With the offseason in full swing we will start seeing many Astros top prospects lists coming out from many different prospect evaluators. Chris Crawford (Draft To The Show) has come out with his Top 15 Houston Astros prospects in ’15 list. We’ll include a bit of Crawford’s thoughts on each prospect but I encourage you to check out the whole article.
Top 15 In ’15
Simply put, Correa is one of the five best prospects in baseball, with the rare combination of high ceiling and floor, and he should become one of the best young shortstops in baseball by the summer of 2016.
2. Mark Appel
Still, with three plus pitches and a chance for above-average command, Appel has a chance to be a No. 2 starter, and it wouldn’t shock me if he took a major jump in 2015.
3. Colin Moran
Assuming he can stay at third for the medium-to-long term, Moran has enough offensive ability to be an above-average regular who can get on base at a strong clip and give you close to average power production at the position.
There’s boom or bust in Santana, but at his best he’s a potential 250/350/480 hitter who can play a solid average right field, and if worse comes to worse he could be a quality bench bat who gives left-handed pitchers a lot of trouble.
Still, because of his natural ability and the fact that he’s shown improvement each season, it shouldn’t shock anyone if Feliz becomes a big league starter, with high-leverage reliever a possibility if the command/delivery concerns overwhelm the positives.
If the curveball makes a jump Velasquez is a top three prospect in the system, but even if it’s just an average offering he has a chance to be a solid middle-rotation arm that can miss bats with a frame that suggests he’ll be an innings eater as well.
7. Rio Ruiz
Defensively, I still have some questions about Ruiz. His arm is above-average, but he’s a poor runner with very little range, and is the more likely of the two (he and Moran) to end up across the diamond. There might be enough offensive upside for him to justify said move, but if he can stick at the hot corner, there’s a chance he might usurp Moran as the best corner infield prospect in the system.
Of all the Houston prospects I spoke to scouts about this year, the one who got the most differing opinions was Hernandez. Some believe he’s one of the five best prospects in the system, some didn’t have them in their top twenty. I split the difference.
9. Derek Fisher
Even with the defensive struggles and consistency issues, Fisher is still justifiably a top 10 prospect, and if there’s a hitter here who is going to be a 30-30 player, I’d bet it was him.
At worst, Foltynewicz should become a high-leverage reliever, maybe even a closer if a manager trusts him enough to throw strikes in close games. There’s still a chance to start, but unless the command or change see at least a grade improvement, it’s tough to see that lasting long-term.
11. Lance McCullers Jr.
The industry is higher on McCullers right arm than me, with several scouts I spoke with believing he has a chance to be the best pitcher in the organization, including Appel. I just believe there’s a little too much volatility here, as I see closer ceiling and frustrating organizational arm as a floor.
12. Josh Hader
He pounds the strike zone from his low three-quarters delivery, but the arm-slot may be too low for him to start at the major league level. Houston will give him every chance to do just that, but long-term he’s likely a reliever who’s death to southpaws and good enough vs righties to be more than LOOGY.
13. A.J. Reed
Don’t be surprised if Reed is one of the real risers in the Astros system, and though he’ll never be a star a solid average first baseman who can give you 25 to 30 homers is within the realm of possibilities.
14. Nolan Fontana
If he continues to show the same plate discipline at Triple-A next season, it wouldn’t be a major upset if Fontana became a trade target for clubs looking for a middle infielder — with second base the more likely landing spot — who can get on base at the bottom of the lineup while playing solid-average defense.
15. Andrew Thurman
There are some players I left off with more upside than Thurman (Brett Phillips, J.D. Davis, Kyle Smith), but I think Thurman has the best chance of becoming a big leaguer, with mid-rotation starter ceiling and swing man floor.
- Crawford does a good job of justifying his list, but their are certainly some question marks. Foltynewicz and McCullers are lower on this list than you’ll see on many others. He doesn’t trust their ability to make it as a starter, hence his lower ranks.
- He seems very high on Derek Fisher, something I haven’t seen much from other prospect evaluators quite yet.
- Domingo Santana does make his list. He’ll be fighting for a OF spot this Spring Training unless traded earlier.
- Surprised not to see Brett Phillips on this list, though that has more to do with the Astros depth than Phillips’ ability.
- I agree with Crawford’s belief that Appel could be a #2. I expect a huge year from him this coming year.
Houston, the future is bright!