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2020 Astros Minor League Thread

Discussion in 'Houston Astros' started by tellitlikeitis, Dec 15, 2019.

  1. tellitlikeitis

    tellitlikeitis Still Believes in Jonathan Villar

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    The 2020 MiLB season kicks off April 9, 2020 and all four of the Astros' full-season affiliates will start at home.

    - Round Rock will start off their 2020 campaign by hosting the Wichita Wind Surge. Wichita has a minor league team once again after the New Orleans Zephyrs/Baby Cakes were relocated after last season.
    - Corpus Christi hosts Northwest Arkansas.
    - Fayetteville hosts Frederick.
    - Quad Cities takes on Peoria.
    - Tri-City begins their season on June 18 in Vermont.
    - The Dominican Summer League starts June 6 and the Gulf Coast League starts June 22.

    As usual... the same three questions.

    1. Breakout position player/pitcher

    Position player: Jordan Brewer
    Pitcher: Jairo Lopez

    2. Prospects looking at make-or-break years

    - Alex McKenna - 2019 was a lost year for him after an encouraging pro debut. He'll probably head back to QC to start, which means that he'll need a good start to get himself back in the prospect conversation.
    - J.J. Matijevic - Now that it looks like he'll be a 1B moving forward, that will put quite a bit of pressure on his bat.
    - Garrett Stubbs - Well, his time is now. I think he's ready to take on a bigger role in Houston. I hope that he doesn't feature too much in this thread.
    - Elian Rodriguez - Big arm, but it's looking like the $2 million that the Astros shelled out to sign him was not money well spent.

    3. Players who caught your eye in 2019 that you'll be keeping a closer eye on in 2020

    - Yohander Martinez - Strong pro debut in the DSL, good patience at the plate (although that's not really saying much considering his level), set himself up to come to America in 2020
    - Blair Henley - Dominated mainly in a multi-inning relief role in his pro debut. Let's see how he fares in Quad Cities' rotation.

    My Top 15

    1. Forrest Whitley
    2. Bryan Abreu
    3. Freudis Nova
    4. José Urquidy
    5. Jeremy Peña
    6. Korey Lee
    7. Jairo Solís
    8. Rogelio Armenteros
    9. Cristian Javier
    10. Enoli Paredes
    11. Jordan Brewer - didn't play much due to Michigan's College World Series run but I'll admit I'm pretty high on him. Will he rise to become a top prospect or does he turn into another one of those Stephen Wrenn/Ronnie Dawson types down the road?
    12. Grae Kessinger
    13. Brandon Bielak
    14. Tyler Ivey
    15. Colin Barber

    A Few Others to Keep an Eye On

    Nathan Perry
    Brett Conine
    Willy Collado
    Valente Bellozo
    Garrett Stubbs
    Luis Garcia
    Taylor Jones
    Jojanse Torres
    Luis Santana
    Jairo Lopez
    José Alberto Rivera
    Nivaldo Rodriguez
    Hunter Brown
    Shawn Dubin
    Heitor Tokar
    Rainier Rivas
    Dauri Lorenzo
    Jesus Liranzo
     
    #1 tellitlikeitis, Dec 15, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2019
  2. Snake Diggit

    Snake Diggit Member

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    1:
    Breakout Position Player: C Korey Lee
    Breakout Pitcher: RHP Valente Bellozo

    2:
    Make or Break Position Players: Stephen Wrenn, Drew Ferguson, Jamie Ritchie, Mike Papierski
    Mark or Break Pitchers: Ryan Hartman, Dean Deetz, Riley Ferrell, Elian Rodriguez

    3:
    Eye-catching Position Players: Colin Barber, Jeremy Pena, Colton Shaver, Nathan Perry, CJ Stubbs, Yohander Martinez, Nerio Rodriguez, Miguel Palma
    Eye-catching Pitchers: Valente Bellozo, Jojanse Torres, Chad Donato, Enoli Paredes, Nivaldo Rodriguez, Brett Conine, Jose Alberto Rivera, Jairo Lopez, Ryan Gusto, Hunter Brown, Blair Henley, Peyton Battenfield

    Rankings:
    1. RHP Forrest Whitley 60
    2. C Korey Lee 50
    3. RHP Jose Urquidy 50
    4. RHP Bryan Abreu 50
    5. 3B Abraham Toro 50
    6. OF Colin Barber 50
    7. SS Freudis Nova 50
    8. RHP Tyler Ivey 50
    9. RHP Cristian Javier 50
    10. SS Jeremy Pena 45

