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On the Farm: Alaniz, Alvarez, Aplin
03/10/2014 12:07 PM ET
 (George Tuley)

Leading up to the 2014 season, cchooks.com spotlights select farmhands in the Astros system. Today, we feature RHP Ruben Alaniz, C Luis Alvarez and OF Andrew Aplin.

Ruben Alaniz
Pitcher
BORN June 14, 1991 in McAllen, TX
OPENING DAY AGE 22
HEIGHT 6'4
WEIGHT 208
BATS Right
THROWS Right
RESIDES La Grulla, TX
ACQUIRED Signed as a non-drafted free agent, August 2009

Career Highlights: 2013 - Tied for fifth in the Texas League in victories. Ranked among Corpus Christi's leaders in wins (2nd), starts (2nd), innings pitched (3rd) and strikeouts (5th). Picked up first victory May 25 after holding Arkansas to two runs in five innings. Went 7-3 and posted a 3.15 ERA over 11 second-half appearances, including 9 starts. From June 14 to August 18, was 5-2 with a 2.08 ERA over nine outings (6 starts). Best start came on Independence Day when he tossed seven innings of two-hit, shutout ball. Missed the first three weeks of August due to a knee injury. Started Game 4 of the TL South Division Series and permitted three hits thru seven scoreless innings. Walked one and struck out six as the Hooks prevailed 1-0.

2012 - Entered the season ranked as Houston's No. 15 prospect by Baseball America. Named Lancaster Pitcher of the Month for April after he went 2-0 with a 2.90 ERA in five starts. He walked seven and struck out 26 in 31.0 innings pitched in the month. Regressed as the season progressed, with a 4.31 ERA in six May starts and an 8.74 ERA in four June starts. Started just two games in July, in which he allowed five earned runs in 6.2 innings pitched. Posted a 6.49 earned run average at home in the hitter's paradise "The Hangar," and allowed a 4.27 ERA on the road.

2011 - Entered the season ranked as Houston's No. 15 prospect and as having the best curveball in the organization by Baseball America. Named Lexington Pitcher of the Month for June after he went 3-1 with a 2.28 ERA in five starts. Also posted a strong August, going 1-1 with a 3.71 ERA in five games, four of them starts. Of his 27 appearances, 21 were starts and six came out of the bullpen. As a starter was 5-9 with a 4.25 ERA, while posting a 2-1 record with a 5.40 ERA in relief. Was better on the road (4-6, 3.88) than at home (3-4, 5.04).

2010 - Led Greeneville in wins and strikeouts. Started the year by allowing two earned runs in 16 innings over his first three starts from June 24-July 5. In back-to-back starts July 10 and 17, allowed a combined 16 earned runs on 17 hits in 3.1 innings. Aside from those two starts, went 6-2 with a 1.82 ERA on the season. Finished the season by giving up two earned runs in 17.2 innings pitched, winning his last three starts August 13-27. In five August starts went 3-2 with a 2.86 ERA.

Career stat note: Has allowed just 2.82 walks per nine innings.

 
YEAR CLUB W-L ERA G GS CG SO SV IP H R ER BB K
2010 Greeneville (R) 6-4 4.21 12 12 0 0 0 57.2 65 32 27 10 42
2011 Lexington (A) 7-10 4.44 27 21 0 0 0 115.2 111 78 57 38 96
2012 Lancaster (A) 6-2 5.04 17 17 0 0 0 100.0 113 58 56 26 70
2013 Corpus Christi (AA) 9-9 4.53 27 19 0 0 0 113.1 136 73 57 47 65
  Career Totals 28-25 4.59 83 69 0 0 0 386.2 425 241 197 121 273

Luis Alvarez
Catcher
BORN February 28, 1990 in Barquisimeto, VZ
OPENING DAY AGE 24
HEIGHT 5'11
WEIGHT 230
BATS Right
THROWS Right
RESIDES Barquisimeto, VZ
ACQUIRED Signed as a non-drafted free agent, March 2007

Career Highlights: 2013 - Batted .282 with 18 runs scored, seven doubles, seven home runs and 20 RBIs in 41 games between Tri-City, Quad Cities, Lancaster and Corpus Christi. Spent the first half of the season at Houston's training complex in Kissimmee, Fla. Joined Tri-City in mid-June and hit safely in eight of his 12 games with the ValleyCats. Promoted to Quad Cities on July 12 and notched hits in 10 of his 13 contests as a River Bandit. Opened August with Lancaster where two of his first four knocks left the yard. On August 16 opposite High Desert, belted an eighth-inning grand slam to push the JetHawks past the Mavericks 14-11. Finished the season with Corpus Christi, registering hits in six of eight games as a Hook.

