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2013 Astros Minor League Thread

Discussion in 'Houston Astros' started by tellitlikeitis, Nov 26, 2012.

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  1. tellitlikeitis

    tellitlikeitis Canceled
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    Well, let's flip the page. No sense in dwelling on the past anymore. I'm starting off this thread with Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects. These guys will be the first 10 names you see when you hit the Astros' section of the 2013 Prospect Handbook.

    10. Nolan Fontana
    9. Nick Tropeano
    8. Rio Ruiz
    7. Jarred Cosart
    6. Delino DeShields
    5. Mike Foltynewicz
    4. Lance McCullers
    3. George Springer
    2. Jonathan Singleton
    1. Carlos Correa

    It truly speaks volumes of how far this system has progressed when Domingo Santana and Jonathan Villar can't crack the top 10 despite having nice years.
     
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  2. NotInMyHouse

    NotInMyHouse Contributing Member

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    That list is full of people who weren't on the system just a couple of years ago and many on the list were just acquired. It's not like we need further proof of how terribly mismanaged the Astros minor league system was, but there it is. And you're right, things have come a long way and are looking up.
     
  3. No Worries

    No Worries Contributing Member

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    Fontana is a mystery to me. He hit .225 last year in low A. His only above average tool is his "walk" tool. If he does not hit for a higher average, he is going to top out in the minors (AA?) when the pitchers have better control and won't walk him as much.
     
  4. juicystream

    juicystream Contributing Member

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    Sample size plus adjustment period doesn't have me worried at all.

    Biggest surprise for me is Folty at #5. Big jump for him to go ahead of Cosart, especially after Cosart pitched fairly well in AAA.
     
  5. No Worries

    No Worries Contributing Member

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  6. No Worries

    No Worries Contributing Member

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    222 PAs aint that small. I hear ya though. Fontana did play a full season of minor league ball before those 222 PAs.

    My problem is not that Fontana is rated as a prospect but how high.
     
  7. juicystream

    juicystream Contributing Member

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    151 ABs is the relevant number to BA. That isn't tiny, but not big enough to offer real concern. This being his 2nd season will be a lot more telling on who he is.

    I wouldn't have put him ahead of Villar or Santana who have higher ceilings, but he'd probably settle in the Top 15, given his position and floor.
     
  8. No Worries

    No Worries Contributing Member

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  9. tellitlikeitis

    tellitlikeitis Canceled
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  10. tellitlikeitis

    tellitlikeitis Canceled
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  11. tellitlikeitis

    tellitlikeitis Canceled
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    John Sickels' Astros Top 20

    For the lazy....

    20. Brady Rodgers
    19. Aaron West
    18. Ariel Ovando
    17. Adrian Houser
    16. Vince Velasquez
    15. Marc Krauss
    14. Robbie Grossman
    13. Asher Wojciechowski
    12. Nolan Fontana
    11. Jonathan Villar
    10. Domingo Santana
    9. Rio Ruiz
    8. Nick Tropeano
    7. Mike Foltynewicz
    6. Delino DeShields
    5. Lance McCullers
    4. Jarred Cosart
    3. George Springer
    2. Jonathan Singleton
    1. Carlos Correa
     
  12. juicystream

    juicystream Contributing Member

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    For a comparison:

    http://www.minorleagueball.com/2011/11/21/2578508/houston-astros-top-20-prospects-for-2012

    Big improvement. Still need some more A talent, but no more low end prospects in our top 20, or basically our top 25-30.
     
  13. Rockets12

    Rockets12 Member

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    We still have the draft pick and Sickels mentioned that if Santana continues to improve in AA (the Lancaster effect) than we might be looking at a B+/A- prospect. So theres two possible more A-s
     
  14. tellitlikeitis

    tellitlikeitis Canceled
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  15. tellitlikeitis

    tellitlikeitis Canceled
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  16. jim1961

    jim1961 Member

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    I have to say I am very impressed with our minor league overhaul. Luhnow has really been stocking the cupboards.

    So having said this, and since there are only so many slots available in our combined affiliates, as we add more, we have to subtract just as much. Presumably, the process is you start replacing those "C" prospects with C+ and better ones.

    So my comment / question becomes, at the A+, AA and AAA levels, how many "C" guys are still around? Which ones are liable to go? Which positions are the best stocked and which are the least?

    It would be interesting to see our minor league prospects listed by position and then by rating and minor league level, just to get a sense for our depth illustrated in this type of hierarchy.
     
