Astros Midseason Report





Best Player: Jose Altuve was going to be the organization's Biggest Leap Forward, but he didn't stop leaping. The 5-foot-6 infielder is seen as a more and more serious prospect every year, and his bat has continued to progress as he moves up in the minors.

Altuve, 21, was leading the minor leagues with a .399 average and 127 hits. He hit .399/.443/.592 in 213 at-bats with high Class A Lancaster and continued to rake after a promotion to Double-A Corpus Christi, batting .381/.400/.590 in 105 at-bats. He had 23 steals in 35 attempts over the two levels.

Biggest Leap Forward: David Carpenter is still learning, and the Astros front office will be the first to admit that. But the catcher-turned-reliever, who came to the Astros from the Cardinals as part of last year's Pedro Feliz trade, is more than just a big arm now.

Carpenter, 25, has ridden a 94 mph fastball, developing slider and changeup to the closer's job at Triple-A Oklahoma City, where he had not allowed a run in his first 19 appearances. He opened the season at Corpus Christi and now has worked his way into the conversation of who may be next to help out a struggling big league bullpen. He was 0-1, 1.91 overall with 14 saves, and he had 38 strikeouts against nine walks in 33 innings.

Biggest Disapointment: Delino DeShields Jr., the eighth overall pick in the 2010 draft, got the year off to a bad start, getting charged with drunken driving, underage possession of alcohol and driving the wrong way on a one-way street in January. According to a police report, he was leaving a gathering at a University of Georgia fraternity. DeShields, 18, pleaded not guilty to the charges. His next court appearance is scheduled for August.

Deshields was having an abysmal season at low Class A Lexington, batting .198/.286/.324 with 72 strikeouts in 262 at-bats. He did have six home runs and 14 stolen bases. His transition to second base also had rough spots, as he had already committed 11 errors.

SPACE SHOTS

• Shortstop Jio Mier, the Astros' first-round pick in 2009, was promoted to Lancaster after hitting .245/.354/.380 with Lexington while impressing on defense. Mier, 20, got off to a 9-for-31 start in the California League.

• Catcher Chris Wallace jumped over two other catching prospects in earning a promotion from Lexington to Corpus Christi. Wallace, 23, batted .285/.356/.550 with 14 home runs and 49 RBIs in 242 at-bats with the Legends.