Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Minor League Ball's Top 20 Astros prospects

Minor League Ball's John Sickels posted his Top 20 prospects for the Astros. Here's the list, with some of Sickels' comments:

1. Jason Castro
2. Jordan Lyles - I almost ranked him #1
3. Jiovanni Mier - Chance to be a national top 20 prospect a year from now
4. Sam Gervacio - Could be a future closer if it all comes together
5. Chia-Jen Lo
6. Tanner Bushue - Could pull a Lyles in '10
7. T.J. Steele - Could explode in '10
8. Jay Austin
9. Jon Gaston - Has better tools than he is given credit for
10. Ross Seaton - Reports of dropping velocity concern me
11. Matt Nevarez - Good trade pickup. Underrated
12. Fernando Abad
13. Juri Perez
14. Chris Johnson - Looks more like a decent contributor than a future starter to me
15. Polin Trinidad
16. Collin DeLome - Command of the strike zone is a big problem
17. Brian Bogusevic - I can still see him as a useful fourth outfielder
18. Enrique Hernandez - I have a good intuitive feeling about him
19. Brad Dydalewicz
20. J.D. Martinez

The Astros system has improved over the last two years. Jason Castro, Lyles, and Mier are a strong front three, and after them there's a nice mixture of upside (Bushue, Austin, Seaton), guys ready for or on the verge of the majors (Gervacio, Lo), and people in the middle with questions but potential (Gaston, Steele). As stated, there are some interesting Grade Cs beyond them. But the organization falls short in terms of depth, a hangover from botched drafts earlier this decade.

The system does have some strengths. The Latin American operation quietly continues to pump Grade C guys into the system, and some of the younger ones have upside beyond that. The scouting staff has done well in the last two drafts. The problems with this organization go back to short-sighted ownership decisions. If the baseball folks can maintain the momentum from the last two drafts, things will look up eventually.