2012 - Posted a composite .271 batting average and an .838 OPS in 24 games between Greeneville and Lexington.

2007-2008 - Batted .301 with 19 doubles, 9 home runs and 47 RBIs thru two seasons in the Venezuelan Summer League. Walked 42 times compared to 47 strikeouts.

 
YEAR CLUB AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB
2007 VSL Astros (R) .241 35 112 26 27 2 1 2 14 10 15 0
2008 VSL Astros (R) .333 61 207 44 69 17 0 7 33 32 32 4
2009 Greeneville (R) .271 17 48 7 13 3 0 1 8 3 11 1
2010 Injured - DNP - - - - - - - - - - - -
2011 Greeneville (R) .271 38 133 14 36 6 1 2 10 12 19 1
2012 Lexington (A) .264 17 53 7 14 1 1 2 8 3 13 1
  Greeneville (R) .294 6 17 3 5 1 0 2 3 2 4 0
2013 Tri-City (A) .303 12 33 4 10 3 0 1 2 4 3 1
  Quad Cities (A) .294 13 51 5 15 3 0 2 5 1 13 0
  Lancaster (A) .261 8 23 7 6 0 1 3 9 2 3 0
  Corpus Christi (AA) .250 8 24 2 6 1 0 1 4 1 5 0
  Career Totals .287 215 701 119 201 37 4 23 96 70 118 8

Andrew Aplin
Outfielder
BORN March 21, 1991 in Suisun, CA
OPENING DAY AGE 23
HEIGHT 6-0
WEIGHT 190
BATS Left
THROWS Left
RESIDES Suisun, CA
SCHOOL Arizona State
ACQUIRED Selected in the fifth round of the 2012 draft

Career Highlights: 2013 - A Mid- and Post-Season All-Star, led the California League in RBIs and ranked second in the circuit in runs scored and walks. His RBI total slotted second among Astros farmhands and placed fifth in the minor leagues. Was the second-toughest player to strike out in the CL, fanning once for every 9.49 plate appearances. Paced Lancaster in at-bats, runs, RBIs, total bases (212) and sac flies (10), and tied for first in doubles. Stood second on the club in hits, triples, walks and stolen bases. Three of his nine home runs were grand slams. Tabbed the loop's player of the week for May 20-27 when he went 13-for-30 (.433) with nine runs, five doubles, two home runs and 10 RBIs thru seven games. Reached base safely in 26 consecutive games from June 12 to July 8, hitting .326 with an on-base percentage of .439. Batted .462 and featured a .556 OBP during an 11-game home hitting streak from July 23 to August 16.

2012 - Hit a composite .313 with seven home runs and 38 RBIs in 68 games at Short Season Tri-City and Advanced-A Lancaster. Started his career with the ValleyCats by hitting safely in six straight games (9-for-21, .429) and 11 of his first 12 (16-for-36, .444). Reached base in 27 consecutive contests from June 18-July 20, hitting .383 with a .487 OBP. Posted two hitting streaks of 11 or more games: 11 straight from July 6-July 20 (18-for-45, .400) and 12 in a row from July 22-August 3 (18-for-49, .367). Overall on-base percentage with Tri-City was .441. Named the ValleyCats Offensive Player of the Month for July after he hit .343 with 4 HR and 12 RBI. Played his first game with High-A Lancaster August 9 and went 1-for-4. Used exclusively in centerfield at both stops.

Career Notes: Features more walks than strikeouts, coaxing one free pass for every 8.13 plate appearances. Owns an .828 OPS.

College Notes: Earned Pac-12 Conference honorable mention after his junior season in 2012 after he hit .313 with six home runs, 30 RBIs and 52 runs. Hit .284 in 49 games as a sophomore and .337 in 41 games as a freshman. Was also selected out of high school by the New York Yankees in the 33rd round of the 2009 draft.

 
YEAR CLUB AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB
2012 Tri-City (A) .348 44 164 38 57 9 5 4 25 24 22 20
  Lancaster (A) .260 24 104 19 27 4 2 3 13 4 16 4
2013 Lancaster (A) .278 128 500 102 139 32 7 9 107 83 63 24
  Career Totals .290 196 768 159 223 45 14 16 145 111 101 48

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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