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By Sonny Jones

Remember the Buies Creek Astros? The Houston Astros Advanced-A affiliate spent two seasons playing at Jim Perry Stadium on the campus of Campbell University.

Tonight, seven of those players are expected to be part of Houston’s roster as it opens the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees. Add in shortstop Jeremy Pena, who spent part of 2019 playing for the Fayetteville Woodpeckers, and that’s eight of Houston’s 26-man playoff roster who spent a part of their minor league careers near us. It’s a truly amazing statistic.

Those 2017 Buies Creek players now on Houston’s roster are Yordan Alvarez, Kyle Tucker, Chas McCormick, Cristian Javier and Framber Valdez. The 2018 squad is represented by Jose Urquidy and Jake Meyers. Meyers played for the Woodpeckers in 2019.

It’s the best and worst part of watching minor league baseball. You just never know which player may be a future superstar in the majors. That player who looks like a sure thing turns out never to reach the majors. The guy who seems like he’ll be out of pro baseball before the end of the season turns into a superstar. Yordan Alvarez hit three home runs in 58 games for the 2017 Buies Creek team.

As part of minor league baseball’s realignment in 2021, the Fayetteville club was dropped a level to A from Advanced-A. It means fewer Woodpeckers will reach the majors than during the three seasons played at the Advanced-A level. However, you never know. Chipper Jones played for the Class A Macon Braves against the Fayetteville Generals at J.P. Riddle Stadium in 1991.

Also from the 2017 Buies Creek Astros is Cleveland Guardians center fielder Myles Straw. Abraham Toro, who plays for the Seattle Mariners, spent 2018 in Buies Creek.


Justin Verlander, who allowed six runs on 10 hits in four innings against Seattle in his last start, will bounce back against the Yankees in Game 1 of the AL Championship Series. The Houston right-hander will strike out 10 in six innings.

TUESDAY’S PICK: Steven Kwan has three hits and scores twice in helping Cleveland beat the Yankees in Game 5. RESULTS: Kwan was 2-for-4, but didn’t score as the Guardians lost to New York 5-1.


1994 — Duke beats North Carolina 3-2 in women’s soccer to end the Tar Heels’ unbeaten streak of 101 games.


• MEN’S SOCCER: Borussia Dortmund at Hannover 96, 11:55 a.m., ESPN2

• MLB PLAYOFFS: Philadelphia at San Diego, 4:30 p.m., FOX

• MLB PLAYOFFS: NY Yankees at Houston, 7:30 p.m., TBS

• FOOTBALL: Georgia St. at Appalachian St., 7:30 p.m., ESPN2

• NHL: Philadelphia at Florida, 7:30 p.m., TNT

• NBA: New York at Memphis, 7:45 p.m., ESPN

• VOLLEYBALL: N.C. State at Duke, 8 p.m., ACCN

• NHL: St. Louis at Seattle, 10 p.m., TNT

• NBA: Dallas at Phoenix, 10:05 p.m., ESPN

• LPGA: BMW Ladies Championship, 11 p.m., GOLF

Sonny Jones can be reached at wibbyj@gmail.com and follow on Twitter @FOSonnyJones.

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