The Fresno Grizzlies — Triple-A affiliate of the Houston Astros and 2015 AAA champions — have released their 2017 schedule, which kicks off Thursday, April 6, at home against the Reno Aces. The schedule is also highlighted by a July 4th home game against Salt Lake.
The Grizzlies had a somewhat disappointing 2016 season both in the standings (where they finished in third place at 73-70 but still finished ahead of rival Sacramento) and the turnstiles, where it remains a challenge to consistently draw fans to Chukchansi Park.
That said, the Grizzlies continue to put out an impressive product, on-and off-the-field.
Astros third baseman Alex Bregman was named the 2016 USA TODAY Minor League Player of the Year, beating out teammate Joe Musgrove, who also spent time in Fresno this summer. Bregman is the first player in Houston franchise history to receive the award, which was created in 1988 and is given annually to the top performing prospect in the game.
In addition, Brady Rodgers, who led the Pacific Coast League in starter ERA (2.86) this season, was named the circuit’s Pitcher of the Year for 2016. Rodgers became the first Grizzlies pitcher to earn the honor.
Rodgers and reliever James Hoyt were also named to the All-PCL Team. Hoyt, who made his Major League debut this season, led the PCL in saves with 29, despite his time away from the Fresno club.
The loaded Astros farm system means even more promising names should be in the Fresno lineup at some point next season. We’re already keeping an eye out for outfielder Ramon Laureano, who is off to a hot start in the Arizona Fall League. The 22-year-old led the minors in on-base percentage and could make a push to start next season with the Grizzlies.