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On the Farm: Buchanan, Burgess, Castro02/15/2013 6:08 PM ET
Corpus Christi Hooks
Leading up to the 2013 season, cchooks.com spotlights select farmhands in the Astros system. Today, we feature RHP Jake Buchanan, OF Michael Burgess and INF Erik Castro.
School: North Carolina State. Went 8-6 with a 3.86 ERA in 18 games and 17 starts as a junior for the Wolfpack in 2010. Walked 27 and struck out 96 over 105 innings. Posted 13 wins, five complete games and three saves in his three seasons in Raleigh.
Acquired: Selected by the Astros in the eighth round of the 2010 draft.
Career Highlights: 2012 - Started the season in Corpus Christi's rotation, making 19 starts before being moved to the bullpen after an outing on July 19. As a starter went 5-6 with a 5.00 ERA, walking 26 and striking out 74 in 111.2 innings. Allowed four or more runs nine times in his 19 starts, including seven or more three times. May 12 vs. Frisco, took a no decision after he allowed one earned run on six hits in 7.2 IP. Lasted 8.1 innings May 23 vs. Arkansas to earn his second win of the season. Had six starts of 7.0 IP or more innings. Pitched in three games for Triple-A Oklahoma City from July 25-August 1. Overall as a reliever, went 0-3 with a 4.76 ERA in eight games.
2011 - Named the Astros Minor League Pitcher of the Year, finished 5-10 with a 3.80 ERA over 26 starts between Advanced-A Lancaster and Corpus Christi. Notched 104 strikeouts and 36 walks in 165.2 innings. His composite ERA stood second among full-season Houston farmhands. Making all but one start for Lancaster, he led California League starters in fewest walks per nine innings (1.82) and ranked third in fewest base runners per nine innings (11.23). Also ranked within the circuit's top 10 in WHIP (1.21, 2nd), opponents' average (.256, 4th), innings pitched (158.2, 5th) and ERA (3.91, 8th). Was one of only three pitchers in the loop to toss a complete-game shutout, allowing just four hits and three walks over nine innings in a 3-0 victory at Inland Empire May 1. Allowed just one home run for every 15.87 innings pitched. Cal League average was one home run for every 9.48 innings pitched. Became the first Lancaster hurler to start a minimum of 20 games and finish the season with an ERA below 4.00 since Brandon Webb accomplished the feat in 2001 (3.99 ERA, 28 GS). Was considerably more effective on the road (4-4, 2.17, 14 starts) than he was at wind-blown and hitter-friendly ClearChannel Stadium (1-6, 6.86, 11 starts). Turned in a stellar April, going 2-1 with a 1.91 ERA in four starts. A California League All-Star, was the pitcher of record in the Cal League's 6-1 win over the Carolina League June 21 at Modesto's John Thurman Field. Tossed an inning of perfect relief in the third, striking out one. Was impressive in his Double-A debut September 1 at Whataburger Field, limiting Frisco to a run on six hits over seven innings.
2010 - Allowed just three homers in 14 starts for the ValleyCats, covering 61.0 innings (1 HR for every 20.33 IP). In a four-start stretch from July 21 through August 7, went 2-1 with a 1.64 ERA. Notched a career-best eight strikeouts over five innings while allowing just one run in an August 30 start vs. Hudson Valley. Allowed just three hits and a walk over seven shutout innings to get the win in the third and decisive game of the New York-Penn League division series at Batavia September 9. Struck out six in the ValleyCats 1-0 triumph.
Career stat note: Allowed just 13 home runs in 226.2 career innings through 2011 (0.52/9 IP), but allowed 11 HR in 142.1 IP in 2012 (0.70/9 IP).
Acquired: Selected in the Triple-A phase of the 2012 Rule 5 draft from the Chicago Cubs. Originally selected by the Nationals in the supplemental round (49th overall) of the 2007 draft.
Career Highlights: 2012 - Notched a multi-home run game on June 26 vs. Birmingham, went 3-for-3 with four runs, two home runs and three RBIs. Drove in a season-high four runs July 3 at Chattanooga, after he went 2-for-4 with a triple. Hit .500 as a pinch-hitter (8-for-16) with four RBIs. Played 87 games in right field, five in left field and was the designated hitter eight times. Hit .267 (69-for-25) against right-handed pitching and .230 (17-for-74) against southpaws.
2011 - Prior to the season, on January 17, traded with RHP A.J. Morris and LHP Graham Hicks from Washington to Chicago-NL for LHP Tom Gorzelanny. Tied for fifth in the Florida State League in home runs. April 11 vs. Clearwater, went 3-for-4 with two home runs and five RBIs for the Daytona Cubs. Hit in 10 of 11 games from May 2-14. Posted back-to-back three-hit games July 25-26, going 6-for-10 with three RBIs. Hit.193 in the season's first half, before posting a .263 second half batting average. Played 13 games in left field and 89 in right field.
