Astros Got Pretty Decent Haul in Hunter Pence Trade

The Houston Astros have been hammered by many folks for trading away All-Star outfielder Hunter Pence at the deadline this year. I’ve always thought Pence was a pretty good player, but nothing special. His All-Star appearances have been more the result of circumstance (playing for the hapless Astros) than stellar performance. Still, he should help the Phillies who could use the offensive boost. The good news for Philly is that Pence is under team control for the next two seasons, so his salary shouldn’t get too ridiculous. But let’s not shrug this off as if it were a bad deal for the Astros.

Houston is the worst team in baseball this year. They’ve been at least 10 games under .500 the last two seasons. There really wasn’t too much upside for keeping Hunter Pence, so why not trade him and get some players in return? The Phillies wanted him and gave up four players, three of whom aren’t bad (the fourth is to-be-determined).

All three prospects Philly gave up are young, low-level guys but they have some promise.

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Hunter Pence Goes Golden Sombrero

It’s been a while since we’ve had an LBS Golden Sombrero sighting, so let me refresh your memory. When a player goes 0-for-4 in a game and does nothing but strikeout each time up, he earns the Golden Sombrero. For the nearly impossible 0-for-5 with five strikeouts, the player receives the rarefied Platinum Sombrero. Well Sunday at Wrigley Field, Astros right fielder Hunter Pence went 0-for-4 with four punch-outs, earning the coveted Golden Sombrero.

Now Houston won the game 6-5 so that should slightly ease the pain for Pence. The good thing about Hunter’s Sombrero is that he was up there hacking, striking out swinging the first three times. By the fourth at-bat, he probably was so discouraged he decided to keep the bat on his shoulders and go down honorably. The one comment I will make is that at least Pence punched out the first three times against a fireballer like Rich Harden, so that’s nothing about which one should be embarrassed. Hunter’s also hitting .323 this year even after the Sombrero, so better days should be expected.

Who is Hunter Pence?

He’s a rookie center fielder for the Houston Astros, and he’s absolutely killing the ball. The 24-year-old former 2nd round draft pick of Houston in 2004 is batting .355 through 16 games this year, with 15 RBI. But check out what the rookie’s done recently — the Giants haven’t gotten him out once this series. Pence is 7 for 7 against San Francisco, and 11 for his last 14. The kid’s OPSing an incredible 1.071 so far. So what gives? Who is this guy?

Well, according to Baseball America, Pence was the Astros top prospect in 2007. In 308 career minor league games, Pence hit .302 and OPS’d .932. He averaged a home run nearly every five games. And in November, despite hitting .339, Hunter was sent home from the Arizona Fall League because of a DUI arrest. Scouts say he’s very competitive player with an infectious makeup, and high energy. Best part is he teared up a bit when his manager Jackie Moore informed him of his call up. So can he keep it up? Only time will tell, but there’s no question that he has the proven track record. We’ll be keeping our eye on this kid to see if he’s the next great thing in Houston. It sure looks that way right now.