The Oklahoma City RedHawks are seeking to make a post All-Star break run like they did last season when they won 17 consecutive home games to soar to the division title.
Oklahoma City currently trails Omaha by 21/2 games in the Pacific Coast League American Northern division and is two games behind Iowa.
Elite prospects such as outfielder George Springer, first baseman Jon Singleton and pitcher Jared Cosart already are helping the Houston Astros, but six of Houston’s top 20 prospects are on Oklahoma City’s roster.
A look at the upcoming eight-game homestand that begins Thursday night at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark and players to follow the second-half of the season.
OF Preston Tucker: The University of Florida product has a chance to be the Astros’ everyday right fielder. The power-hitter accumulated 103 RBIs last season. He has ripped 20 home runs and has 57 RBIs this season, including three homers with OKC following a June promotion to Triple-A.
OF Domingo Santana: Nearing his 22nd birthday, Santana has a ton of talent. Included in the Astros’ mega Hunter Pence trade a few years ago, Santana is hitting .299 with 13 homers and 54 RBIs with the RedHawks, but Houston’s No. 6 prospect must adjust after going 0-for-13 with 11 strikeouts during a brief call-up to the Astros.
POSSIBLE SEPTEMBER CALLUPS
C Max Stassi: A power-hitting prospect that is solid behind the plate, Stassi, the Astros’ No. 10 prospect, has averaged 15 homers a season in the minors. With Jason Castro in Houston there’s no need to rush Stassi.
P Nick Tropeano: He’s not as highly touted as some of the other pitchers, but the Astros’ No. 15 prospect was selected AS a PCL All-Star. Tropeano is 6-4 with a 2.38 ERA with the RedHawks.
ON THE RADAR
P Tommy Shirley: Earning a promotion to Triple-A days before the All-Star break, the unheralded pitcher was 7-3 with a 1.88 ERA in Double-A. Still building up following Tommy John surgery a few years ago, Shirley limited Double-A hitters to a .201 average.
P Kevin Chapman: The 26-year-old right-hander has a sparkling 0.82 ERA and six saves but must develop better command (24 walks in 33 innings).
SEEKING A TURNAROUND
SS Jonathan Villar: An ultra-talented shortstop, Villar must prove he can hit consistently. Villar, 23, recently surpassed 200 career stolen bases but was sent back to OKC after batting .200 in roughly 225 at bats with the Astros.
P Asher Wojciechowski: A former first-round pick (41st overall), “Wojo” got a late start due to a ribcage injury. The Astros No. 12 prospect has allowed 38 hits in 24 innings, going 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA.
P Michael Foltynewicz: The big right-hander who can hit 100 mph on radar guns has slumped, falling to 7-6 with a 4.56 ERA, but he was dominant during a seven-start stretch earlier in the season.
NASHVILLE (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday): The Sounds, the Milwaukee Brewers’ Triple-A affiliate, leads the PCL Southern division by 11/2 games over Round Rock. A familiar name is outfielder Jeremy Hermida, a 2002 first-round pick (11th overall). Hermida, now age 30, has slammed 65 homers in roughly 2,000 Major League at-bats and has hit 87 homers in the minors. Mike Fiers, a 29-year-old right-hander, has recorded 111 strikeouts in 86 innings (6-5, 2.52 ERA). First baseman Hunter Morris (.274, 10 homers, 37 RBIs) is Milwaukee’s No. 10 prospect.
ROUND ROCK (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday): Texas’ Triple-A affiliate has been decimated by call-ups to fill in for the injury-riddled Rangers. Catcher J.P. Arencibia, a former first-round pick (21st overall in 2007), has crushed 14 homers in only 48 games with the Express. He was sent down because he’s a lifetime .208 hitter in the majors. Outfielder Michael Choice, who has a .290 career average in the minors, was recently demoted after hitting only .177 with eight homers in 200 at bats with the Rangers. Infielder Luis Sardinas, 21, is battling to join the Rangers’ infield at second, short or third.