Spring Training is always full of surprises, and the 2023 season was no exception. Imagine a low-profile prospect named Corey Julks making it to the Opening Day roster of a Major League Baseball team. Seems unlikely, right? That’s exactly what happened with the Houston Astros, who took a chance on Julks and are now reaping the benefits of their gamble. In this blog post, we’ll explore why Julks has become one of the most exciting stories of the year and why he’s making a strong case to remain in the big leagues.
The Astros made a bold move when they decided to give Julks a chance to shine, and it’s safe to say that he hasn’t disappointed anyone. In just 17 games, the U of H alum has provided the team with an electrifying game, hitting for a .305/.311/.458 slash line with three doubles, two home runs, seven RBIs, ten runs, and a .769 OPS. The outfielder has been delivering clutch hits to help the Astros win and has become a dependable alternative for the team in left field.
So, how did Julks go from being an unknown prospect to becoming one of the most exciting players of the year? According to reports, everything began when there was no MiLB season in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That off-year was a game-changer for Julks, who returned with the best offensive version of his career in the minors. In 2021, he established a season-high for home runs, hitting 14 out of the park in Double-A. And he didn’t stop there. In Triple-A, he smacked a stunning 31 long balls. To put it into perspective – if you combine his home runs from 2017 to 2021, you’ll get fewer four-baggers than what he got in 2022 (29 against 31).
Despite his success in the minors, no team selected him in last year’s Rule 5 Draft. But that didn’t stop him from fighting for his dream. He had a notable Spring Training with the Astros this year, catching the attention of Astros’ GM Dana Brown, who said, “That’s why you have to come in with an open mind, and you have to allow the players to play”. And play he did. The 28th-best prospect in the organization had a .868 OPS in 18 preseason games along with 12 ribbies. Brown, who was the director of scouting in Atlanta before coming to Houston and played a key man in building one of the best teams in the MLB almost from zero, created a strong core of young, promising players that are stars today. Giving Julks an opportunity in his 27th season was a chance to prove that he has the potential to be MLB-worthy.
When veteran Michael Brantley returns, will Julks still be a part of the Astros’ outfield? If he continues to play as he has been, the truth is, Julks is making a strong case to remain in the big leagues and become one of the team’s shining stars. Outfielder Julks has been averaging an exit velocity of 90.4 miles per hour and hitting line drives 41.5 percent of the time. With his tremendous potential and impressive performance, he is a diamond in the rough, making the most of the opportunity he’s been given.
In conclusion, Corey Julks is one of the most exciting prospects of 2023, and his performance shows that everyone deserves a chance to shine. Now Julks has made the most of his chance, proving that he has the potential to become an MLB star. And with his electrifying gameplay, he is making a strong case to be a part of the Astros’ outfield for years to come. So what are you waiting for? Follow Corey Julks; his performance may surprise you.