RHP J.P. France - Houston Astros
2019 Fayetteville Woodpeckers pitcher JP France established himself as a key piece within the Houston Astros starting rotation as a rookie in 2023. France helped stabilize the rotation which lost Luis Garcia and Lance McCullers Jr. for the season due to injury, pitching to
RHP J.P. France - Houston Astros
2019 Fayetteville Woodpeckers pitcher JP France established himself as a key piece within the Houston Astros starting rotation as a rookie in 2023. France helped stabilize the rotation which lost Luis Garcia and Lance McCullers Jr. for the season due to injury, pitching to an 11-6 record and 3.83 ERA over 24 games with 101 strikeouts over 136.1 total innings pitched. France spent the entire 2019 season in Fayetteville and turned into a fan favorite, starting 20 games and striking out 100 batters in 100 innings. This will be the first time France pitches in the postseason since that 2019 Woodpeckers playoff run.
RHP Bryan Abreu - Houston Astros
Bryan Abreu made a quick trip through Fayetteville in 2019, starting three games and struck out 25 hitters over just 14.2 innings in High-A. He went on to debut with Houston later that season with seven games out of the bullpen and has remained in the Houston bullpen over the last four seasons. This year Abreu was one of the most dependable relievers in the American League, amassing a 1.75 ERA over 72 games and fanned 100 hitters over 72.0 innings.
RHP Cristian Javier - Houston Astros
The Woodpeckers Opening Day starting pitcher from 2019 is primed to be another key piece of the Astros starting rotation during the 2023 Postseason. Javier dominated during his time in the Carolina League allowing just three earned runs for a 0.95 ERA across seven games and 28.2 total innings. The 26-year-old from the Dominican Republic has spent the last four seasons in the big leagues since his 2020 debut and has a career 30-17 record and 3.57 ERA over 109 total appearances. Javier was one of Houston’s best arms during the 2022 World Series run, allowing just one earned run across 12.1 total innings and was the starting pitcher in Houston’s historic combined no-hitter of the Phillies on November 2nd.
OF Jake Meyers - Houston Astros
Meyers was drafted in the 13th round out of the University of Nebraska in 2017 and played in 87 games for Fayetteville in 2019. In High-A he hit .258 with 8 home runs, 41 RBI and compiled a .336 OBP before earning promotion to Double-A Corpus Christi. Myers debuted with Houston in 2021 and has now played in 213 total big league games across three seasons. During the 2023 regular season, Meyers batted .227 with 16 doubles and 10 home runs across 112 total games.
OF Bryan De La Cruz - Miami Marlins
De La Cruz originally signed with the Houston Astros as a 16-year-old out of Santo Domingo Este, Dominican Republic in 2013 and debuted with Fayetteville six years later during the 2019 season. The outfielder played in 41 games with the Woodpeckers, hitting .276 with 14 doubles and four home runs before earning a promotion to Double-A Corpus Christi. His time in the Houston farm system ended on July 28th, 2021 upon being traded to the Miami Marlins where he would go on to make his MLB debut two days later on July 30th. During the 2023 season De La Cruz played in 153 games, batting .259 with 19 home runs and 78 RBI.
Note: De La Cruz and the Miami Marlins were swept in two games by the Phillies and have been eliminated from the 2023 Postseason.
SS Jeremy Pena - Houston Astros
Pena returns to the postseason after a headline-grabbing rookie year in 2022 where he earned ALCS MVP and World Series MVP during the Astros title run. The 26-year-old shortstop played in 43 games for the Woodpeckers in 2019 and batted .317 with 13 doubles, two home runs and 13 RBI. He was also a member of the Woodpeckers postseason roster in 2019 and was a big offensive contributor hitting two home runs and two doubles across ten games. This season in the majors Pena played in 150 games in 2023 for Houston and massed a .324 OBP with 10 home runs and 52 RBI.
C Yainer Diaz - Houston Astros
Diaz spent a brief 12-game stint with the Woodpeckers after being traded over from the Cleveland Guardians in 2021 in exchange for outfielder Myles Straw. He was quickly promoted to High-A Asheville where he closed out the season batting an incredible .396 with 11 homers over 25 games. Diaz spent his first full year in MLB this season still carrying rookie status at 25 years old and became just the seventh Astros rookie ever to hit at least 20 home runs in their first year (23 total HR's).