• Royals first baseman of the future Eric Hosmer has hit more home runs (nine) in 107 Double-A at-bats than he did in 375 at-bats for high Class A Wilmington earlier this year (seven). Yesterday, he went 1-for-4 with a home run, his sixth at home. The 20-year-old Hosmer is an elite hitting and power prospect, sure, but like all his Northwest Arkansas teammates, he benefits from a home park that has been quite friendly for hitters. This season, the Naturals have hit an astounding .316/.397/.509 at home and .263/.337/.393 on the road. In terms of OPS, that's a 175-point difference. Also, Northwest Arkansas batters enjoyed a discernible advantage in ’09 (+40 OPS points at home) and ’08 (+87).
• The Astros have turned over the keys to rookie catcher Jason Castro this season as they play out the string. He hasn't hit much, but then he's only one of four Astros with at least 100 at-bats to post a sub-.600 OPS. (The three others are regular third baseman Pedro Feliz, shortstop Tommy Manzella and catcher Humberto Quintero.) This offensive ineptitude convinced Houston to trade away franchise icons Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman to help restock the system. Three of the five players they acquired in those deals—Brett Wallace, J.A. Happ and Mark Melancon—are ready to help right away.
The next big league reinforcement, like Castro, might come from the Astros' own ranks. Jordan Lyles, the 19-year-old righthander, makes his Triple-A debut today for Round Rock after going 7-9, 3.12 in 20 starts for Double-A Corpus Christi. He struck out 115 and walked 35 over 127 innings.
• Angels right fielder Randal Grichuk homered as part of a 2-for-4 showing for low Class A Cedar Rapids. He's gone 4-for-14 (.286) with a double, a triple and a homer for the Kernels in August as he returns from injury.
• Catcher Jesus Montero went 3-for-4 with a walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth and two RBIs yesterday for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, keeping time with the torrid pace he's set this summer. In July and August, he's hit .363/.455/.657 (37-for-102) with seven homers, nine doubles and an 18-to-21 walk-to-strikeout ratio.
• Lefties David Holmberg and Will Smith have fared better with their new organizations thus far. The 19-year-old Holmberg migrated from one Rookie-level Pioneer League club to another, going from Great Falls to Missoula in the White Sox-Diamondbacks trade involving Edwin Jackson. Ironically, Holmberg has faced off with his old Great Falls teammates in both his starts for the Raptors. He shut them out for six innings, striking out six, yesterday, while yielding six runs (three earned) over five innings last Wednesday.
The Angels included Smith in their trade for the Royals' Alberto Callaspo. Having been hit hard in Double-A, Smith headed back to high Class A Wilmington in the Royals system. He struck out five for the Blue Rocks yesterday in giving up four runs (three earned) in 5 2/3 innings. In three starts for Wilmington, he's gone 1-1, 4.34 with 14 whiffs, three walks and three home runs alowed in 18 2/3 innings.
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