Fresno OF Straw called up for glove, situational speed
On Saturday, the Astros called up speedy righthanded-hitting outfielder
Myles Straw from Class AAA Fresno,.and he was inserted as a pinch runner in the seventh inning.
Straw batted .291 with 70 stolen bases, 102 strikeouts and a .734 OPS across two levels of the minors.
Kyle Tucker might be the organization’s best prospect at the plate, but the Astros have envisioned Straw — a 5-10, 180-pound center fielder from California who turns 24 in October — boosting their chances on the bases.
“When we talk about our players in the spring, we talk about them bringing something to the team that somebody else doesn’t,” manager A.J.
Hinch said. “With Myles it was always about baserunning and base stealing.”
The organization wanted Straw to be more aggressive with steals this season. He nearly doubled his total from 2017.
“As you get toward the big leagues, there’s more experience and control of the running game, controlling stolen bases,” said Hinch, a former major league catcher. “Everybody knows when he gets on first, he’s probably going. So we had to challenge him to be more aggressive.”
Straw batted .327 in Class AA and struggled at .257 in Class AAA.
Hinch lauded Straw’s defense at all outfield positions and expects his greatest value to be in pinch-run opportunities.
“To have him as the potential tying run is huge,” Hinch said.
The Fresno Grizzlies might finish their postseason by Sunday evening. If so, Hinch said the Astros might call up “another player or two,” depending on the health and performance of players on the major league roster.
McCullers’ recovery smooth
Starter Lance McCullers Jr. (right forearm) completed a 20-pitch bullpen session and reached a maximum velocity of 94 mph at the Astros’ spring training facility in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Saturday, according to A.J. Hinch.
“He actually faced a hitter,” Hinch said.
McCullers mixed in all of his pitches.
“Felt really, really good in the end,” Hinch said. “We’ll repeat that again on Tuesday.”
McCullers has missed 36 games since exiting a start against the Dodgers on Aug. 4.
The Astros plan for him to return as part of the bullpen in preparation for the playoffs. The righthander had a 2.61 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 201⁄3 innings last postseason.
Rotation set for Mariners
Manager A.J. Hinch set his rotation for the Astros’ three-game series against the Mariners that starts Monday at Minute Maid Park. The matchups will be:
Framber Valdez (3-1, 2.66 ERA) vs. Wade LeBlanc (8-4, 3.56); Gerrit Cole (14-5, 2.88) vs. Mike Leake (10-9, 3.99); Dallas Keuchel (11-10, 3.57) vs. TBD. Mariners lefthander
James Paxton (11-6, 3.83) might return from the disabled list for Wednesday’s finale.