    Honorable Mention (no order): Bellozo, G Stubbs, Jones, Dawson, Bielak, Sneed, Armenteros, Emanuel, Taylor, Deetz, Matijevic, Stevenson, Shaver, Torres, Paredes, Dubin, Garcia, Conine, N Rodriguez, Collado, Kessinger, McKenna, Brewer, Adolph, Rivera, Solomon, Perry, Santana, J Perez, Lorenzo, Solis, J Lopez, Brown, Henley, Gusto, Macuare, Tokar, Schroeder, Santander

    Graduated prospects who have not hit their prime yet:
    Bregman 70
    Correa 65
    Alvarez 60
    Osuna 55
    Tucker 55
    Straw 50
    C Perez 45
    Martes 45
     
  3. Snake Diggit

    Snake Diggit Member

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    Projected opening day Astros minor league rosters:

    AAA:
    C: G Stubbs, Quintana, Ritchie
    IF: Jones, Tanielu, Mayfield, Toro, De Goti, A Sierra
    OF: Wrenn, Dawson, Ferguson, McCormick
    SP: Whitley, Martes, Javier, Bielak, Sneed, Armenteros
    RP: C Perez, Emanuel, Hartman, Taylor, Deetz, Blanco, R Ferrell
    Extras (released, inactive, DL): J Ferrell, Garza, McCurry, Valdez, Castellanos, LaRue, Scheetz, McKee

    AA:
    C: Shaver, Papierski, Manea, Robinson
    IF: Matijevic, Duarte, Pena, Adams
    OF: Julks, Stevenson, De La Cruz, Taylor, Meyers
    SP: Ivey, Torres, Donato, Paredes, Garcia, Dubin, Conine, N Rodriguez
    RP: Scrubb, Adcock, Sanabria, Collado, N Hernandez
    Extras: Canelon, Benedetti, R Rodriguez, Figueroa, Sandoval, DeJuneas, Henderson

    High A:
    C: Salazar, CJ Stubbs, Campos
    IF: Schreiber, Valdez, Kessinger, M Sierra, Wielansky, Hensley, Dennis
    OF: McKenna, Adolph, Costes
    SP: Rivera, Solomon, Hansen, Ruppenthal, Mushinski, Bravo, Daniels, Deason
    RP: Rosado, Cabral, France, Freure
    Extras: R Castro, Conn, Ceballos, BIllingsly, Saldana, L Rodriguez, J Gonzalez

    A:
    C: K Lee, Perry, J Paulino
    IF: Biermann, Santana, Nova, J Perez, AJ Lee
    OF: W Abreu, Guerrero, Brewer, Nix, Barefoot
    SP: Solis, Bellozo, Brown, Henley, Ja Lopez, JP Lopez, Battenfield, G Chavez, Tejada
    RP: West, McDonald, Cody, Gayle
    Extras: Holderbach, Dawson, Machado, De Paula, Moclair, Arias, Reese, Pavlica, J Ramirez, Serrano, Plumlee, Horrell, Barry, Drennan, Dickey, Palmer, Mejias

    Notables projected for Low A:
    C: N Rodriguez, J Alvarez
    IF: Mascai, Cueta, Carrasco
    OF: Corona, Barber, Cortabarria, Rivas
    P: Gusto, Macuare, Schroeder, M Ramirez, Tokar, Robaina, Jimenez, Jaquez, E Rodriguez

    Notables projected for GCL:
    C: Palma
    IF: Y Martinez, C Gonzalez
    OF: Pinto, Carrillo, Uceta, Liranzo
    P: Subero, Leon

    Notables projected for DSL:
    C: Santander
    IF: Balogh, A Ortiz, Lorenzo
    OF: Machandy, T Ramirez
    P: J Ramirez
     
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  4. prospecthugger

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    Pretty much agree with what's already been posted, so I'll highlight some that I find interesting that haven't really been mentioned:

    Apparently Richi Gonzalez and Elvis Garcia are the sleepers of the J2 class.

    Danny Cody seems like he might have a little bit of Shawn Dubin in him- lanky small school guy with at least some velo. The fact that he only worked as a reliever isn't too promising, but I'm at least interested in what he can do with a professional coaching staff.

    I'm interested to see the pitchers who missed most or all of 2019 respond: Martes, Solis, Solomon, Mushinski, Jacquez, and Jimenez

    Luis Vega was a $300k (most the Astros could give at the time) signing right before the season who had a good year. He apparently doesn't really have standout stuff, but upper 80s-low 90s is decent velocity for his age, and at 6'3 165, you'd think there's some projection there.

