While Astros fans at the big league level are getting a taste of what the farm system can produce in the form of George Springer currently, there was plenty of action on Saturday to whet the appetites further for those hungry for more.
The apparent next in line for a callup, first baseman Jon Singleton, has continued to make Triple-A Pacific Coast League pitching look like batting practice. The No. 48 ranked prospect on MLB.com's Top 100 list and No. 4 on the Astros' Top 20 has been on an absolute tear, especially with the long ball. On Saturday in Memphis, Singleton homered and drove in three runs in a 6-2 Oklahoma City win over the Redbirds.
The long ball was the sixth Singleton has hit in the past 10 days. He now leads all of Minor League Baseball in RBIs with 23, and he's tied for second in home runs with seven. He's tied for the lead in extra-base hits (14), while he's second in total bases (52) and third in slugging percentage (.776). In his last 10 games, Singleton has hit .409/.469/.955 with six homers and 16 RBIs.
Singleton is far from the only Astros prospect who made some noise on Saturday. There was plenty of action to watch down in the Class A Advanced California League as well.
No. 1 Astros prospect (No. 8 overall) Carlos Correa went 3-for-3 with a double, a triple and two runs scored. The former No. 1 overall Draft pick, hitting third in the Lancaster lineup, is now hitting .281/.338/.469 over his first 16 California League games.
His offensive worked helped support another fine pitching performance by No. 9 prospect Vincent Velasquez. Last week's Pipeline Pitching Prospect of the Week went five shutout innings to improve his record to a perfect 4-0 on the season. Velasquez gave up just one hit and three walks while striking out four. The 2010 second-round Draft pick now has a 1.29 ERA over 21 innings, having allowed just seven hits while striking out 23.
-- Jonathan Mayo
Prospect DeShields sidelined by cheek fracture
OAKLAND -- Astros outfield prospect Delino DeShields Jr. is expected to be out several weeks after suffering a broken cheekbone when he was hit in the face by a 90-mph fastball in Double-A Corpus Christi's game in Frisco, Texas, on Friday night.
Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said Saturday that DeShields, the Astros' seventh-ranked prospect, has a non-displaced maxillary sinus fracture in his left cheek. DeShields was to be further evaluated later Saturday, but the team didn't know how long he'd be out.
"He's lucky, considering," Hooks manager Keith Bodie said. "It could have been horrific, could have been catastrophic. He never saw the ball out of the pitcher's hand and took a 90-mph fastball right in the face. You can imagine how lucky we are that he's only got a fracture of his cheekbone. His head looks like a beach ball right now."
Bodie said DeShields was released from the hospital early Saturday morning and spent the night at the team hotel, where teammates kept a close eye on him. Bodie said DeShields was resting with no problems, other than some major swelling.
To anyone that is concerned as you can see I'm doing fantastic! Blessed to see another day! Always smiling ??ol pic.twitter.com/C5koD0Z5t9- Delino DeShields (@LinoDeShields) April 19, 2014
"I'm sure that when we get back to Corpus they may want to take a look at him in Houston and go from there," Bodie said. "He's going to be around us today, and we need to keep an eye on him. He did OK through the night, and that's good news. Hopefully he's on the road back to being mended."
Bodie suggested that the fact DeShields didn't see the pitch could be a silver lining.
"So it doesn't leave any lasting impressions imprinted in his mind in the future, where he might be leery," Bodie said. "On the other hand, it was just a horrible thing to see. It's going to be a very uncomfortable road back for him."
DeShields, 21, went 1-for-3 and is hitting .259 with two homers and four RBIs this season as the Hooks' starting center fielder.
DeShields hit .317 with five homers, 54 RBIs and 51 stolen bases last season at Class A Lancaster. Following the season, he made the move back to center field after playing a few seasons at second base.
Springer reaches out to injured DeShields
OAKLAND -- As one of his closest friends and a former roommate of Delino DeShields Jr., Astros outfielder George Springer took some time late Friday to talk via phone with DeShields, who sustained a fractured cheekbone when he was hit in the face by a pitch while playing for Double-A Corpus Christi.
"I talked to him just to see if he was doing OK, and make sure he was all right, and he's in good spirits and he wants to get back out there," Springer said. "He knows that he's going to have to hang out for about a month or so."
DeShields was placed on the disabled list and is expected to miss a few weeks of action. Springer said he couldn't tell anything was wrong with DeShields while talking to him.
"He seemed like he was in good spirits," Springer said. "He didn't really say anything bad about it. He just said it happened and he just said he got hit. I didn't really see it until he sent me a picture, and it looks bad. But he's a tough kid. He'll be fine."
Astros manager Bo Porter said he sent DeShields a text message.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with him and we hope that he recovers and everything is OK," Porter said. "It's always very concerning when you get hit in the face area. A lot can happen there."
Venezuelan Astros root for NBA countryman
OAKLAND -- Astros teammates and Venezuela natives Marwin Gonzalez, Jose Altuve and Jesus Guzman were focused on watching Saturday's NBA playoff game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Toronto Raptors while in the clubhouse Saturday morning.
The three aren't huge NBA fans, but the game featured the lone Venezuelan player in the NBA -- Greivis Vasquez of the Raptors.
"We met like four years ago when I was playing winter ball and he was watching my team in Venezuela, Caracas," Gonzalez said. "Since then, we've talked and had a relationship."
When the Astros were in Toronto earlier this month, several of the team's Venezuelan players met Vasquez at the team's hotel and stayed up until 4 a.m. talking about life and sports.
"I support every single person from my country, whatever he's doing here," Altuve said. "He's doing a really good job with the Toronto Raptors, and I wish him the best of luck."
Gonzalez said Vasquez has a huge following in Venezuela because he's the lone NBA player from the country.
"Everybody in Venezuela roots for him and is paying attention to what he does and how he does every day," Gonzalez said. "If you think about it, MLB players, we have like 70 maybe [from Venezuela]. He's the only one [in the NBA]. Everyone's watching."