East County Sports

Former Hiller Musgrove earning attention in Double-A

Special to EastCountySports.com

Houston Astros pitching prospect Joe Musgrove, a 22-year-old from Grossmont High, is having an excellent season, although not many people outside of Astros circles are paying much attention, yet.

Drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the supplemental 1st round (46th) of the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft from Grossmont HS (El Cajon, CA).

Musgrove was traded to Houston in July 2012. His progress was slow at first, but quite interesting. He posted a forgettable 4.41 ERA in rookie ball in 2013, but with a sharp 30/4 K/BB in 33 innings. In 2014 he improved the ERA to 2.81 for Tri-City in the New York-Penn League, maintaining the pretty K/BB at 67/10 in 77 innings.

Musgrove opened 2015 in Low-A with an incredible 23/1 K/BB in 26 innings for Low-A Quad Cities, leading to a 0.70 ERA. Promoted to High-A Lancaster, he remained allergic to walks with a 43/1 ratio in 30 innings with a 2.40 ERA.

Promoted to Double-A Corpus Christi, he has a 26/4 K/BB in 39 innings with a 2.08 ERA.

The problem for Musgrove in terms of getting noticed is that his season has been split between three levels, making it easy to miss him on a casual glance if you don’t track the Houston system closely. But put the three levels together, you get a composite 1.81 ERA in 95 innings, 81 hits allowed, with a 92/6 K/BB.

“It seems people are talking, but I’m not going to get caught up in the hype,” Musgrove said.  “I’m where I wanted to be this season, but by no means am I going to get a big head. You learn a lot about the game as you advance levels.

“Rookie ball was an easy transition for me, but as you move up, there are long hours on a bus. The food isn’t very good, and there aren’t proper weight rooms to keep fit.”

And he missed several weeks with hip dysplasia, an ailment that causes an enlargement of the hip socket.

Musgrove is no soft-tosser, peaking as high as 97 and working steadily in the low-90s. His secondary pitches were unrefined when he got into pro ball but he’s made substantial progress with his curveball and change-up.

Three solid pitches. Exceptional control that has held up in Double-A. 6-5, 230 pound workhorse body.

“It gives everybody a good feeling to see talent like Musgrove make an impact,” said Corpus Christi manager Rodney Linares.

“I saw him once or twice in spring training, but never really saw him pitch. He has been impressive, not only with his stuff, but with his composure.”

His training regimen includes lifting weights and running stairs.

“I haven’t added a pitch or gained velocity on my fastball,” Musgrove said. “I love this game. I wait all week to get the ball, so I’ve learned to how to prepare and what works best.

“In Double-A, everyone is good enough to play in the big leagues. Hitters don’t miss mistake pitches like they do in the low minors. You learn from your mistakes, but I try and limit those mistakes.”
Joe Musgrove on Baseball Reference:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=musgro000joe

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