State of the Astros' Minor League System

Discussion in 'Houston Astros' started by DoitDickau, Nov 29, 2007.

  1. DoitDickau

    DoitDickau Contributing Member

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    A couple minor league website have recently posted articles and top prospect lists for the Astros. Here is Baseball America's take.

    Houston Astros

    In two years, the Astros went from World Series participant to a total rebuilding job. Their 73-89 finish marked just their second losing season since 1992, but it wasn't an anomaly. Though owner Drayton McLane expects his team to contend again in 2008, Houston's rise won't be as swift as its fall.

    The Astros built a consistent winner through their farm system. Few teams worked the now-defunct draft-and-follow system or the Venezuelan market as well, and they also had a knack for finding quality, low-cost college seniors. But the talent has dried up this decade, and Houston has had to invest heavily on free agents to keep winning. That approach has proved costly, not only in terms of big league salaries but also in its affect on the club's drafts.

    In three of the last five drafts, the Astros have forfeited their first-round pick as free-agent compensation. McLane has become more reluctant to offer arbitration to his own free agents, so only once during that period has Houston received bonus choices of its own. He also has been increasing unwilling to buck MLB's slot recommendations. All three of these factors resulted in a disastrous draft in 2007.

    By signing Carlos Lee and Woody Williams as Type A free agents, the Astros surrendered their first two draft choices. Offering arbitration to three of their own Type A free agents—Aubrey Huff, Andy Pettitte and Russ Springer—was a low-risk proposition that could have yielded three first-round picks and three supplemental first-rounders, but Houston declined to do so. The Astros couldn't try to compensate by drafting players with high price tags because McLane refused to exceed MLB's guidelines.

    Houston thought it had signing parameters in place with its first two choices, third baseman Derek Dietrich (third round) and righthander Brett Eibner (fourth), as well as righty Chad Bettis (eighth). But they all asked for more than slot money and wound up opting for college over pro ball. The Astros spent just $1.584 million on the draft, $3.6 million below the average of the other 29 teams.

    They also haven't been aggressive internationally, especially since former director of Venezuelan scouting and development Andres Reiner left the organization in February 2006. Reiner, a pioneer in establishing a Venezuelan pipeline, helped sign players such as Bobby Abreu, Carlos Guillen and Johan Santana, as well as the club's current top pitching prospect, Felipe Paulino. The Astros haven't brought in any comparable foreign talents in recent years.

    Disappointed with his club's performance on the field and in the front office, McLane has cleaned house. He fired general manager Tim Purpura and manager Phil Garner in August. Former Phillies GM Ed Wade assumed control of the front office in September and appointed interim manager Cecil Cooper on a permanent basis. Wade also restructured the scouting department, reassigning senior director of player personnel Paul Ricciarini and coordinator of amateur scouting Tad Slowik.

    Wade's new scouting director is Bobby Heck, formerly the Eastern crosschecker for the Brewers. Heck contributed to a run of productive drafts in Milwaukee, but it's doubtful the Astros farm system or major league club will rebound without a shift in philosophy.

    TOP TEN
    PROSPECTS
    1. J.R. Towles, c
    2. Felipe Paulino, rhp
    3. Troy Patton, lhp
    4. Juan Gutierrez, rhp
    5. Michael Bourn, of
    6. Mike Costanzo, 3b
    7. Bud Norris, rhp
    8. Brad James, rhp
    9. Chad Reineke, rhp
    10. Eli Iorg, of
    BEST
    TOOLS
    Best Hitter for Average Jonny Ash
    Best Power Hitter Mike Costanzo
    Best Strike-Zone Discipline Jonny Ash
    Fastest Baserunner Michael Bourn
    Best Athlete Devon Torrence
    Best Fastball Felipe Paulino
    Best Curveball Bud Norris
    Best Slider Char Reineke
    Best Changeup Samuel Gervacio
    Best Control Troy Patton
    Best Defensive Catcher J.R. Towles
    Best Defensive Infielder Tommy Manzella
    Best Infield Arm Mike Constanzo
    Best Defensive Outfielder Michael Bourn
    Best Outfield Arm Jordan Parraz

    http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/features/265244.html
     
  2. DoitDickau

    DoitDickau Contributing Member

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    Here is John Sickel's take:

    Astros
    By John Sickels
    Posted on Tue Nov 27, 2007 at 10:23:19 AM CDT

    Working on the Astros today, as well as a couple of non-book projects.

    Houston system is pretty thin, and the '07 draft was a disaster, a disaster for which Drayton McLane is totally responsible, since he wouldn't let them go above slot on any pick despite having no first or second round choices.

    Update. I like Bud Norris as a breakout guy for 2008. Anyone know anything about Santo Luis? Nice K/IP ratio.

