Houston Astros Top Three Shortstop Prospects (2016)
This time last year the depth at shortstop in the minors looked completely different. The rankings were lead by the Astros #1 prospect, Carlos Correa. As we all know, Correa dominated the minors and forced his way to the MLB club where he hit 22 HRs and helped the team make the playoffs. Oh, and he won the American League Rookie of the Year.
But how many teams can lose their top prospect, a shortstop, and then replace him on the prospect list with another top prospect?? The Astros did just that with the selection of Alex Bregman. This position is deep and has a good mix of high upside guys and high floor guys.
Lets get to the list!
1. Alex Bregman (A+)
As previously stated, Bregman was selected by the Astros with the #2 overall pick in the 2015 draft. Bregman came into the system with high expectations and he showed why he was selected so high joining the Jethawks in his first pro season, which is pretty much unheard of. Coming out of college Bregman was thought to be one of the best pure hitters in the draft. He also possesses good speed and baserunning ability while playing solid defense at the shortstop position.
Bregman had a short stint with QC (29 games) where he hit .259, including a stellar 17 BB/13 SO ratio. He was later promoted to Lancaster where he hit .319 with 8 2B, 4 3B, 3 HR in 37 games. Bregman could start the season in Corpus which means he is on the cusp of being a potential call-up.
2015 Stats: 66 G, .294 BA/.366 OBP/.415 SLG, 13 2B, 4 3B, 4 HR, 34 RBI, 13 SB, 29 BB/30 SO
2. Jonathan Arauz (Rookie)
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Arauz was originally signed by the Phillies as a 16 year old for $600,000. He came to the U.S. immediately and played in the GCL as a 16 year old, 3.4 years younger than the average age. Arauz came to the Astros in the big Ken Giles deal in which the Astros shipped out quite a few pitching prospects. But Arauz isn’t just filler. He isn’t blazing fast but is quick and athletic enough to stick at shortstop. Arauz is also a switch hitter with a line drive swing and a good contact rate, especially for his age. If the Astros are aggressive he could start out in QC at only 17 years old.
2015 Stats: 44 G, .254 BA/.309 OBP/.370 SLG, 10 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 18 RBI, 13 BB/29 SO, 105 wRC+
3. Miguelangel Sierra (Rookie)
Choosing the third best prospect was tough. It came down to ceiling versus floor and for this post I went with the ceiling. Sierra was signed by the Astros in 2014 out of Venzuela. At the time Sierra was only 16 years old but known to have fundamentals and instincts beyond his years. He was also known as a prospect with high baseball IQ. Sierra got his start in the Dominican Summer League last season .302 with 17 2B, 3 HR in 45 games. This was enough for him to come to the United States and play with the GCL squad. He struggled only hitting .160 in 24 games.
2015 Stats: 69 G, .258 BA/.365 OBP/.398 SLG, 19 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, 20 RBI, 12 SB, 28 BB/81 SO
Nolan Fontana – Fontana has the higher floor than both Arauz and Sierra but without as much upside. Fontana was drafted by the Astros in the 2nd round of 2012 and knows how to take a walk. He has drawn 302 walks in 319 career minor league games. Last year Fontana had a decent season in AAA posting a .369 OBP but with only a .241 BA. He has a chance to make an impact this season.
Kristian Trompiz – Trompiz was one of my breakout picks for 2015. He played in QC at just 19 years old. He hit .251 with 19 2B, 6 HR, 40 RBI in 113 games. One positive is he only struck out 85 times but his walks just about disappeared. I still think he could be a breakout candidate for 2016.
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