10. Ross Seaton, RHP (20); Seaton struggled mightily at High-A ball in 2010. Over 146.1 innings, the 20 year old struck out just 85 and had an ERA of 6.64. I’d like to consider it a simple matter of growing pains but his H/9 increased from 9 to 12.2, his HR/9 doubled, K/9 decreased from a not-very-good 5.8 to a worse 5.2, and his K:BB ratio decreased. These are way too alarming to consider him a top-10 prospect. Seaton won’t make my top 15 for 2011.
9. Jon Gaston, OF (23); Excelled for Lancaster in 2009, hitting 35 homeruns and driving in 100 runs in 139 games. Gaston also showed a pretty good triple-slash of .278/.367/.598. However, his move up to Double-A showed he may not be ready for a league outside the hitter friendly CALL. Gaston hit .243/.320/.399. The most concerning part of his season is his decrease in power, as he hit just 13 homeruns in 132 games. The one positive to take is his strikeout % fell from 27 in 2009 to 20 in 2010. Gaston has pretty good speed and is good enough defensively to play Right Field in the majors, but he’ll have to figure out how to balance his raw power with pitch selection. 2011 will be a key year for Gaston and his future.
8. Jay Austin, OF (19); The Astros drafted Austin in the 2nd round of the 2008 draft out of high school. In 2010, Austin played the entire season at High-A Lancaster (in the outfield spot vacated by Gaston). Austin exploded and showed all 5 tools as average or better. In 135 games, he hit 13 triples, 10 homeruns, and stole 54 bases. After two seasons, he’s yet to post an OBP abover .320 which is concerning for a guy whose best asset is his speed. However, he’s good enough defensively to stick in center field and he’s only 19. I like Austin a lot going forward but need to see him get on base more frequently before I project him an MLB regular.
7. T.J. Steele, OF (23); Houston liked this guy enough to draft him twice, and signed him the second time when they took him in the 4th round in 2008. Steele has great raw tools and scouts like his bat speed but right now he doesn’t look like much more than a speed first, toolsy outfielder with good range in CF but no bat. For Corpus Christi in 2010, he hit .228/.259/.315 in 67 games and took his poor K:BB ratio and made it worse (6.7:1 in 2010. Yikes!) Steele hit .345 in 50 games in 2009 so maybe he’s just a streaky guy and I’ll wait to see how he fares over an entire season, but there isn’t much projectability for a 23-year old who can’t hit a lick at Double-A.
6. Tanner Bushue, RHP (19); One of my favorite pitchers in the Astros organization. Bushue played his first full season of ball in 2010 at Single-A Lexington and more than held his own in a hitter’s league at age 19. His strikeout and walk rates are both very good for his age at 7.7 and 3.2 respectively. I expect them to only get better. Bushue has a big frame at 6’4, 180 and could add some power to his repertoire as he learns to use his length better and adds some muscle. He began the season at number 6 and may have even moved up a bit in my mind. He has the potential to be an effective #2 or 3 major league starter.