Sinkerballer On The Rise

Astros lefty Doug Arguello has turned corner in Double-A





HOUSTON—For all the praise and all the hype that Jordan Lyles has received this year—and rightfully so as a 19-year-old in Triple-A—one of his former teammates at Double-A Corpus Christi was the Texas League ERA leader.

In his second year at Double-A, lefthander Doug Arguello had a 2.55 ERA in 127 innings of work. According to Hooks pitching coach Travis Driskill, the improvement has been the product of a change in mindset.

"He's buying into (the idea) that he has to throw the ball over the plate," Driskill said. "You just can't trick guys and get guys to swing and miss and chase the pitches. He's going after the hitters and making them put the balls in play that he wants them to put in play instead of trying to get them to fish."

The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Nicaraguan's most effective pitch has been his sinker, Driskill said, and he has come more over the top with it, allowing him to get more ground balls. He also had 100 strikeouts against 47 walks, an improvement over previous seasons.

"He'd always been somewhat wild within the strike zone, but his command has gotten better," assistant general manager Ricky Bennett said.

Arguello, 25, is the anti-Lyles, a slow-progressing veteran who has emerged over the last two seasons. He went 10-6, 3.30 in high Class A in 2008, then had a 3.36 ERA in 75 innings at Corpus Christi last season, though he missed much of the year due to injury.

His left elbow slowed him down again this season, and he was removed from his start on Aug. 6 as a precaution and placed on the disabled list, likely ending his season.

His ultimate role is still up in the air. Bennett sees him as a lefty specialist in the long run, while Hooks manager Wes Clements says Arguello can continue to succeed as a starter. His numbers against lefties and righties are similar, but Bennett said he thinks his deception from the left side will allow him to succeed in the big leagues.

SPACE SHOTS

Delino DeShields Jr., the No. 8 overall pick in this year's draft, moved up to Rookie-level Greeneville after making his professional debut in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. He was batting .291/.333/.382 in 55 at-bats between the two stops. He was playing in the outfield, but the Astros will begin his transition to second base in instructional league.

• For the second time this season, Greeneville came within one out of a no-hitter as Gabriel Garcia, Ryan Cole and Brian Streilein just missed on Aug. 20.