HOUSTON, TX - The Houston Astros Player Development Department has named April's Minor League Pitchers and Players of the Month at each of their four in-season minor league affiliates. These awards are chosen every month by the field staff of each team.
At Triple A Oklahoma City, LHP Rudy Owens was named Pitcher of the Month after going 2-0 with a 3.95 ERA (12ER/27.1IP) in seven games (four starts) in April. Owens struck out 26 batters and walked just two in his 27.1 innings while holding opponents to a .233 batting average. The club's Player of the Month honors went to IF Jon Singleton, who led the Triple A Pacific Coast League in homers (9) and ranked second in RBI (27) during the month of April. In his 26 total games in April, Singleton hit .293 (29x99) while adding six doubles, one triple and a 1.045 OPS (.398 OBP/.646 SLG).
LHP Tommy Shirley was named Double A Corpus Christi's Pitcher of the Month after going 2-2 with a 1.27 ERA (4ER/28.1IP) and 34 strikeouts in six April games (four starts) as part of the Hooks piggy-back starting rotation. Shirley posted the third-lowest ERA in the Texas League during the month, striking out 34 batters and walking just four in his 28.1 innings. OF Preston Tucker earned the Hooks Player of the Month honors after hitting .295 (31x105) with nine doubles, six homers, 17 RBI and a .909 OPS (.357 OBP/.552 SLG) across 26 games in April. The 2012 seventh-round pick shared a tie for the Texas League lead in homers and RBI for the month, and led all league hitters in extra base hits (15) and total bases (58).
RHP Kyle Smith earned Class A Advanced Lancaster Pitcher of the Month honors after compiling a 4-0 record with a 2.60 ERA (8ER/27.2IP) and 31 strikeouts in seven games (three starts). Acquired by the Astros from Kansas City last season in the Justin Maxwell trade, Smith was promoted to Double A Corpus Christi after his strong month in the hitter-friendly California League. Lancaster's Player of the Month award went to 2B Tony Kemp, who leads all Astros minor leaguers in batting average (.325) and hits (38). A fifth round selection by the Astros in last year's draft, Kemp hit .311 (32x103) with seven doubles, three triples, two homers, 11 stolen bases and a .911 OPS (.416 OBP/.495 SLG) in 26 games in April for the JetHawks.
At Class A Quad Cities, RHP Gonzalo Sanudo was named the River Bandits April Pitcher of the Month after going 3-0 with a 0.50 ERA (1ER/18IP) and 14 strikeouts in five games (two starts) during the month. He gave up his first run of the season on April 27, which snapped a streak of 40.0 consecutive scoreless innings dating back to July 9 of last season. The Mexican-native was acquired by Houston from Minnesota in exchange for OF Mike Kvasnicka on March 25, 2013, and was converted to a starter this season. The Quad Cities Player of the Month award went to OF Brett Phillips, who hit .301 (25x83) with three triples, two homers and an .840 OPS (.394 OBP/.446 SLG) in 23 games in April. Phillips was a sixth round draft selection by the Astros in 2012.