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Astros Acquire Three Young Players in Trade With Oakland

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The Houston Astros have acquired first baseman Chris Carter, right-handed starting pitcher Brad Peacock and catcher Max Stassi from the Oakland A’s in exchange for shortstop Jed Lowrie and right-handed reliever Fernando Rodriguez, General Manager Jeff Luhnow announced today.

Two of the players acquired in the deal, Carter and Peacock, have Major League experience. Stassi, 21, and Peacock, 25, are top catching and pitching prospects, respectively.  Carter and Peacock have been added to the 40-man roster. Stassi will be in Spring Training as a non-roster invitee.

The deal is part of the Astros ongoing efforts to rebuild the organization with bright, young talent. The combined winning percentage of Houston’s domestic minor league clubs was tops in baseball in 2012 after finishing last in 2010 and 2011.  This morning, ESPN.com’s Keith Law listed the Astros as the fourth-best minor league system after ranking them 27th prior to the 2012 season. Law has the St. Louis Cardinals listed as the top system.

“This trade gives us power, pitching and catching,” Luhnow commented. “Three valuable commodities that will help improve our organization.”

The right-handed hitting Carter, 26, hit 16 home runs with 39 RBI in just 67 games for the N.L. West Division champion Oakland A’s in 2012 with a .350 on-base-pct. and a .514 slugging pct. He played the majority of his games at first base for the A’s last season, but also saw duty as a designated hitter.  He has also started 22 games in left field in his ML career.

Carter (6-4, 244), who has played parts of the last three seasons (2010-12) with the A’s big club, has had an outstanding minor league career, twice winning Oakland’s Organizational Player of the Year Award (2008-09). In 2008 at Single A Stockton, he tallied 39 HR, 32 doubles, 104 RBI and 101 runs scored while posting a .569 slugging pct. In 2009, he hit a combined .329 at Midland (AA) and Sacramento (AAA) with 28 HR and 115 RBI with a .422 on-base-pct. and a .570 slugging pct. en route to earning Texas League Player of the Year honors. In 826 career minor league games, Carter has a .535 slugging pct. and a .913 OPS.

Peacock posted a 12-9 record in 28 appearances (25 starts) at Triple A Sacramento in 2012 with 139 strikeouts in 134.2 innings of work. He pitched well in a brief Major League stint in 2011 while with the Washington Nationals, going 2-0 in three appearances (two starts) with an 0.75 ERA (1ER/12IP) while allowing just seven hits for a .167 opponents batting average.  Peacock , who was acquired by the A’s as part of the multi-player deal that sent left-handed pitcher Gio Gonzalez to the Nationals, was ranked by Baseball America as Oakland’s top pitching prospect for 2013.

In 2011 while in the Nationals system, Peacock was one of the top starters in minor league baseball, posting a 15-3 mark with a 2.39 ERA in 25 combined appearances at Double A Harrisburg (10-2) and Triple A Syracuse (5-1) en route to earning Washington’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year and Eastern League Pitcher of the Year honors. He allowed just 98 hits in 146.2 innings of work for a .188 opponents average. Peacock also was named a Baseball America Minor League All-Star in 2011 and played in the All-Star Futures Game.

The 21-year-old Stassi, who was originally selected by Oakland in the fourth round of the 2009 June Draft, hit .268 with 15 HR and 45 RBI in 84 games at Single A Stockton in 2012 en route to being named a MiLB.com Organization All-Star. Stassi, who was in Major League Spring Training camp as a non-roster invitee in 2012, has been listed as the A’s top catching prospect by Jonathan Mayo (mlb.com), John Sickels (Baseball Prospect Book) and others. In 2010, he was named as the Best Defensive Catcher in the A’s organization by Baseball America.

Lowrie hit .244 in 97 games for the Astros in 2012 with 16 home runs and 42 RBI after being acquired in an offseason trade with the Red Sox. Rodriguez was 2-10 in Houston last season in 71 appearances out of the bullpen with a 5.37 ERA.

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