Thursday, December 27, 2012

Astros County Top 25 Prospects: 25-21

What a difference a year makes! Since I know we have the smartest readers in the entire internet, I won't rehash just how needed this organizational overhaul was when Houston's rebuild was started a couple years ago. Not only do the Astros now have bona fide prospects knocking on the door, but quality depth on the farm as well. Sure, the last two years have been painful in The Juicebox, but the fans' patience should start paying off soon, with some of these kids making appearances as early as this coming season.

In order to add some semblance of structure to these rankings, I judged a list of about 50 players on four categories: ceiling, floor, production, and intangibles.

Because I don't feel like writing this as a novel, let's break it up a little so I can spend a couple seconds on each player.

25.  Jonathan Villar

"But wait, how can you rank a guy 25th when the experts have him in their top 10?" Honestly, I'm not a Villar fan. The tools are definitely there, and I think he has one of the higher ceilings in the system, but I have doubts that he'll ever put it all together. Between his lackluster production to date, and his questionable make-up I still feel like he could flame out at any minute. But if he pulls it all together this year and proves me wrong, I'll be one of his biggest cheerleaders. This toolsy shortstop will probably spend the year in AAA, but he's still fairly raw. Villar was signed by Philadelphia out of the Dominican Republic and came to Houston in 2010 as part of the Roy Oswalt deal.

24.  Marc Krauss

Marc is a power-hitting corner outfielder who is also capable of drawing a walk. After repeating at AA last year, he'll likely start the season at AAA and could show up in Houston late this season. He was a 2nd round pick for Arizona in 2009 and came to Houston in the Chris Johnson trade last year.

23.  Jiovanni Mier

Yep, Mier ranked above Villar. That just happened. Prior to a pretty bad hamstring injury this season, Mier was showing us why he was a #1 pick in 2009 (Lancaster caveat). He's a more polished fielder at shortstop with a better eye at the plate and, in my opinion, a better makeup than Villar. His ceiling may not be as high, but I think he's more likely to stick around for a little while. Assuming Villar moves up to AAA, Mier will probably be in Corpus this year.

22. Joe Musgrove

Musgrove is a big right-handed starter who battled injuries in 2012. If his health comes back and, with it, his velocity as well he could start moving up the list. He was a supplemental first round pick for Toronto in 2011 and came to the Astros organization as part of the multi-player trade with the BlueJays this year. I doubt Musgrove plays full-season ball this year, so I'll say he starts the year with Tri-City.

21.  Chia-Jen Lo

Lo has bounced around the prospect radar for a few years now. Remember when he was the winning pitcher in the same Futures game as Jason Castro? Well, since then he's thrown just 47 innings in the past three seasons. After injuries threatened to derail his career, he came roaring back in 2012. Lo was signed as a reliever out of Taiwan prior to the 2009 season. I'd expect him to start out at AA and could move up very quickly if his arm and production hold up. We may even see him in Houston in September.


Anonymous said...

Good write up. It's amazing how some of these guys were higher up on the list before but because our trades have infused more talent these guys have fallen back. We just really need another couple of really good prospects to put us over the top.

Conroestro said...

Trostel, interesting list. I am surprised on the placement of these guys. I wont necessarily say that I would think some would be higher until I see the rest of your list and who you got.

I am surprised to see Krauss and Lo ahead of Villar for sure. With the Krauss spot I was guessing that you valued floor a little higher than ceiling, but the Lo placement kind of goes against that since the injury capability provides big bust potential. Add in his age and I doubt he will show up on to many prospect lists. Krauss to me has the ceiling of a fourth outfielder given the inability to stick anywhere in the field. I would take Villar over Krauss.

Still nice list, it's good to have something to discuss this time of year.

Juvenile Court Clerk - Bryan Trostel said...

I was a bit surprised myself once all the dust had settled. I think what it boils down to is, outside of the top 10 or so, the rest are really closely bunched together.

More to come!

Conroestro said...

True, it gets to a point that once the consensus guys are done then you could make an argument for the rest of the C+ guys to be listed in any order.

When it gets to those guys I still like to put the high upside low floor guys over the high floor low upside guys. I also look at who the organization decided to protect and who they gambled with. The fact that Villar was added to the roster while coming off of a down year and the injury says the Astros think highly of him whereas the decision to leave Krauss off the roster gives the impression that they are not quite as high on Krauss. Don't get me wrong, glad we didn't lose Krauss though.

hooksfan said...

I agree with the assessment on Villar. I've seen him the last two years in Corpus Christi. While his bat is good...his fielding and maturity leaves something to be desired. I seen him airmail a ball over 1st base. When your overthrowing a guy like Jimmy Van Ostrand in 2011 it says something about his aim. Plus punching a door because you struck out during a game we were winning points to his immaturity, I guess he wasn't happy with his lead-off homer to start the game. Villar made a token appearance at the need of our season. It was a foolish mistake that the Astros punished him for....he definitely didn't help himself with Fred Nelson being at that game. Krauss impressed me the short time he was with the Hooks. He did struggle against Triple-A pitching with his promotion.