Astros 2018 : Abraham Toro-Hernandez, The Most Interesting Man On The Diamond

Revue de Web

Texte de Brad Kyle publié sur le site Internet "The Runner Sport", le 11 octobre 2018

The Arizona Fall League sprouted in 1992 and generally provides an autumn haven for MLB’s hot prospects. It’s no different this year, as the Houston Astros have placed seven of their prized organizational players on the Scottsdale Scorpions.

While most in the AFL are Class AA and Class AAA players, teams can also opt to send two players below AA. Prospects from the Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Mets, San Francisco Giants, and Astros fill out the Scorpions’ roster this year, as they make Scottsdale Stadium their home.

The AFL season began October 9 and lasts six weeks, ending November 17 with the Championship Game. A mid-season Fall Stars Game provides an exhibition of the league’s best on November 3.

Photo ci-dessus : L'élan d'Abraham Toro-Hernandez. (Photo : Hunter Reed)

Astros as Scorpions
Houston minor leaguers on the Scottsdale roster include pitchers Forrest Whitley (Astros’ second-ranked prospect, according to MLB Pipeline), JB Bukauskas (#8), Trent Thornton (#24), and Erasmo Pinales. Position players are Ronnie Dawson, Drew Ferguson, and Abraham Toro.

Myles Straw was penciled in but duty of a higher calling pressed him into action as the designated pinch runner in Houston’s recently-finished sweep of the Cleveland Indians in the American League Division Series.

Straw will likely be the victim of a numbers crunch, as Houston will need to carry at least one more pitcher for the best-of-seven ALCS vs the Boston Red Sox. In the event Straw does not make the Astros’ ALCS roster, look for him to join the Scorpions.

Most Interesting Man In AFL
A popular adult beverage uses an actor in its TV commercials portraying “The Most Interesting Man in the World,” a bearded, international bon vivant to whom all good things happen and whose singular essence we’re urged to envy and emulate. To wit, “his shirts never wrinkle,” and “he lives vicariously through himself.”

“He is fluent in all languages, including three that he only speaks.”

Abraham Toro-Hernandez, Houston’s 21st-ranked prospect, easily qualifies as one of the most interesting players in the Astros’ organization, starting with the fact that he can speak three languages fluently: French, English, and Spanish.

While a native of suburban Montreal, his family moved to eastern Canada from Venezuela (Jose Altuve’s home country) before he was born.

Abraham Toro (as he’s becoming more frequently known) was drafted in the fifth round by the Astros in 2016 out of Seminole State College in Oklahoma (the school attended by Houston DH Evan Gattis for half a season in 2006), where he batted .439/.545/.849 with more homers (20) than strikeouts (18) for the Trojans. The Astros deploy scouts to Oklahoma junior colleges more than most teams, so Toro’s numbers probably weren’t too widely known.

“He once ran a marathon because it was ‘on the way.'”

Even Toro’s defensive assignments while in the Houston organization have been curious, but just as quickly aborted. A 21-year-old third baseman, he’s had very brief stints at second base and catcher, all in an effort to add flexibility to his resume and hasten his ascent to the big leagues.

After all, AL MVP candidate Alex Bregman doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon, and Nick Tanielu, who has five years on Toro, stands in his 3B way at Triple-A Round Rock.

The 6’1″, 190-pounder even caught a little at Seminole State and when the Astros gave him more time behind the plate last year, they were impressed at how he naturally shortened his arm action to make quicker throws. His receiving, it was deemed by Houston’s front office, had a long way to go, and they decided to focus on developing his bat rather than continuing to improve his catching skills.

Toro even saw time at another base in 2017, serving as full season Class A Quad Cities’ regular second baseman during the Midwest League playoffs.

Scouting grades (20-80 scale): Hit: 45 | Power: 45 | Run: 45 | Arm: 60 | Field: 50 | Overall: 45

“If he were to pat you on the back, you would list it on your resume.”

A switch-hitter, Toro, much like Houston’s do-everything utility man Marwin Gonzalez, has a better swing from the left side but has improved his right-handed stroke.

After going without a long ball in his pro debut, he started incorporating his legs more into his swing and went deep 15 times in 2017. Though he batted just .249 in his first two pro seasons (rookie league and two Class A levels), he has made consistent contact and shown some aptitude for squeezing out walks.

“On offense, I’ve been able to control more of the strike zone. I don’t chase as much as I used to do,” Toro recently revealed to What The Heck Bobby’s Jayne Hansen.

Further, Toro used his 2018 to work on “just being an overall more complete hitter. I think I’ve got the power. I’ve got the power numbers, but I don’t want to be just an all or nothing hitter. I just want to be more complete and still hit for average and power.”

Toro split this past season between Houston’s Class A-Advanced Buies Creek Astros (the team moves to Fayetteville for the 2019 season) and Double-A Corpus Christi.

With a slash line of .257/.361/.473 with 20 doubles and 14 home runs, he led the Buies Creek team in OPS for much of the season in his 83 games and was in the top 10 in the Midwest League in that category. His 45 walks against 62 Ks helped him compile an OBP of .361.

Jayne Hansen spoke with Buies Creek hitting coach Ben Rosenthal earlier this season about Toro’s approach at the plate: “He can be 0-for-2 and he’ll end up taking a walk. He’s getting himself on base. That shows that he’s swinging at good pitches. Sometimes he doesn’t always do what he wants, but when he can mix in walks, and you can put the barrel to the ball like he does consistently, good things happen.”

In his 50 games for Corpus, Toro slipped to a .230 but hit 15 doubles and two homers. His on-base percentage dipped to a .317, with walks sinking to just 17 to his 46 strikeouts.

“He’s considered a national treasure in countries he’s never visited.”

Telling Hansen about his interests off the field, Toro intoned, “I just like to relax. I like to watch movies and just go to restaurants. I like trying new food. It’s kind of a hobby, like trying food of different countries. That’s the kind of thing that I like.”

Abraham Toro will likely begin 2019 back at Corpus Christi, not only to work on cutting down his strikeouts and improving his eye at the plate, but Tanielu, like most AAA players in the Houston system, is blocked at the big league level by a far superior player.

Marked improvement, however, will allow him to test his batting eye in central Texas, at the Astros’ AAA Round Rock Express, mid-season.

Revue de Web publiée par Jacques Lanciault.

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