2010 - Split his last season in the Nationals organization between Advanced-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg, hitting .265 with 18 home runs and 85 RBIs. In Potomac, was named a Carolina League Mid-Season All-Star for the second straight season. In the first half of the season, hit .261-6-48. Tied for the league lead with six intentional walks. Reached base safely in 21 straight games from April 28-May 19, hitting .325 (25-for-77) with five home runs, 26 RBIs and a .422 on-base percentage. In May, hit .313-4-31. On July 8 at Frederick, went 4-for-5 with a home run and five RBIs. Collected hits in nine out of 10 games from July 2-21, hitting .375 (15-for-40) with 14 RBIs. Tallied a pair of two home run games: in his Double-A debut August 17 vs. Erie and September 3 at Binghamton.
2009 - Named a Carolina League Mid-Season All-Star after a first half in which he hit .229 with 12 home runs and 37 RBIs. Ranked among league leaders in home runs (19), strikeouts (135) and HR/AB ratio (1/25.26). Reached base safely in 17 straight road games from June 25-July 24, hitting .308 (20-for-65) with a .410 on-base percentage. Posted a pair of five-RBI games: April 23 at Frederick and August 8 vs. Wilmington.
2008 - Combined to hit .246 with 24 home runs and 79 RBIs between Class-A Hagerstown and Advanced-A Potomac. Started the season with the Suns and hit .249 with 18 homers and 60 RBIs. Named the South Atlantic League Player of the Week for April 21-28 after he hit .281 (9-for-32) with five home runs and 11 RBIs. Led the league in outfield assists (26) and ranked fifth in HR/AB ratio (1/22.28). Promoted to Potomac on August 11. At Kinston on August 19, went 3-for-4 with two homers and six RBIs.
2007 - Hit .318 with 11 home runs and 42 RBIs in 55 games with the Gulf Coast League Nationals and the Vermont Lake Monsters. Ranked among GCL leaders in hitting (.336, 6th), home runs (8, T4th), OBP (.442, 1st), SLG (.617, 1st) and HR/AB ratio (1/16.00). Promoted to Short Season-A Vermont before game on August 21.
Career stat note: Has walked and struck out at an above average pace throughout his career. His career walk percentage is 11.21 percent, while he strikes out in 27.32 percent of his at-bats.
School: San Diego State. Named second team all-Mountain West Conference as a junior in 2009 after he hit .382 with 11 home runs and 56 RBIs, including a .400 batting average in conference games. Played over 50 games at catcher in his two years at SDSU, catching now-big league hurlers Stephen Strasburg and Addison Reed. Had not caught before his sophomore season as an Aztec in 2008. As a sophomore he hit .259 with five home runs and 29 RBIs in 51 games. Played his freshman season at Arizona in 2007, hitting .253 with four doubles and 12 RBIs in 40 games (21 starts), mostly at third base.
Acquired: Selected by the Astros in the 10th round of the 2009 draft.
Career Highlights: 2012 - Led the JetHawks in RBIs (108) and tied for the team lead in hits (138). Ranked among California League leaders in HR (27, T3rd), RBIs (108, 2nd), walks (78, T3rd), strikeouts (162, 3rd) and HR/AB (1/17.96, 4th). Hit in 18 straight home games from April 12-May 21, going 25-for-68 (.368) with six doubles, six homers and 17 RBIs. Batted .293 (103-for-351) with 22 homers and 78 RBIs against RHP. Opened the season on a nine-game hitting streak (.394, 13-for-33). Was not held hitless in back-to-back games from the beginning of the season until June 11-12. In that span hit in 45 of 54 games at .324 (66-for-204) with 13 doubles, nine home runs and 44 RBIs. Drove in five or more runs four times: 6/1 at Visalia, 7/9 vs. Stockton, 8/1 at Stockton, 8/21 vs. Rancho Cucamonga. In the first half hit .313-9-50 and in the second half batted .260-18-58. Batted .306 with seven runs scored, five doubles and eight RBIs in 10 playoff games as the JetHawks captured the California League crown.
2011 - Returned to action April 7, after missing the 2010 season due to shoulder surgery. In first game back, went 1-for-2 with a run, RBI and two walks. Posted four straight multi-hit games from May 13-18 (8-for-18, .444). Hit in 12 of 13 games from August 21-September 4 at .314 (16-for-51). Hit a first-inning grand slam September 3 vs. Lake Elsinore. Played 15 games at first base, seven at third base and 54 as the designated hitter.
2010 - Did not play after undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder before the season.
2009 - Tied for the team lead in HR (7) with J.D. Martinez and led the club in RBIs (36). Ranked fourth in the NYPL in HR/AB (1/27.43). Over the last six games of the season, hit .458 (11-for-24) with two homers and eight RBIs. Played 13 games at first base, 36 at third base and eight as DH.
Career stat note: Has rated among his league's top 5 in HR/AB in each of his two full professional seasons. For his career has averaged a home run every 21.9 at-bats.