Jonathan Mayo and the rest of the MLB.com prospect crew released their top 20 prospects for the Houston Astros. Before we get to the list itself, check out what Mayo and Astros GM Jeff Luhnow had to say about their farm system.
The list (below) will include a small note on each prospect from MLB.com, but there is much more to read on each prospect. Click here for all the notes on each prospect.
1. Carlos Correa – ETA: 2016
Correa earns high marks for his work ethic and makeup, and he has a chance to be an impact player regardless of his future position.
2. Mark Appel – ETA: 2015
Appel profiles as a top of the rotation starter and could reach Houston in a hurry.
3. George Springer – ETA: 2014
Springer ended the 2013 season with Triple-A Oklahoma City, and it won’t be long before he makes his Major League debut.
4. Jonathan Singleton – ETA: 2014
Before trading him, the Phillies tried Singleton in left field, but he is strictly a first baseman now. He is a capable defender there, though his success will ultimately be determined by how well he hits.
5. Lance McCullers Jr. – ETA: 2016
Some scouts still feel he is best suited for a role in short relief like his father, but there is growing sentiment he can make it as a starter.
6. Michael Foltynewicz – ETA: 2015
As they do with most of their pitching prospects, the Astros have used Foltynewicz as both a starter and a reliever. While some scouts see him more as a closer, he has the tools necessary to fit into a Major League rotation one day.
7. Delino DeShields Jr. – ETA: 2015
The Astros made DeShields a second baseman after drafting him in the first round in 2010, but they moved him back to his natural position of center field during the Arizona Fall League in 2013. He is a good fit in the outfield, where his speed plays up.
8. Domingo Santana – ETA: 2014
Santana is an average defender, with a strong arm. Big and physical, he fits the prototypical profile for a power-hitting right fielder.
9. Vincent Velasquez – ETA: 2016
Now that he’s healthy, Velasquez has the stuff to start moving more quickly through the Minor Leagues.
10. Michael Feliz – ETA: 2017
Though Feliz is still raw, he demonstrates a good feel for pitching and won the New York-Penn League ERA title as a 19-year-old in 2013.
11. Rio Ruiz – ETA: 2016
After seeing how well Ruiz made the adjustment to his swing and the results that followed, the Astros are encouraged about his future.
12. Max Stassi – ETA: 2014
Injuries have dogged Stassi throughout his career, even forcing him onto the disabled list during his brief stint in the big leagues. If he can stay healthy, Stassi has the potential to be an everyday catcher.
13. Teoscar Hernandez – ETA: 2016
Hernandez has a strong arm and is a capable center fielder. He is still physically maturing though and if he loses a bit of speed as he fills out he’ll likely need to move to a corner. Even if a position change does come to pass, he has the tools to be an everyday player.
14. Asher Wojciechowski – ETA: 2014
Wojciechowski has the look of a dependable, workhorse starter and is nearly ready for the Major Leagues.
15. Josh Hader – ETA: 2016
Even with all of his advances so far, Hader still has a lot left to improve on. His secondary pitches have good potential, but are inconsistent and he needs to refine his command. He remains something of a project, albeit one with tremendous upside.
16. Andrew Thurman – ETA: 2016
Thurman earns high marks for his makeup and work ethic. His overall package gives him the chance to move quickly through the Minor Leagues.
17. Nick Tropeano – ETA: 2014
Tropeano’s slider is the key to his development. If he can tighten it up, giving him a third quality offering, he will fit nicely into a Major League rotation.
18. Nolan Fontana – ETA: 2015
Fontana may profile more as a utilityman than an everyday player, but scouts don’t doubt that he’ll find a way to make an impact in the Major Leagues.
19. Kyle Smith – ETA: 2015
Smith mixes all of his pitches well and doesn’t back down from hitters, despite his lack of power stuff. His ceiling doesn’t match that of some of the Astros’ top pitching prospects, but he has all the tools necessary to one day help the Astros rotation.
20. Danry Vasquez – ETA: 2016
Vasquez is a below-average runner, limiting him defensively. He is passable in left field, but his bat will have to continue to produce as he advances through the Minor Leagues.
– Jonathan Mayo and company seem to still give Jonathan Singleton his respect and believe he can turn things around. Others are more skeptical, but it’s safe to say this is a HUGE season for Singleton.
– McCullers also gets ranked pretty high as MLB.com has him at #5 and the second best pitching prospect on the Astros. Other sites had Foltynewicz higher, but it’s nice to see McCullers get some fanfare for his good start to his career.
– I expect at least four of these prospects (Singleton, Springer, Stassi, and Wojciechowski) to graduate from this list, and possible a few others as well.
Astros fans. The talent is close. It’s coming. Just be patient and it will all pay off. I promise!