5. Chia-Jen Lo, RHP (24); I’m not as high on him as some. He’s got the stuff to be a late-inning reliever with a 2.04 ERA and 88 K’s in 79.1 career MiLB innings. However, he also has 43 walks. Lo has to improve his control before he’ll be in the major leagues. He’ll be 25 and hasn’t pitched above Double-A so I’m still exercising a good amount of skepticism.
4. Sammy Gervacio, RHP (25); Gervacio has great stuff and when he made his debut in Houston in 2009, he looked like the makings of a future closer. But he struggled when healthy in 2010. 2011 will be a big year for him but I’m still high on his potential. Very high ceiling.
3. Jiovanni Mier, SS (19); Mier’s 2010 wasn’t quite as smooth as his 2009 Rookie-A introduction but he did show some pretty good patience at the plate. Overall, he did ok for a 19 year old in his first full pro season hitting .235/.323/.314. His defense needs a lot of refining but I think Houston will be committed to keeping him a SS. Mier still has all the tools to be at least a productive MLB regular with some star potential if he develops a little power.
2. Jordan Lyles, RHP (19); Lyles is another guy I’ve written about before. He completely owned Double-A at just 19 posting a 3.12 ERA and 115 strikeouts in 127 innings. For a guy his age he fared decent in Triple-A with a 5.40 ERA in 31.2 innings. Lyles should get a full season of Triple-A work this year and has an outside shot of making a late season appearance in Houston if he continues to progress as quickly as he has. My guess is he’s in Houston’s rotation coming out of spring training in 2012. He’ll be my number one prospect next year and seems on his way to being a front-end starter.
1. Jason Castro, C (23); He didn’t light up Triple-A hitting .265/.365/.355 in 211 at-bats but showed good patience walking nearly as many times as striking out and was probably Houston’s best option behind the plate so he made his debut. Castro hit .205/.286/.287 in 195 at-bats but showed above average defense which is probably his best asset and the bat should come around to make him a pretty good major league catcher. He’ll get as many chances as he’ll need and he was just 23 this season. Castro will be Houston’s everyday catcher in 2011.