Chris Crawford of MLBDraftInsider has been making a “Top 14 in ’14” list for all teams this offseason. Just yesterday, Crawford released his Houston Astros list.
The list (below) will include a small note on each prospect from Crawford’s article, but there is plenty more to read. To view the rest of Crawford’s notes, click here.
He would be a plus-plus defender at third and the bat would play there just fine, but if Correa can stick at shortstop, he’s got a chance to be one of the very best shortstops in all of baseball.
2. Mark Appel
If everything goes right, he should be a quality top-of-the-rotation starter who should be helping the Astros rotation at some point in 2015, maybe sooner.
There’s five tools here, including enormous power in his right-handed bat that is capable of hitting the ball out to any part of any ballpark.
His command is below-average right now and unlikely to be anything more than average, and he still needs to show more ability to change eye-levels and sequence better. That should come, however, and Foltyniewicz has a chance to be a No. 3 starter, with lights-out closer potential as a floor.
His floor is a power-hitting platoon first baseman, and if everything works the way it should Singleton is a guy who can have .300/.400/.500 seasons with 25-35 homers.
Velasquez should be a starter at the big-league level, with a chance to be a No. 2 if the breaking-ball advances and a solid back-end guy even with the fringe-average offering.
7. Delino DeShields Jr.
His swing is short and direct to the ball, but he’s got some strength and he has shown the ability to put the ball into the gaps, with enough pop to turn on balls over the left field fence. He’s being moved back to center-field (more on that later), but he’s likely to end up in left as he doesn’t have great instincts in the field and nowhere near the arm strength to end up in right-field.
8. Rio Ruiz
His power tool could become plus, but most see it more as above-average; capable of hitting 18-20 homers but not elite power production for a third or first baseman.
If the first thing that pops into your mind when you hear the term “power hitter” is strong, well-built guy who can hit a ball 500 feet but also has serious contact issues, then Domingo Santana is your kind of power hitter.
10. Lance McCullers Jr.
His arm-strength is rivaled by few and his fastball will touch the mid 90′s consistently, occasionally reaching back and touching 98. His breaking-ball is a true power breaking-ball without big spin but depth and diving action that’s difficult for left and right-handed hitters to pick up on.
11. Andrew Thurman
There were definitely more “exciting” prospects still on the board when the Astros popped Thurman in the second-round, but outside of Marco Gonzales, he might have been the safest pitching prospect in the class.
12. Michael Feliz
Feliz would have made every other team I’ve featured so far, so the fact that he comes in at No. 12 should be considered more a compliment to the names above him and not a slight to him.
13. Nolan Fontana
There’s very little power projection — he hit just height homers in the California League last year — but he’ll occasionally put the ball into the gap and he’s not just a dink and dunk guy.
Scouts rave about his work-ethic and attitude, but he’s not just a scrappy guy; there’s plus bat speed from the right side and above-average power potential as well.
This is the lowest Lance McCullers has been on top Astros prospects lists. Though many Astros fans think McCullers may be a future ace, their are still scouts that think he belongs in the back end of the bullpen. This will be a big year for McCuller’s development, and he is definitely one of the many of prospects to watch this coming season.
With the season ahead, be sure to be on the lookout for the remaining prospects lists yet to come out.
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