Minor League Baseball named the Houston Astros organizational All-Stars for the 2022 season Wednesday. Among the 12 players named, three were in the dugout in October and November for the Astros’ second World Series.
Catcher: Yainer Diaz
Starting the season with Double-A Corpus Christi, Díaz crushed the Texas League, posting an .871 OPS with nine home runs and 13 doubles in 57 games. The 24-year-old catcher continued that into Sugar Land with a .929 OPS and 16 home runs in just nine fewer games.
Díaz was promoted to the Major Leagues in September, and although he only appeared in six games, he stuck around on the taxi squad in the postseason. After being acquired from Cleveland at the 2021 trade deadline, Díaz was still in Single-A, showing how quickly he’s advanced through Houston’s system. He is currently playing in LIDOM.
First Base: Joey Loperfido
Loperfido owned the plate with Single-A Fayetteville, slashing .304/.399/.473 in 82 games played. The lefty carried that offense into High-A with a .986 OPS for the Asheville Tourists.
The Duke product battled a minor illness at the end of the season that pushed him to the injured list, but his versatility from first base to second base and center field heightened his value. Loperfido was also named a Carolina League All-Star.
Second Base: Luis Santana
Acquired in the 2019 trade that sent utilityman JD Davis to the New York Mets, Santana flew under the radar. The infielder improved his defense this season while posting his best line at the plate since 2018: .297/.386/.472.
Santana was selected by the Gigantes del Cibao in the 2022 LIDOM Draft, but he has not appeared for them this winter. The 23-year-old utilityman earned two monthly awards in the South Atlantic League this season, too.
Third Base: Corey Julks
Julks added third base and second base to his repertoire this season. The power-hitting outfielder looked to versatility to improve his chances of being added to the 40-man roster.
And although he wasn’t, the 26-year-old righty still clubbed 31 home runs and stole 22 bags for Triple-A Sugar Land, becoming just the first player in club history to eclipse 30/20 in one season.
Shortstop: David Hensley
Hensley’s versatility stretched to all four infield positions as well as left field. With Aledmys Díaz a free agent, Hensley became the most reliable utilityman off the bench on the roster.
The 26-year-old righty slashed .298/.420/.478 with Triple-A Sugar Land, walking in 17% of his plate appearances. Hensley saw most of his action in the Major Leagues as the designated hitter. He was also named a Pacific Coast League All-Star.
Outfield: Justin Dirden
After going unselected in the 2020 abbreviated draft, Dirden turned into a doubles machine in the Texas League. With the Corpus Christi Hooks, the lefty clubbed 32 doubles and 20 home runs en route to an August promotion to Sugar Land.
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Dirden struggled to post the same production with the Space Cowboys, slashing a .703 OPS in 32 games played. The 25-year-old righty played all three outfield positions last season. He was also named a Texas League All-Star.
Outfield: Kenedy Corona
Acquired in the trade that sent Jake Marisnick to the New York Mets in 2019, Corona finally caught fire in his second season in Houston’s system. The 22-year-old outfielder slashed .278/.362/.495 between Single-A and High-A.
Corona is currently playing for the Aguilas del Zulia in the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League this winter. The righty is 8-for-40 in 15 games played with two extra-base hits.
Outfield: Quincy Hamilton
Hamilton was another quick riser in 2022, starting the season in Fayetteville. The outfielder slashed .280/.396/.461 across three leagues, but he struggled to find the same success in the Texas League.
The 2021 fifth-round pick posted a .661 OPS with the Hooks, but Hamilton totaled 33 doubles and 19 home runs on the year.
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher: Hunter Brown
The award season finally came to a close for Brown. Also named the Astros Minor League Pitcher of the Year, the hard-throwing righty was also named the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year and a Pacific Coast League All-Star.
From being honored in the Futures Game to pitching in the postseason for Houston, Brown’s 2.55 ERA and 134 strikeouts in Sugar Land paid off. The righty will be in the Major Leagues for the Astros in 2023.
Left-Handed Starting Pitcher: Colton Gordon
Recovering from Tommy John surgery in 2021, Gordon did not make his professional debut until a year after he was drafted. The lefty posted a 2.35 ERA and eight walks to 78 strikeouts from the Florida Complex League to High-A.
The Central Florida product turned to the Arizona Fall League — where he turned a rocky start into Player of the Week honors by the end of the season. Gordon pitched for the Surprise Saguaros in the AFL championship, leading Astros prospects and others to a title-winning fall.
Relief Pitcher: Enoli Paredes
Paredes was looking for a fresh start at the trade deadline, after he was used sparsely in the Major Leagues over the last season and a half. While he remained in Houston’s system, the righty took home Pacific Coast League All-Star honors.
The former high-leverage option in 2020 turned to the Dominican Winter League this year to continue progressions of another opportunity in the spring. Paredes posted a 2.63 ERA with 81 strikeouts in 54.2 innings this season.
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