Former undrafted free agent Kody Hinze has a nice backstory. Zachary Levine wrote his up last season when Hinze broke out at Low A Lexington, along with J.D. Martinez. Hinze didn't get to go to Double-A right away, but really mashed in a good offensive environment in High A Lancaster. He was finally rewarded Monday by being called up to Corpus, joining Jose Altuve, Jonathan Villar, Martinez, Jimmy Paredes and Chris Wallace on one of the most exciting teams in the Astros system. Seriously, all this needs is to add Austin Wates to be the highest concentration in talent Houston's seen since the 2000 Round Rock Express.
So, what? Where's the pull to this story, besides being a well-deserved minor league promotion? Well, I saw a quote from the Astros farm director Fred Nelson that stuck out. When Brian McTaggart posted about the move on his MLBlog, he got the following quote from Nelson (we'll discuss it after the jump):
“Kody’s obviously swung the bat very well in what we know is an offensive environment, but the thing that’s impressive about Kody is he leads the league in walks [70 walks, 73 strikeouts] and has a good on-base percentage,” Astros director of player development Fred Nelson said. “Some of the peripheral things in the offensive ranks are real high, and I think that equates to pitch select and command of strike zone and the ability to take pitches an put the ball in play. He’s got the ability and tools to strive there [in Double-A].”
Um, I don't know about you, but that sounds an awful lot like the Astros are focusing on advanced metrics, even in the minor leagues. Peripheral stats? On-base percentage? I was shocked (SHOCKED) to read that.
For those of us who ascribe to sabermetrics, it's a wonder that an Astros executive would make statements like that. I know the Astros have someone on staff to crunch numbers for them, but I've never heard this kind of rhetoric from the front office before.
I like it. I like it a lot.