    I'm usually pretty interested in the pitchers that play their way stateside from the DSL, so this year that would be Jherson Pereira and Misael Tamarez. Tamarez especially looks interesting because he signed in March and was promoted after a month.

    This seems like a make or break year for Serrano. He was finally healthy, but he's turning 25 next year and hasn't pitched in full season ball yet. Putila said he's got some of the best stuff in the system, but he really need to produce.

    I think Marty Costes is a better prospect than he gets credit for, but I can't really buy too much into a college hitter prior to AA. I guess he's my breakout pick if he can stay healthy.

    I'll take Hunter Brown as my breakout pitcher.

    I'm interested to see if any of the rookie league OFs they snagged in trades does anything. Kenedy Corona looks really intriguing on paper.

    Yimmi Cortabarria strikes out too much to get too excited, but he really improved from 2018 to 2019.

    I didn't renew my BP subscription, so I don't if the Astros list had any more about Diosmerky Tavares, but that vague report about him being a potential TOR starter has him pretty high on my wishlist to see this season.

    Now that I've listed pretty much everybody below Quad Cities, I'm sure it's going to end up being whoever Christian Mejias and Ronaldo Urdaneta are that take a big step forward.
     
  5. vince

    vince Member

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    It’s a deep minor league system, without many blue chips. Nevertheless, it’s a system that can produce rotation level and every day ML type players.

    with the prospect of losing draft picks on account of the sign stealing scandal, this minor league system is going to improve mostly by guys hitting the fringes of their best potential, that is until the Astros get to infuse top tier talent again via their draft.
     
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  6. Joe Joe

    Joe Joe Go Stros!
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    1:
    Breakout Position Player:
    Toro (This may be cheating though). I think he'll be about an average hitter and an above average defender (i.e., better than a lot if not what most Top 100 prospects end up becoming).
    HM: Jones.
    Breakout Pitcher:
    Cristian Javier. He likely will be able to get Ks in the majors. I just don't know if he'll give up a lot of homers or walks.
    Honorable Mention: Abreu, Taylor, Emanuel
    2. Prospects looking at make-or-break years
    Too many guys for me to name.
    3. Players who caught your eye in 2019 that you'll be keeping a closer eye on in 2020
    Jose Urquidy (This may be cheating though).

    Overall impression of the minors....A lot of guys that could be interesting relievers. A few guys with potential to be starting pitchers. Position players...well, it is a good thing major league team is stocked. Need to see Lee and Nova step up.
     
    #6 Joe Joe, Dec 17, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2019
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  7. Nook

    Nook Member

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    Urquidy is underrated. He throws strikes, doesn’t walk anyone and has plus stuff.

    I can tell you, if the Astros could hypothetically only protect 5 players in their system, Barber would be on that list. They are very high on his hitting tools.
     
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  8. Snake Diggit

    Snake Diggit Member

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    The pitching depth is still easily in the top 10 in the league. And the top end pitching is at least average. The position player depth is solid as well: the current group of catching prospects is the deepest I can remember Houston having in the last 10 years, and both SS and CF have excellent depth. The system lacks top end position player prospects. Like last year, I’m hopeful several guys (Lee, Nova, Barber, Brewer, Pena) can take the next steps and remedy that problem. Having an extra 2nd rd pick will help as well (I’m assuming any draft pick penalties forthcoming from the cheating scandal won’t impact the 2020 draft).
     
  9. Joe Joe

    Joe Joe Go Stros!
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    Prospect lists still care too much about upside while not being that good at predicting upside. They catch most players, but for whatever reason seem to not care when an unexpected guy starts tearing up the high minors. Sure a lot of the guys without pedigrees that tear up the high minors bust...but so do a lot of Top 100 prospects.

    I see Javier being missed through the same hole in prospect lists as Urquidy.
     
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  10. Nook

    Nook Member

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    I am a large fan or Javier.

    Everyone focuses on velocity and pitch selection.

    What gets lost with guys like Javier is that his pitches fit together like a puzzle. Essentially they are greater combined than the sum of their parts.

