15. Polin Trinidad, LHP (25); Trinidad struck out 93 and walked 40 in 123 innings between Double and Triple-A in 2010. That’s decent control but very weak K/9 stuff. He was used mostly as a starter but his best bet to make the majors is as a lefty/long reliever. But even to do that he needs to refine his approach a bit. At 25 years old, 15 was a pretty optimistic ranking.
14. Chris Johnson, 3B (25); Everyone’s read about Chris Johnson. After hitting .329/.362/.570 for Triple-A Round Rock, the third baseman was called up to Houston to replace starting 3B Pedro Feliz (who shouldn’t have been starting anyway). Johnson promptly hit .308/.337/.481 with 11 homeruns in 341 at-bats on his way to contending for a Rookie of the Year award. However, it was probably a mirage. His .387 BABiP is absolutely unsustainable and his 15:91 K:BB ratio is alarming. I’d expect his 2011 numbers to look more like .265/.310/.440 with 18-23 homeruns.
13. Yuri Perez, RHP (19); Of the pitchers in this post, Perez has by far the highest ceiling. In 2009, over 51.2 innings at Rookie-A Greeneville, Perez struck out 60 batters and walked just 19. He also gave up just 43 hits. And he was only 18. In 2010, Perez was only able to throw 8.1 innings due to injury so missing a prime year of development hurts his prospect status but he’s young and has great stuff. Yuri Perez could be a huge sleeper-prospect in 2011.
12. Fernando Abad, LHP (24); Made his major league debut in 2010 and posted a 2.84 ERA over 19 innings. It’s a tiny sample size but he was hard to hit giving up just 14. The concerning part though is 3 were homeruns and he only struck out 12 batters. His career minor-league numbers suggest they were just growing pains with a 9.5 K/9 and 6.62 K:BB over 5 seasons. Abad should be a big part of Houston’s bullpen next season and I love his last name’s nickname potential. (He’s Abad, bad man etc. You get the idea.)
11. Matt Nevarez, RHP (23); Nevarez has the stuff to be a monster in the bullpen if he can improve his control. The 23-yr old struck out 41 batters in 38.1 innings for Double-A Corpus Christi but issued an absurd 46 walks. Nevarez walked just 15 batters and struck out 63 in 43.1 Single-A innings in 2009 so this past season may have just been an adjustment period. I still like his potential as a reliever and could be contributing in Houston by 2012.