Wojciechowski Ready To Take Next Step For Astros





HOUSTON—After introducing himself to Astros fans as somewhat of a power pitcher, Asher Wojciechowski had one warning.

"I might not have that power fastball," Wojciechowski said.

The righthander was referring more to his profile with the four-seam fastball, the slider and the changeup, which call to mind the classic power arm. And even with the fastball in the low 90s, Wojciechowski has fashioned a nice start to his Astros career after coming over in the 10-player trade that sent J.A. Happ, Brandon Lyon and David Carpenter to the Blue Jays.

Called "Wojo" for short, he was one of 15 prospects that the Astros acquired in five separate July deals as they cleaned house at the major league level, trading six big leaguers who represented 75 percent of their payroll (though they did kick in some salary in three deals).

The 6-foot-4, 235-pound Wojciechowski is arguably the top pitching prospect acquired, a supplemental first-round pick of the Blue Jays in 2010 who was repeating high Class A. As has happened a lot in the once-depleted Astros farm system, a call to Houston also meant a promotion, and Wojciechowski immediately moved up to Double-A Corpus Christi.

Using a slider that he has rediscovered from his college days and admittedly without his best changeup, his first four Double-A starts went well, with a 3.10 ERA and 18 strikeouts (and 12 walks) in 20 innings.

He described the promotion as "just having to mix up my counts and mix up my pitches especially not working from behind."

It's also another step on his path to the major leagues, which general manager Jeff Luhnow laid out in one possible timeline.

"Wojciechowski, depending on how he finishes the year," he said, "is a guy we would consider bringing to camp next year and exposing him to our major league staff. I can see him being in our rotation toward the end of next year."

Space Shots

• Both outfielder Marc Krauss and outfielder/third baseman Bobby Borchering, the big bats acquired from the Diamondbacks for Chris Johnson, were sent to Corpus Christi. However, Luhnow said that Krauss should get to Triple-A this year. Krauss backed that up with a Texas League player of the week award in his first week in the system.

• Supplemental first-round pick Lance McCullers was promoted to Rookie-level Greeneville after the righthander put together a 1.64 ERA in four starts in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League.