  17. tellitlikeitis

    tellitlikeitis Canceled
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    <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>Astros acquire Ricky Martinez, RHP from Cardinals. He and J.D. Martinez were teammates at Nova Southeastern in 2009.</p>&mdash; Mike Tauser (@farmstros) <a href="https://twitter.com/farmstros/status/280477840028356608" data-datetime="2012-12-17T01:01:42+00:00">December 17, 2012</a></blockquote>
    <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

    According to Farmstros, they acquired him for cash considerations.

    Martinez is a 24-year-old (turns 25 on April 20) who was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Cards in 2010. He has been a reliever his entire career. Martinez spent time at both A affiliates in 2012, with 10 appearances in Palm Beach and 28 in the Quad Cities. With Palm Beach, he compiled an 0-2 record with 1 save and a 9.45 ERA. In 13.1 innings, he allowed 22 hits, 16 runs (14 earned), walked 11, and struck out 8. With the River Bandits, he had no record, 4 saves, and a 4.81 ERA. In 43 innings of work, he allowed 47 hits (1 homer), 25 runs (23 earned), walked 15, and struck out 20.
     
  18. tellitlikeitis

    tellitlikeitis Canceled
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    I feel that I would be remiss in my duties if I didn't pass along this information....

    Minor League Opening Day will be April 4, 2013.

    OKC will be on the road that night; they open up against Memphis.

    Corpus Christi welcomes Springfield to Whataburger Field.

    The Lancaster Jethawks begin the defense of their California League championship at home against High Desert.

    In their first game back as an Astros affiliate, Quad Cities will be in suburban Chicago, as they'll face Kane County.

    Short-season Opening Day will be June 17. Tri-City will be at home to host Vermont.

    3 days later, Greeneville kicks off their season on the road, where they'll travel to Bluefield to take on the Blue Jays. I believe the GCL starts at around the same time.

    The Dominican Summer League will begin play on the first Saturday of June.
     
  19. tellitlikeitis

    tellitlikeitis Canceled
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    Improved system, used to be absolute crap, improvements much needed, all that good stuff. No one needs any more reminders about that.

    Before I rank the top 30 prospects in the Astros system, I'll rank every player by position. The top 30 list should be fun... let's see how close (or how outrageously off the mark) I am to Baseball America's Prospect Handbook, which drops in late January. Here's one thing: Nolan Fontana will not be my #10 prospect.

    I'll start off with the position players. I'll try to list 5, but if I can't, then there's probably fewer than 5 players worth mentioning at the position. You've already read my takes on the players that I've done throughout the 2012 season so I won't do a full-blown analysis of everyone; I'll save that for the top 30.

    Unlike the midseason rankings, no one that played in Houston in 2012 and/or older than 25 will be on this list. Sorry, Jose Martinez.

    Catcher

    Summary: The emergence of Tyler Heineman, a 2012 draftee, and the acquisitions of Carlos Perez and Jobduan Morales through trades, have really bolstered one of the weakest positions in the system. Either of these three could be considered the top prospect at the position, but I think Heineman and Perez both have a leg up on Morales, who's not really far behind.

    1. Carlos Perez
    2. Tyler Heineman
    3. Jobduan Morales
    4. Roberto Pena
    5. Ernesto Genoves

    Genoves repeated Greeneville due to the glut of catchers at the lower levels. He seemed to have taken a bit of a step back, but behind his .235 average was a .252 BABIP. In 2011, he hit .280 with a .337 BABIP, so that was a precipitous drop in that number. However, his walk rate from 2011 to 2012 increased to 9.5%, up from 8.3%, and his strikeout rate, which was 20% in 2011, dipped to 16.2% in 2012. Genoves has improved each year on offense, so I expect a rebound for him next season. He'll probably platoon with Jobduan Morales in the Quad Cities.

    Defensively, Genoves did throw out 1 more runner than last year, but he also allowed 11 more steals (33, against 22 in 2011). Conversely, his caught stealing rate dropped from 31% to 25%. Despite the lower CS%, it also looked as if he became a steadier defender, as his fielding percentage and range factor increased to .991 and 9.6, respectively.

    First base

    Summary: Jonathan Singleton. That's about it. Everyone else is either old (Zach Johnson, Jesse Wierzbicki), injured (Chase Davidson, who's old himself), or has a serious flaw that needs to be corrected (Telvin Nash).

    1. Jonathan Singleton
    2. Telvin Nash

    Nash is strictly DH material.

    Second base

    Summary: Delino DeShields is head and shoulders above the rest in this crop. Behind him are a couple of future utility players and a teenager who is years away, but has a chance to make some noise.

