CBS Houston – It’s been a busy 24 hours for the Astros top brass. In that span of time, they promoted infielder/outfielder Tony Kemp, third basemen Colin Moran and designated hitter/catcher -who they sent down to re-learn how to catch- Evan Gattis. They moved Preston Tucker back to triple-A, put Carlos Gomez on the 15 day DL (bruised left rib cage) and designated triple-A starting pitcher Asher Wojciechowski for assignment.
It seems Carlos Gomez being placed on the DL was the snowball that started rolling downhill which caused the Astros to make all the rest of the moves.
“Carlos needed a break,” Astros G.M. Jeff Luhnow told sportsradio610.com, “he had a rib injury he sustained in the Oakland a few weeks ago, he’s been playing through it, (he) re-aggravated on Sunday and was going to miss at least the WhiteSox series and we felt like we couldn’t go without another player.”
Luhnow also told 610 that Tucker was moved back to the minors in order to get everyday at-bats.
So with two holes left vacant in the lineup, two guys had to get brought up. Enter top prospects Kemp and Moran. According to MLB pipeline, they are rated as the Astros 14th and sixth best prospects.
Kemp the Astros drafted in the fifth round in 2013, is a guy who can play a lot of different positions (leftfield, centerfield and second base) and play them all well defensively. Moran who was acquired in the Jarred Cosart deal with the Marlins in 2014, is a former top 10 pick from the 2013 draft and has been considered the team’s future at third base since dealing for him.
Kemp has drawn more than a few comparisons to big leaguer and now teammate Jose Altuve, most due to both guys short stature. While Kemp may not be the .330 hitter Altuve is it doesn’t mean he’s a slouch. Kemp in his minor league career is a .303 hitter with a .394 on-base percentage.
“Tony’s (Kemp) able to make consistent contact, he doesn’t drive the ball as much as Jose (Altuve) does so we aren’t going to see the home run power,” Luhnow said, “he certainly should be able to make consistent contact, he doesn’t strike out a lot, he does take his walks, he pretty hard to pitch to cause he’s got good bat control and he’s a small guy.”
Moran who grantland.com last year dubbed as part of the Astros “Death Star” seemed like he was going to part of the team this year sooner rather than later. He isn’t going to be your monster 30-40 home run third basemen but he’s going to get on base and drive guys in.
“He isn’t flashy, he isn’t very loud, but he definitely goes about his business and does things on the field that are important, “Luhnow said, “he hits a lot of doubles, he hits for a high average, he fields all the balls that are thrown to him, he’s got a really good arm.”
The Astros have been struggling and have been missing something. Maybe Moran and Kemp can provide the team the spark that they have been missing.
“We got a couple new faces, but I feel good our team that we’re going to be putting on field against the WhiteSox,” Luhnow said.