The very first thing a player sees when he make his way from the clubhouse to the field at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium in Troy is a sign that says, “From the Joe to the Show.”
For many prospects in the Houston Astros organization, their journey to the majors begins right here in the 518 with the Tri-City ValleyCats, the short season single A affiliate team for the ‘Stros. The current Astros team who is having a stellar playoff performance actually has five former ValleyCats on their roster, giving local baseball fans a reason to root for the Astros –especially in the event they beat out the beloved New York Yankees.
Minor league baseball is one of the better ways to spend a summer night. Watching Americas pastime sport with super cheap tickets, an array of awesome food and drinks and on top of all of that, you get to see you, talented players right in your backyard as they move up the ranks. So if you’ve been to a ValleyCats game, especially one within the last five years or so, you might remember some of these guys in the big leagues today:
Jose Altuve: Played for the ValleyCats in 2009 for 21 games
Altuve is the face of the Astros organization, standing at 5 foot 7 inches, he is the shortest player in the majors. But he’s been around long enough that we can’t let his height fool us. So far this year, he’s put together an MVP worthy season, leading in almost every offensive category. Altuve is also having a huge postseason with a recorded 13 hits, 3 home runs, 4 RBI’s, .565 batting average, and an off the charts 1.586 OPS.
Dallas Keuchel: Played for the ValleyCats in 2009 for 11 games
Keuchel is the ace pitcher for the Astros. Went 14-5 during the regular season, with a 2.90 ERA. Keuchel already picked up two wins in the playoff and is looking pretty untouchable from here on out.
George Springer: Played for the ValleyCats in 2011 for 8 games
Springer led the Astros in home runs with 34 during the regular season, with a .282 avg while knocking in 85 RBI’s.
Joe Musgrove: Played for the ValleyCats in 2014 for 15 games
Has a crazy collection of socks, and is definitely a pitcher to watch moving forward. Musgrove got called up as a relief pitcher in August 2016 and has made several appearances so far.
Derek Fisher- Played for the ValleyCats in 2014 for 41 games
Fisher hit a home run on his first at-bat after being called up by Houston in June 2017. His dad had an awesome reaction in the crowd that sports fans everywhere had their eyes on when it happened. He also played with local 518 player Branden Cogswell at University of Virginia, making it to the Cavaliers first appearance in the College World Series in 2014, ultimately losing to Vanderbilt before getting drafted by the Astros.
The Astros haven’t made it to the World Series since 2005, and if they beat the Yankees they’ll face the winner between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the defending World Series Champions the Chicago Cubs (who also have Ben Zobrist, another former ValleyCat).
I bleed blue, we all know that. I love the New York Yankees more than any other team out there, but having covered the ValleyCats and even some of the players that are currently on the Astros team, it’s tough not to root for them if the Yankees do lose to them in the American League Championship Series.
Astros took the first two games of the series as it now makes its way to the Bronx for games three, four, and five. First pitch for game three is tonight at 8:08pm. If you haven’t been watching you really should, fantastic baseball being played, pitchers duel with every base runner being the potential difference for each game.
Two Buttons Deep is a news & entertainment website based in upstate New York.
We don’t just post the news, we post stuff worth talking about…