    1. Delino DeShields
    2. Enrique Hernandez
    3. Chan-Jong Moon
    4. Austin Elkins
    5. Juan Santana

    Moon might be the odd man out in the shortstop ladder. He did see time at 2nd in Lexington, and that could be his new position moving forward. With a plethora of higher-upside guys in the middle infield, he might be relegated to a utility role in the long run.

    Hernandez saw the vast majority of his playing time at his natural position and has also played both corner outfield spots. Like Moon, he might be a utility player long-term. He does enough with the bat and is a passable defender, so he has a bit of potential. Hernandez is having an excellent winter in Puerto Rico, and that should boost his stock a bit. He'll return to Corpus in 2013.

    Santana turned 18 towards the end of the GCL season. He is a shortstop, but most of his playing time in 2012 came as a 2B. He handled the move pretty well, committing only 3 errors, finishing with a range factor of 5 and a fielding percentage of .982. At the plate, he looks like a guy who can make consistent contact and probably won't strike out too often. At 18, it's not entirely outrageous for him to repeat the GCL, but I think he might receive a challenge by starting off in Greeneville.


    Shortstop

    Summary: I still believe in Jonathan Villar, but 2013 is a critical year for him, as Nolan Fontana and Jio Mier are hot on his tail. 2012 was a step in the right direction until he broke his hand punching a door, which was rather dumb on his part. Fontana walked all over the Sally League in his debut, but sooner or later, he's gonna have to hit. Mier's 2012 was much needed, though the timing of his injury was unfortunate. Carlos Correa is at least 3 years off, but a strong first full season could potentially put him on the fast track. As I've said before, if any of Villar, Mier, or Fontana becomes entrenched at short, Correa will have find a new position.

    1. Carlos Correa
    2. Jonathan Villar
    3. Nolan Fontana
    4. Jio Mier
    5. Jean Carlos Batista
    6. Jose Fernandez

    I put Batista here because that's his "natural position," per se. However, he has played all the infield positions this past season, mainly because of his bat. With his offensive potential, there should be a place in the lineup for him wherever he starts off in 2013.

    Fernandez split time between Lexington (as an injury replacement) and Greeneville and was cited by former assistant GM Ricky Bennett as one to watch, and he should get his chances to advance through the system. He'll most likely return to Greeneville, where he should get some regular playing time.

    Third base

    Summary: Although Rio Ruiz tops this list and by far has the biggest upside at the position, he's still years away. 3B is still relatively weak in this system, but the acquisition of Bobby Borchering is a slight improvement.

    1. Rio Ruiz
    2. Bobby Borchering
    3. Matt Duffy
    4. Jonathan Meyer

    Speaking of Borchering, he's back at 3rd after roaming the outfield in the Arizona system and has tremendous power potential. He's also a huge strikeout risk at the plate as well. He hasn't solved Double-A yet, so he'll likely be back in Corpus.

    Matt Duffy had a good first full season but wore down as the season progressed. He will turn 24 before Spring Training, so it is possible that he could start off in Corpus. But I'm not sure if the powers that be would want to do that at the expense of Borchering.

    A 3rd-round pick in 2009, Meyer is an excellent defender, but he still hasn't hit. He took a step backwards on offense repeating Lancaster. Meyer is still 22, but his window is closing fast.

    Outfield

    Summary: Well, you have the two-headed monster of George Springer and Domingo Santana, for starters. But behind them are some really interesting names. The Astros outfield was largely crap in 2012, but help is knocking on the door. Definitely the position of strength in the organization.

    1. George Springer
    2. Domingo Santana
    3. Ariel Ovando
    4. Andrew Aplin
    5. Brett Phillips
    6. Austin Wates
    7. Preston Tucker
    8. Terrell Joyce
    9. Brandon Meredith
    10. Marc Krauss
    11. Teoscar Hernandez
    12. D'Andre Toney

    Watch for Meredith, who could put up big numbers in Lancaster. He could turn out to be a steal from Fast Eddie's final draft.

    And now, the pitchers. All but 2 of Jeff Luhnow's trades in the year 2012 brought pitchers to the Astros organization. This ranking will be by their pitching hand (gee, what a novel idea) and role (Starter? Bullpen?).

    One special note: The pitchers' rankings will appear to be a lot more arbitrary than the position player rankings.

    Right-handed Starting Pitchers

    Summary: This is where I believe that the strength of the system lies. I'm confident with the top 4 guys. But, the middle of the list looks pretty interchangeable.

