Senin, 02 Januari 2012

Tending the Farm: Part One

Minor League Baseball tends to inspire a lot of memories from when we were young, such as the first baseball game that we have ever attended, or fond memories of going with family. For the more educated fan, however, MiLB represents hope for their favorite teams future, or the ability to sustain current success. In this series I, or someone else, are going to look at every organizations minor league system and rate the top 5 prospects. At the end of the series I will rate them from best to worst. So without further ado, the Astros.

Houston Astros:
5: Domingo Santana: A toolsy 19 year old outfielder whom the Astros were able to sneak away from the Phillies in the Hunter Pence trade. Scouts consistently praise his plus arm in the corner OF spots. He also has a keen ability to get on base as evidenced by his combined OBP of .362. The only reason I don't have him ranked higher is he tends to strikeout a lot, which can be common for large athletes with a lot of power such as himself, and the fact that he is fairly raw. Grade: C-

4: Jonathan Villar: A young shortstop that had a bad year last year which could easily be attributed to a low BABIP and being pushed up too quickly. His fielding leaves a lot to be desired, although he has great defensive tools. A plus is that if he doesn't develop as a shortstop, his plus arm could be a key tool as it could make it easier for him to change positions. If he performs to his tools he could be a great player, but we don't know if he will perform to his tools. He's a prototypical high ceiling, low floor player. Grade: C

3: George Springer: He hasn't been a professional very long, but he is older than Singleton and has more tools. I have him rated below Singleton because of his small professional sample size. His ceiling is a five tool player at a premium position. He shows gold glove potential, at least at a collegiate level. He has a long swing and little bat control, despite his above average bat speed. He could have a grade of A by next year, but I'd prefer to see him in the pros first. Grade: B-

2: Jarred Cosart: While his numbers may look unimpressive, his stuff is really good, with a plus fastball and a plus-plus curve. His control leaves a lot to be desired, but with the lack of depth at any position in the Astros farm, espescially SP, he is a very important piece of the system. Grade: B

1: Jonathan Singleton: His best skill is his terrific plate discipline. When a 20 year old prospect has a 12.05 BB% in his latest season, it shows plenty of potential for that player. He doesn't hit a ton of home-runs he has more gaps power, which tends to be a recurring problem in the Astros system. He does hit for a lot of contact, which is also a good sign for young players. Even with this evaluation we also have to remember that he is older than his competition in his respective league which makes his number even more impressive. Grade: B+

Overall I give the Astros system a C grade due to their lack of talent. This could change after the next draft, however, due to their first draft pick. If their scouting department is smart, they'll draft top college pitcher Mark Appel. He has a 93-95 fastball and he has gotten it up to 97-98. His best secondary pitch is his slider, which tends to be his out pitch. He also throws a change up and a cutter. His easy delivery is another reason to draft him for the Astros (and any other team for that matter) as it makes it less likely for him to have shoulder or elbow issues. The only exception I can see for their pick is Mike Zunino, a college catcher who plays his position at a major league level and walks a lot. The Astros farm system could change dramatically by the end of the 2012 draft.

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