    He has a curve that breaks down in the zone, he has a slider that breaks right outside off the zone. Players have a very hard time telling the two pitches apart until the ball is late in the zone. Couple that with a change up that looks just like his fastball. Because of the similarity of his pitches on the way to the plate, his fastball only being 90-93 works to his advantage. It looks just like his change up and the velocity is so similar, except his fastball has movement late in the zone. As a result players do not know what to expect.... and he also will throw any of his pitches in any count. So his "stuff" is actually a lot better than what scouts or fans would think watching him pitch for an inning or two. He also has the ability to change his arm angles late in the game...... the best way I describe him is that he is like trying to catch falling sand in your hand.

    He still needs to work on his change up, because in the majors that pitch is what will help get swing and misses on his fastball. He also has been working on a cutter that seems to really confuse hitters when he has command of it.

    As for Colin Barber, he is certainly young (turned 19 only a few weeks ago) and he has a long way to go, but the organization is very high on him as someone that they feel will be an impact player someday.
     
  11. Snake Diggit

    Snake Diggit Member

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    History of the farm producing at least one core player each year (except 2017):

    2011: Altuve
    2012: Marwin, Keuchel
    2013: Peacock (debatable as a core piece)
    2014: Springer (1.9 fWAR)
    2015: Correa (3.4 fWAR), McCullers (2.5 fWAR)
    2016: Bregman (1.0 fWAR), Devenski (2.7 fWAR), Musgrove
    2017: Davis, Martes, Fisher (not really core pieces, although hope remains for Martes)
    2018: James, Tucker (TBD)
    2019: Alvarez (3.8 fWAR), Toro, Urquidy, Abreu
    2020: Whitley?
     
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  12. Joe Joe

    Joe Joe Go Stros!
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    Missing the best recent rookie pitching performance for the Astros...though he didn't need much time on the Astros farm to show throwing fastballs less helps.
     
  13. vince

    vince Member

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    Those are very good quality additions from the minor league system. Every year they’ve added at least quality MLB depth, and a few all stars/MVP quality players to boot.
     
  14. prospecthugger

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    Is there anyone in the majors with a similar repertoire/pitching style? I think that's the biggest problem for prospects who don't really fit the mold of a top pitching prospect, there's a big question about how it translates from the minors to the majors.

    Urquidy's profile (short RHP without a good breaking ball) is not a particularly attractive to scouts, so he was never very likely to be cracking top 100 lists, and that his velocity only spiked last year probably didn't help (pipelines list said he peaks at 95, even though he hit 96.9 in a MLB start a month before the list was updated)
     
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  15. Joe Joe

    Joe Joe Go Stros!
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    Not a great comp and I've only seen him in videos, but his fastball reminds me of vintage McHugh (before started to drop his arm slot) with better hair. Guys just can't square up on his fastball consistently leading to a lot of pop ups. When he gets ahead in the count, secondary pitches get chases out of the zone. McHugh was able to throw his cutter in the zone for strikes early in count before blisters killed that pitch. Not sure if Javier can do that with his slider or not.
     
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  16. Nook

    Nook Member

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    Johnny Cueto is one example. He sat 90-93 on his fastball in his prime. He also had secondary off speed pitches that mixed in well and played off his fastball. He is the one that jumps to my mind.

    There have been some others as well. John Tudor and Jose Lima both were guys that had pitches that really contrasted each other well and did not overpower hitters. Lima had a great change up that was close enough to his mediocre fastball to cause some level of confusion.

    As for Urquidy, he did not jump up lists because he had a sudden jump, was never highly scouted and also was older. As he is right now, he has more value than a lot of guys in the top 50. He can throw 95 mph, he has excellent control so he does not walk batters, he strikes out 25% of the batters he faces and he has 4 solid pitches. For Urquidy his success is all going to come down to command and not tipping his pitches. He uses multiple slot angles. If he can get his command up he can win 15-20 games. If his command slips, he can end up in AAA. His command improved as the season progressed. He is a very valuable piece of the Astros future.
     
  17. Nook

    Nook Member

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    A lot of times guys cannot differentiate his fastball from his change up.... and he is mixing a cut fastball too, which makes it really hard to square up on a ball.
     
  18. Snake Diggit

    Snake Diggit Member

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    Ok so it’s settled. Cristian Javier is Johnny Cueto redux, Jose Urquidy is a 20 game winner, Forrest Whitley is Gerrit Cole redux, Bryan Abreu is Lance McCullers Jr redux, and Houston is about to trade for Luis Castillo. Rotation should be solid for the next 5 years. ;)
     
  19. Nook

    Nook Member

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    If only it were that easy.....
     
  20. prospecthugger

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    And here I was, ready to take the McHugh comp to the bank.
     
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