Joel Roza, of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, broke the Astros down in an excellent column today.
Roza points out that the Astros have had four Texas League Pitchers of the Year since 2000. Who are they?
Hirsh and Albers are the ones that really hurt. They were seen as truly dominant starters in waiting, but they were misused and traded prematurely in two of the most awful deals this decade (Jason Jennings and Miguel Tejada). Albers has been converted into a full-time relief pitcher, though he was recently demoted back to the minors after a rough start. His young career is already in a nosedive at 7-17 with a 5.33 ERA for his career. Hirsh’s story is still much the same as it was in Houston. The Rockies are still unsure about where he belongs and so his injury-plagued start in Major League Baseball continues to disappoint (8-11/5.32 ERA).
The point of this is that the Houston Astros have been ranked dead last in overall organizational talent for two consecutive seasons by Baseball America for a reason. They bring up studs, abuse their arms in the name of getting overpriced, underachieving veterans the innings they feel they’re entitled to and then deal them off in typically awful trades....
The Astros claim to be on their way back to restocking the farm system and are hoping to welcome the likes of Kyle Greenwalt, Jordan Lyles, Ross Seaton and Brad Dydalewicz to Houston in the next couple of years. The keys to success for Houston will be the same as they’ve always been – groom your prospects and give them a fair shot at achieving big league success. A starter won’t flourish in the bullpen. It has happened before, but it’s a dangerous practice – especially with a young player. It can damage the best of arms both physically and mentally. Patience will be a major factor as well. It’s a major jump coming from the minors to The Show. Everyone wishes prospects would be a lot like Roy Oswalt, who pretty much came in and took the ace role as soon as he arrived. But that’s a one-in-a-million type of deal. But you never know until it happens. Here’s hoping the Astros stay true to their word and re-discover that secret ingredient.
Read the whole thing - it's a good column.