Six Astros are on the American League All-Star roster and all six played in Corpus Christi on their path to the big leagues. Len Hayward
Hooks manager Rodney Linares had his day made Friday afternoon.
And it was because another one of his former players, former Hooks pitcher Chris Devenski, was named to the American League All-Star roster.
Devenski was the sixth Houston Astros player to earn a spot on this year’s roster and all six of them have something in common in that they played at one time in Corpus Christi.
“I woke up this morning with the news that Devo made the All-Star team and that kind of made my day,” Linares said. “I’m happy-go-lucky today.”
Hooks’ starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel delivers to the first inning.
Major League Baseball pundits have praised the Astros’ deep farm system for years and now that seems to be coming to fruition with a 59-29 record and leading the American League West by 16 games. Three Astros will start — Jose Altuve, George Springer and Carlos Correa — as the team enters the annual All-Star break battling for the best record in baseball.
Joining those four on the team are pitchers Lance McCullers Jr. and Dallas Keuchel, and the six All-Star selections are a franchise record.
But what makes the choices that much more special is they are players developed through the Astros system, and Hooks fans had a chance to see their growth.
ST. LOUIS, MO – JULY 26: Jose Altuve #27 of the Houston Astros throws to first base against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on July 26, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals beat the Astros 3-1. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
“It tells you that we did a lot of hard work, and I think (Astros general manager) Jeff Luhnow and his crew what they did up there drafting those guys and kind of allowing us to put our hands on those guys,” Linares said. “Also all the credit goes to the players because they are the ones that play. It’s an amazing feeling to look at all of them.”
Astros President of Business Operations Reid Ryan said the process to rebuild the franchise’s farm system started when owner Jim Crane took over the team in 2011.
Hooks pitcher Chris Devenski pitches against Midland Wednesday Sept. 9, 2015 at Whataburger Field in Corpus Christi.
Ryan said the club could have gone one of three ways in building a team:
Spend money on high-priced free agents each year “using the other teams as a sort of their farm system,” Ryan said.The way the St. Louis Cardinals have done it with a strong farm system complemented by free agents.Rebuilding every year or as Ryan put it “with one foot out of rebuilding and trying to compete.”
Former Hooks shortstop Carlos Correa
“We looked at the Cardinals and thought that’s the type of organization we want to be,” Ryan said at a recent stop at Whataburger Field in June. “(Luhnow) made a lot of tough decisions early trading big name players for draft picks and prospects.”
Linares said the players that are All-Stars have developed chemistry through the system and with the Hooks, and all have experienced success at the minor league level. Devenski, for example, helped lead the Hooks to the Texas League playoffs in 2015.
Developing players is the top priority for minor league teams but winning goes along with that development. Linares said he managed or coached all six at one time or another during his career with the Astros organization.
“They are good because they are good players but they are also good because they feed off each other and have a common goal,” Linares said. “They won all the way through the minor leagues and they are showing that it works and helps and they are doing it in the big leagues.”
George Springer reached second base on a error on a hard-hit ball past the Missions’ third baseman in the first inning at Whataburger Field in Corpus Christi, Wednesday, June 19, 2013. Domingo Santana then drove a home run into left center field for an early 2-0 lead.
Six former Hooks were named to the American League All-Star team for the Astros.
Carlos Correa (2015)
Jose Altuve (2011)
George Springer (2012-13)
Dallas Keuchel (2010-11)
Lance McCullers Jr. (2015)
Chris Devenski (2014-15)
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