The Houston Astros have designated right-handed pitcher Jerome Williams for assignment and optioned shortstop Jonathan Villar to Triple-A Oklahoma City. There is little surprise that Williams was DFA’d with his struggles continuing halfway through the season. Villar being optioned, however, is a little shocking.
It seems as though the Astros were trying to get Williams squared away with his problems on the mound in hopes to at least give him some trade value. They started giving him meaningful innings to pitch, but the right-hander couldn’t make the most of his opportunities. Williams was 1-4 on the year with an ERA of 6.04. In his 47 2/3 innings pitched, he has given up 59 hits and 32 earned runs while walking 16 batters.
To replace Williams, the Astros have recalled left-handed reliever Kevin Chapman. Chapman currently has a .94 ERA at Oklahoma City. He pitched in six games already for the Astros this season and gives them another arm in their recently over-worked bullpen.
Villar is the more shocking news between the two. My guess, this move was made to get the kid some confidence back. Villar has been slumping in the majors as of late. Looking lost at the plate, Villar’s average has dipped to .200 with an OBP of .255. The demotion is a good move for Villar, who will get regular at-bats with the Redhawks.
Villar is stellar defensively, which will get him called back up to the majors once his bat wakes up. His glove is just too good not to be on the major league roster. Once he gets his confidence back from a few good games at Oklahoma City, it is expected that he will be called back up. Until then, the Astros have called up infielder Enrique Hernandez to take his spot on the roster.
Hernandez has been playing well in Oklahoma City this season. He is hitting .337 to go along with his eight home runs and 31 RBIs. In his latest game, Monday night against Colorado Springs, Hernandez went 3-for-5 with a home run and two doubles. He should give the Astros a spark off the bunch, assuming Marwin Gonzalez takes over at shortstop.