    Entry Link :: 16 Comments


    Houston Astros Top 20 Prospects for 2008
    By John Sickels
    Posted on Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 01:26:30 PM CDT

    Houston Astros Top 20 Prospects for 2008

    1. Troy Patton, LHP, Grade B+
    2. J.R. Towles, C, Grade B (considering B+)
    3. Felipe Paulino, RHP, Grade B
    4. Bud Norris, RHP, Grade B- (looks like a breakthrough candidate to me)
    5. Mike Costanzo, 3B, Grade B-
    6. Michael Bourn, OF, Grade B- (seems like a cheat to list him but he doesn't have 150 at-bats)
    7. Mitch Einertson, OF, Grade B- (borderline grade, could be C+)
    8. Juan Gutierrez, RHP, Grade C+ (borderline, could flip to B-)
    9. Brad James, RHP, Grade C+
    10. Sam Gervacio, RHP, Grade C+
    11. Chad Reinkie, RHP, Grade C+
    12. Jordan Parraz, OF, Grade C+ (I've always liked him for some reason)
    13. Josh Flores, OF Grade C+
    14. Eli Iorg, OF, Grade C+
    15. Collin DeLome, OF, Grade C+
    16. Paul Estrada, RHP, Grade C+
    17. Polin Trinidad, LHP, Grade C
    18. Max Sapp, C, Grade C
    19. Sergio Severino, LHP, Grade C
    20. Koby Clemens, 3B, Grade C

    Not a strong system, and I might have been too generous with some of those C+ guys, who could be downgraded to regular C. Should I give Towles a B+?

    http://minorleagueball.com/
     
  3. weslinder

    weslinder Contributing Member

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    The rest of the draft didn't matter. The Astros drafted Colin DeLome. That instantly makes the Minor League System good.
     
  4. Big Shot Bob

    Big Shot Bob Member

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    Who and why????????????
     
  5. MadMax

    MadMax Contributing Member

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    There already is a shift in philosophy. They're breaking up international scouting, hiring a director of Pacific Rim scouting and a director of Latin America scouting. The hiring of Bobby Heck was very good in my opinion.

    I like what I've seen of Wade so far. Certainly aggressive. The addition of Towles, Bourn and Matsui make this offense better already. Plus you've improved defense up the middle.

    They need pitching. Let's see what they can do at the winter meetings. But for all the talk about the lack of young talent, Pence will be the starter in RF, Bourn will be the starter in CF and Towles will be the starter at C. That's pretty good contribution from young guys.
     
  6. weslinder

    weslinder Contributing Member

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    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Collin DeLome is a Texas Baseball Hero!
     
  7. msn

    msn Member

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    Does he always drop his shoulder that much?
     
  8. Joe Joe

    Joe Joe Contributing Member

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    I love the optimism. I want to be confident in Towles and Bourn.
     
  9. weslinder

    weslinder Contributing Member

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    No. I couldn't find many pics on the web, though.
     
  10. texanskan

    texanskan Contributing Member

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    not offering arbitration to your own class A free agents is just stupid there is really no other option than stupid.

    #1-there is a 1% chance a class A FREE agent will take a one year deal for at or below their market value

    #2-There is no excuse for not signing draft picks, how can you defend trading three young players for Jennings (who made more than all of them) but not spend a few million on draft picks that could end up being starters under club controll for six years (the first three making at or close to the min)
     
  11. Big Shot Bob

    Big Shot Bob Member

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    Hey man that's the kind of sh!t that will get you fired. How big of an F*ing moron do you have to be when you know your job is on the line for making a bad deal and you dont sign the draft picks? Who gives a damn if they want more money, they arent asking for a 10-12 million per year deal like the guy you traded for was doing. Purpura was such a loser. And if Drayton was pulling all the strings he should have had the balls to defy him like Hunsicker.
     
  12. kevwun

    kevwun Member

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    Wade may fail with the big club(I like what's he done so far), but I have no doubt that he will fix the minor league system.
     
  13. DoitDickau

    DoitDickau Contributing Member

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    I don't think those moves improved the offense. matsui over the course of his career hasn't been better than burke or what loretta produced last year. If all goes well then bourne/towles ~scott/ausmus with towles roughly making up for the dropoff from scott to bourne. As the lineup is constructed now, I wouldn't expect an increase in offense from last year. Though there is still 4 month till pitchers and catcher report, so hopefully wade has something up his sleeve.

    It will, as you said, improve the defense at center and 2nd over what they had last year. Matsui is a big improvement over biggio defensive, although, i'm not sure he is much better than burke at 2nd.
     
  14. DoitDickau

    DoitDickau Contributing Member

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    This next draft will be huge for the astros. They have a top 10 pick every round.
     
  15. htownbball

    htownbball Member

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    not to mention we will get compensation for loretta and trevor miller, who are class B free agents which means we will get 2 supplemental 1st rounders. also, we will get a supplemental 3rd rounder for failure to sign derek dietrich. not sure if we get another 4th rounder though.

    1(10th overall)
    1(s)
    1(s)
    2
    3
    3(s)

    I think Tyson Ross and Brandon Crawford should be our targets for our 1st pick. Ross is a pitcher with huge upside and a 95mph fastball from Cal. Crawford is a 5 tool shortstop from UCLA who is very flashy with the glove. Jacob Thompson from Virginia will also be a target. A polished college righty with a low 90's sinker and plus command, he'd get through the system pretty quick.

    Jordan Danks would be a target in the supplemental round. He might move up if teams think he'll develop his power or if he shows his power this year.

    We need to find a 3B too, because I don't think Costanzo is the answer.
     
  16. Buck Turgidson

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    Matsui : Burke as 2B :: Everett : Loretta as SS

    Chris Burke is a very, very mediocre to bad fielder; good range, noodle arm, horrible footwork.
     
  17. MadMax

    MadMax Contributing Member

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    and hasn't shown he can hit even as well as the matsui bat that everyone agrees is pretty average.
     
  18. DoitDickau

    DoitDickau Contributing Member

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    matsui has good secondary skills, but his batting is not "average." It's significantly below average.
     

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