The 2017 World Series features a match-up of two 100-win teams. The Los Angeles Dodgers, who haven't won a championship since 1988, and the Houston Astros who are looking for their first World Series title in their 55-year franchise history.
For fans of the Tri-City ValleyCats, the longest tenured minor league affiliate of the Astros, they get to see a match-up that features six former members of the ValleyCats!
Here's a snapshot of those former 'Cats:
Los Angeles Dodgers:
Kikè Hernandez (2010): Enrique "Kikè" Hernández, was drafted in the 6th round of the 2009 MLB First Year Player Draft by the Houston Astros, out of the American Military Academy in Puerto Rico. At just 18 years old, Kike played his first full season with the Astros' Gulf Coast League team. In 2010 he was assigned to the ValleyCats where he played 60 games, most of them at second base, and hit .280 over 246 at bats. He hit three home runs that season, and drove in 33 runs. One of those home runs is a moment that Hernandez will never forget. On August 15 he hit a walk-off home run vs. the Staten Island Yankees with his family from Puerto Rico watching in the stands. The ValleyCats went on to win the New York-Penn League Championship that year, and Kike played a big part. He went 6-for-21 with 3 doubles and 2 RBI, and was one of the emotional leaders in the clubhouse.
Jose Altuve (2009): Jose Altuve, a native of Maracay, Venezuela, was signed by the Astros as an international free agent in 2009 for $15,000. Listed at just 5' 6", Altuve was a member of the 2009 ValleyCats where he played in 21 games after being called up in August from Rookie level Greeneville. In 76 at-bats with the 'Cats, Altuve batted .250 with five doubles, 7 RBI, and 7 stolen bases. Each of his starts came at second base.
Dallas Keuchel (2009): Then clean shaven, Dallas Keuchel was drafted in the 7th round of the 2009 MLB Draft out of the University of Arkansas. He made his professional debut for the ValleyCats on July 8 in Lowell. He went on to start 10 games for the 'Cats that season, finishing with a 2-3 record and 2.70 ERA. In 56.2 innings pitched, Keuchel allowed 17 earned runs on 52 hits. He struck out 44 and walked just nine. This past season, Keuchel returned to the ValleyCats for a rehab start in Lowell on July 22. He earned the victory in the same place he made his pro debut.
George Springer (2011): Born and raised in New Britain, Connecticut, Springer was the first round draft pick of the Astros in 2011 (11th overall), out of the University of Connecticut. He began his professional career with the ValleyCats after he officially signed with Houston in August. Springer played in just eight games that year, going 5-for-28 with 1 HR and 3 RBI. However, he showed tremendous pop with the bat, and flashed his speed with four stolen bases.
Derek Fisher (2014): The Astros selected Fisher in the first round of the 2014 MLB Draft (37th overall) out of the University of Virginia. He played in 41 of the 76 ValleyCats games that year, hitting .303 with 2 HR and 16 RBI. He also stole 17 bases, while being caught four times. Fisher started all but two games in left field, helping the 'Cats finish first in the Stedler Division. He was named a New York-Penn League All-Star, and in the playoffs that year batted .375 (6-for-16) with 1 HR and 3 RBI.
Joe Musgrove (2014): Born in the San Diego, California area, Joe Musgrove was drafted out of high school in 2011 by the Toronto Blue Jays in the first round (46th overall). He was traded to Houston in 2012, and was a key member of the ValleyCats in 2014. That year, he was named a Baseball America Short Season All-Star after ranking tied for second in the NYPL in strikeouts (67), third in innings (77) and WHIP (0.96), and eighth in ERA (2.81), while going 7-1 in 15 games. He was named the ValleyCats team MVP in a season that saw the 'Cats capture their third straight Stedler Division title, finishing just one win shy of a New York-Penn League championship.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.