    1. Jarred Cosart (I still believe he's starter material)
    2. Lance McCullers
    3. Mike Foltynewicz
    4. Nick Tropeano
    5. Asher Wojciechowski
    6. Aaron West
    7. Vince Velasquez
    8. Adrian Houser
    9. Jose Cisnero
    10. Kevin Comer
    11. Brady Rodgers
    12. Ross Seaton
    13. R.J. Alaniz
    14. Michael Feliz
    15. Joe Musgrove (only low on the list because he appeared so sparingly)
    16. Chris Devenski (possible sleeper?)
    17. Dan Minor (also putting a sleeper alert on him)
    18. Tyson Perez (also one to watch; really held his own in Lancaster)
    19. Luis Ordosgoitti
    20. Juri Perez
    21. Bobby Doran
    22. Francis Ramirez
    23. Enderson Franco
    24. Samil De Los Santos

    Right-handed relievers

    Summary: Most of these guys are either knocking on the door or at lower levels.

    OKC was largely occupied by journeymen.

    Jason Stoffel led the system in saves. He could get a crack at the Houston bullpen in Spring Training.

    At first glance, Josh Zeid didn't have a great season. However, he had some pretty crappy luck too, despite some pretty good peripheral stats. His FIP was over 2 runs lower than his 5.59 ERA. He should be in OKC for the majority of next season.

    I'm putting Paul Clemens with this group because I've pretty much lost faith in him as a starter. He really took a step back last season, being hampered by injury and inconsistency. A move to the bullpen could revitalize him.

    Chia-Jen Lo was someone that might have been picked in the Rule 5 draft, but left unscathed. Finally healthy after 2 years of elbow problems, he looked as if he had regained his form before Tommy John surgery, when he was being touted as a possible closer. Even though he'll turn 27 right after Opening Day, I could see him being a part of the Astros bullpen in the 2nd half of the season after beginning in Corpus or OKC.

    1. Jason Stoffel
    2. Chia-Jen Lo
    3. Paul Clemens (that is, if he becomes a reliever)
    4. Josh Zeid
    5. Carlos Quevedo
    6. Travis Ballew
    7. Andrew Robinson
    8. Murilo Gouvea
    9. Jordan Jankowski
    10. Mike Hauschild
    11. Jamaine Cotton
    12. Andrew Walter

    Left-handed Starting Pitchers

    Summary: There's a lot of righties in the system. The same can't really be said about left-handed starters. Rob Rasmussen was flipped for John Ely, and he probably would've been #3 on this list. Yeah, it's that bad. Sean Manaea is at the top of my wish list for the 2013 draft.

    Brett Oberholtzer had a shaky start in OKC, but he seemed to get acclimated as the season went on. I know, I know. We can't dwell on that debacle that was the Michael Bourn trade, but I would like to see at least some kind of return.

    1. Brett Oberholtzer
    2. Colton Cain
    3. Rudy Owens
    4. Brian Holmes (Likely sleeper. Also a likely regression candidate)
    5. David Rollins
    6. Luis Cruz
    7. Alex Gillingham
    8. Wes Musick
    9. Blair Walters
    10. Chris Lee
    11. Edwin Villarroel

    Lee was a 4th round pick in 2011 as a 1st year JUCO player. He was actually younger than some of the high schoolers from that draft. His 2012 was a wash, most likely due to injury. While he was pretty inconsistent in his debut, going 1-5 with a 5.18 ERA in 13 starts, 47 strikeouts in 48 2/3 innings was a promising sign, as was his 2.64 groundout-to-flyout ratio. His fastball looks like it could be a plus pitch in time, but there's really not much info on him. Lee was listed on this year's instructional league roster, but I have no idea if he was healthy enough to participate. He is only 20, so time is very much on his side.

    Left-handed relievers

    Summary: You thought the lack of left-handed starters was bad? There's hardly any left-handed pitchers of note in this system.

    Kevin Chapman is on the cusp of Houston. Kenny Long is on the cusp of the fast track. Mitch Lambson is an intriguing name that could be a solid middle reliever in the long run. Three guys to keep an eye on for sure.

    1. Kevin Chapman
    2. Kenny Long
    3. Mitch Lambson
    4. Pat Urckfitz
    5. Alex Sogard
    6. Tom Shirley
    7. Theron Geith (unknown quantity)

    So, there you have it. A ranking of (most) of the prospects in the Houston Astros system. Again, all the talk of the farm system needing improvement is ad nauseam. I'm just glad help is on the way and that this team finally has a direction, even if it has to absorb possibly a 3rd straight 100-loss season.

    Stay tuned for my top 30 list.
     
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  20. xcrunner51

    xcrunner51 Contributing Member

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    "You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to tellitlikeitis again."

    Strong work my friend, top notch as always.

    I'm trying to think up a good write-up to do. Something like a "On the cusp on break-out/bust" type article.
     
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