Astros MiLB Position Review: Left Field
Now that the season is over we will review each position in the minor league system. This week we move on to the left field position. For these list I am using the position the player played most in 2018.
Here are the previous position reviews:
Alvarez continued to see his stock as a prospect rise in 2018. He got off to a great start hitting .299 with 8 2B, 6 HR, 26 RBI in his first 27 games but then missed about a month after being hit in the hand by a pitch. He came back in mid June and finished his time in AA hitting .325 with 12 HR, 46 RBI and 168 wRC+ in 45 games. He was promoted to AAA where he had a .801 OPS with 8 HR in 43 games (111 wRC+). Overall he had a 139 wRC+ and reports were solid for his defense too.
2018 Stats: 88 G, .293 BA/.369 OBP/.534 SLG, 21 2B, 20 HR, 74 RBI, 42 BB/92 SO
Matijevic was a 2nd round pick in 2017 and struggled a bit following the draft. But he put together a very good 2018 season. He started the year in Quad Cities but make quick work hitting .354 with 10 XBH in 13 games. He spent the rest of the year in Buies Creek and showed off his power with 20 2B, 19 HR in 88 games (.513 SLG). Overall he posted a respectable 10.2 BB% and a very good 147 wRC+. He definitely showed his worth with the bat.
2018 Stats: 101 G, .277 BA/.350 OBP/.538 SLG, 26 2B, 4 3B, 22 HR, 62 RBI, 13 SB, 44 BB/113 SO
Beer was the Astros first round pick in 2018, but some people wondered how he would do with a wood bat. He put up numbers early proving them wrong so far. Beer started with Tri-City and had a 1.090 OPS in 11 games before being promoted to Quad Cities. There he had a .934 OPS in 29 games. He finished the season with Buies Creek posting a .746 OPS in 27 games. Through all three levels he had a 155 wRC+ and had just a 16.6 K%. Really excited to see what he does in 2019.
2018 Stats: 67 G, .304 BA/.389 OBP/.496 SLG, 14 2B, 12 HR, 42 RBI, 25 BB/49 SO
Julks is a local product drafted in 2017. He started the year in Quad Cities playing in 64 games and hitting .259 with a .720 OPS. He was promoted to Buies Creek and his numbers actually improved. In 61 High-A games he hit .282 with .820 OPS. Overall he finished with 30 2B, 30 SB, 10.6 BB%, and a 120 wRC+.
2018 Stats: 125 G, .270 BA/.351 OBP/.418 SLG, 30 2B, 4 3B, 10 HR, 62 RBI, 30 SB, 55 BB/108 SO
Rojas was the ultimate utility player in 2018. He played 39 games in LF, 22 at 2B, 20 at 1B, 17 at 3B, 10 at SS and 10 in RF. He destroyed the ball in Buies Creek posting a .921 OPS in 24 games including a perfect 12-12 in SB. He was promoted to Corpus Christi and had a .722 OPS in 106 games. Overall he had 34 doubles (2nd in the system), 8 HR, 38 stolen bases and 111 wRC+. He also posted 12.2 BB% and 16.0 K%.
2018 Stats: 130 G, .263 BA/.351 OBP/.408 SLG, 34 2B, 6 3B, 8 HR, 55 RBI, 38 SB, 68 BB/89 SO
THE REST OF THE PACK
Lacroix was drafted by the Astros in 2017 but didn’t debut until this season. He played in 76 games and had a .722 OPS. He was just 21 years old this season and had a 105 wRC+ overall. Something for him to build on for the 2019 season.
2018 Stats: 76 G, .256 BA/.323 OBP/.398 SLG, 11 2B, 6 3B, 5 HR, 28 RBI, 22 BB/78 SO
Benedetti spent the entire 2018 season with Corpus Christi. He missed a little bit of time but still played in 80 games. During those games he had a .365 OBP with a .808 OPS good for a 122 wRC+. He showed some power with 17 doubles and 8 homers in those 80 games.
2018 Stats: 80 G, .277 BA/.365 OBP/.443 SLG, 17 2B, 8 HR, 49 RBI, 11 SB, 39 BB/82 SO
The Astros are loaded in the outfield. Alvarez will probably have a chance to make his MLB debut next season. Beer and Matijevic are two very intriguing prospects. Both have questions about where they may play in the field but they are both valuable with the bat. The Astros have also built some depth with Julks, Benedetti, and the super utility in Rojas. Really excited to see what Matijevic and Beer do in AA next season.
**Photo Credit: Tammy Tucker**