Astros Final Report





Best Player: Talk to minor league managers and coaches who got to know Jose Altuve, and there's always that story of when they knew the 5-foot-6 second baseman would be a big leaguer.

For some, it was as early as 2009, when he hit .324/.408/.508 with Rookie-level Greeneville as a 19-year-old out of Venezuela. But after obliterating the high Class A California and Double-A Texas leagues this year at age 21, everyone knew his time had come.

Altuve opened 2011 by hitting .399/.443/.592 in 213 at-bats with Lancaster before going to Corpus Christi (.361/.388/.569 in 144 at-bats). He was hitting .283/.301/.378 in 180 at-bats with Houston.

Best Pitcher: Pitching coach Travis Driskill called it the only way to survive Lancaster. Righthander Jake Buchanan went 5-10, 3.97 while pitching at hitter-friendly Clear Channel Stadium in his first full season since being drafted out of North Carolina State in the eighth round last year. Buchanan, 21, worked off his sinker to compile a 2.31 ground out/air out ratio, to go with 102 strikeouts and 35 walks in 159 innings.

Keep An Eye On: Domingo Santana is not your average player to be named. But that's how the Astros landed the athletic right fielder from the Phillies in the Hunter Pence trade.

Just 19, the 6-foot-5, 200-pound Santana hit .382/.447/.662 with five homers and 21 RBIs in 68 at-bats with low Class A Lexington. The hot start came after hitting .269/.345/.431 with low Class A Lakewood before the trade. Santana had 120 strikeouts and 26 walks in 350 at-bats with Lakewood before slowing to 15 and six with Lexington.

SPACE SHOTS

• The Astros will send pitchers Dallas Keuchel, Chris Hicks, Josh Zeid and Jason Stoffel; first baseman Kody Hinze; and outfielders Jacob Goebbert and Jay Austin to the Arizona Fall League.

• J.D. Alleva was promoted from area scout to East Coast supervisor to replace Clarence Johns, who left to be the Rangers' national crosschecker.