Astros' Laureano named AFL's Player of the Week

Houston's No. 29 prospect hits .571 in first four Fall League contests

Astros' Laureano named AFL's Player of the Week

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- After turning in a scorching first four games in the Arizona Fall League, Glendale Desert Dogs outfielder Ramon Laureano of the Houston Astros was named the AFL's Player of the Week.

But the Astros' No. 29 prospect is not content hitting .571 with two doubles, two triples, three RBIs and eight runs scored through the first week of games.

"I think I've done well but it's only been four games," he said. "Keep getting better -- that's always on my mind. Just continue to get better in every aspect: baserunning, hitting, defense, being a good teammate, stuff like that is what I'm focused on. There's still more games to play. Hopefully I can continue and keep working hard."

Over the first week, Laureano went 8-for-14 in four games. On Oct. 12, he helped the Desert Dogs claim their first win of the season by going 3-for-5 with a triple and a double, scoring twice and driving in a run in a 7-1 victory against the Mesa Solar Sox.

Laureano's showing in the first four games placed him among the Fall League leaders in a number of categories, including: average, hits (8), runs, triples, extra base hits (4), total bases (14) and stolen bases (3).

"I set goals," he said. "I really want to be an elite player. I'm never nervous because I put so much work in that when it comes to play, it's about having fun and competing. Whatever you worked on is going to show."

Laureano was drafted by the Astros with the No. 466 overall pick in the 16th round of the 2014 Draft out of Northeast Oklahoma A&M College. Following the Draft, he struggled at the plate, hitting .189 with Rookie-level Greeneville.

Since then, he hasn't looked back.

This season, Laureano hit .317/.426/.519 with 10 homers and 33 stolen bases over 80 games at Class A Advanced Lancaster to earn a promotion in late July to Double-A Corpus Christi, where he batted .323/.432/.548 with five homers and 10 stolen bases in 36 games while demonstrating an ability to play all three spots in the outfield. He was one of two players in all of Minor League Baseball to rack up 40 or more stolen bases and 15 or more homers, the other being MLB's No. 1 prospect, Yoan Moncada.

In Arizona, he's looking to build on that production, as well as learn a few tips from other team prospects.

"There are great teammates here," Laureano said. "I get to pick their minds a little bit, what they're doing with the other teams, coaches and coordinators. I'm able to pick up a few things to help me out and incorporate in my game."

Aside from the mix of different faces, Laureano is reunited with Astros hitting coach Darryl Robinson, who worked with him with the JetHawks before he moved up to Double-A.

The difference in Laureano's play from early June to October, Robinson said, is stark.

"He was a guy that couldn't really drive the ball," Robinson said. "Now he's getting to the point where that's all he does. I see a totally different guy now then I did in Lancaster."

Robinson said Laureano might see big league time sooner rather than later.

"He's going to play in the big leagues, there's no doubt in my mind," Robinson said. "I wouldn't be surprised if he's there next year. I don't make those decisions but I think he's a guy that can help the Astros win some ball games and that's what they're looking for -- guys who can do it all. He'll steal bags, he'll run through a wall, go through a fence, that's the type of guy I want on my ball club."

The 22-year-old from the Dominican Republic shies away from speaking about his strengths, but Robinson said there's a goofy side to him that his teammates appreciate.

"He's kind of a silly guy," Robinson said. "He does crazy things to keep guys loose. He may turn over a trash can or something at any point, just messing around trying to fire guys up. So he's got those leadership qualities that you like to see in a player. He does lead by example but he will say 'let's pick it up' to his teammates."

Others garnering consideration for the Player of the Week were Peoria infielder Josh VanMeter (Padres) and Mesa outfielder Greg Allen (Indians No. 19 prospect).

Nicole Vasquez is a senior journalism student at Arizona State University. This story is part of a partnership between MLB.com and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.