Call to the Pen is one of the best baseball blogs out there and should be required reading for fans of our nation’s pastime. CttP is one of the more active blogs featuring a team of writers whose strong work is outweighed only by their consistency. One of these writers, Nathaniel Stoltz, has been extremely busy this offseason. Stoltz has reviewed every organizations minor league affiliates and ranked the top 100 prospects in the game. What you might find particularly interesting is where he has a couple of Astros. I recently ranked the 40(ish) best prospects in Houston’s system with 19-year old pitcher Jordan Lyles coming out as the organizations best. Stoltz showed he may be even higher on Lyles by naming him the #3 prospect in the game.
Coming into the 2010 season, Baseball America had Lyles the 91st best prospect in baseball. But when you tear up Double-A and get promoted to Triple-A when you’re 19, you’re going to turn a few more heads. Lyles was the Astros 1st round pick (38th overall) in 2008 and has a chance to be in the majors sometime in 2011. He’s a righty with a big frame at 6’4″, 185 and is extremely polished for his age. He hasn’t shown great strikeout-stuff above the A level but as Stoltz notes, “He’s been on such an accelerated timetable that it’s tough to know what his talent level is relative to everyone around him.” Stoltz likes Lyles repertoire though, and believes he could develop into more of a swing-and-miss pitcher by pointing out “Lyles has five or six good pitches in his arsenal already, so once he settles into the majors and figures out what works there, we could see him add some whiffs.” I would also add his tall frames projects a good opportunity to gain muscle.
It’s an excellent write up on Jordan Lyles and the rest of the prospects. I highly recommend reading through his list in its entirety. Part of me wants to leave it at that so at the very minimum, you’d comb through to find J.D. Martinez on the list but I guess I should say Spoiler Alert since I’m about to tell you. Martinez comes in at #78. Not bad for a 20th round pick in his first full season of pro ball. And Stoltz thinks J.D. could replace Carlos Lee in left field once Lee’s contract is up.
Thanks to the guys over at Call to the Pen for their excellent work. And thanks to Jordan Lyles for making top-prospect lists once again relevant to Astros fans.