) and BB/9 IP (1.09, 2nd). From July 8-August 22, pitched in nine games, including seven starts, and went 3-1 with a 1.27 ERA, seven walks and 41 strikeouts. The ERA ranked 5th among rookie league pitchers and 13th across all of minor league baseball in that span. Pitched one frame for Kannapolis on September 2 and allowed two earned runs.
2009 - The only season in his career in which he did not make a start. Held right-handed hitters to a .152 batting average, while lefties hit .375 against him. From July 23-August 20 made eight appearances and allowed just one earned run in 11 innings (0.82 ERA).
Career stat note: Has a career BB/9 IP rate of 1.78 (79 BB in 399.1 IP), which would have ranked fourth in the Texas League in 2012.
|Corpus Christi (AA)||3-1||3.93||8||7||0||0||0||34.1||39||22||15||7||26|