Keith Law,a once prospective Astros employee, gave his assessment of all 30 MLB teams via ESPN on Tuesday and was not overly kind to the Astros and the progress they’ve made under the tandem of Ed Wade and Bobby Heck. Law ranked the Astros 27th in his Insider article and made the fact known that he was no fan of the group they had before the Pence and Bourn deals last July. To be honest, he isn’t very enthusiastic about the farm system with those moves either.
Not sure how I feel about his assessment and the way he saw and sees the group of prospects that hopefully will make up the core of the franchise. I praised the efforts by Jeff Luhnow to lure Law into the Astros organization primarily due to the tough approach he is known for but this seems a bit harsh, lets explore.
Law made the point of calling out the Astros’ set of prospects before the Pence and Bourn deals, not sure I see how he could have called it “barren”? Even last season, most minor league experts kept saying the organization was on the right direction and improving. Law himself spoke of the Astros improvements while giving them the exact same rank. While I understand some organizations may have made great improvements through significant trades while others have gone backwards, the Astros have made significant strides for themselves. Most publications have given the Astros better rankings, all the way up to the 15th spot but as I noted above, Law is known for being a tough critic. The potential development of a few of the Astros younger prospects could change his view of the organization because as of right now, it’s not very good.
While I believe Law is being overly critical, his statement carries merit. The farm teams throughout all levels have been just short of embarrassing with their performance. While the individual talent has risen over the last few years, their results have been one of the worst, if not the worst, in baseball. While these evaluations are suppose to be about individual players, how the system does as a whole can be looked upon as well. Another factor is the overall depth of the system, the Astros have a pretty nice top 5 but after that the remaining group has question marks. While Law wasn’t very high on the overall system he included Jonathan Singleton, George Springer and Jarred Cosart on his top 100 prospect list. This speaks volumes of what he thinks of the rest of organization. Many of the younger prospects have to prove their worth this season like Mike Kvasnicka, Jiovanni Mier and Ross Seaton as a good season could legitimize their selections. By showing improvement these players will help the system’s depth, making the drop from the 5th best prospect to the 8th or 9th not seem so steep.
I think as the major league and minor league seasons unfold, more prospects will shine. This will help bring their rankings to the level most of us imagine they should be. The organization still has a ton of work ahead but as even they admitted, they drafted high school kids understanding it would take a while regardless and creating a core group to grow up together. Once those kids start to show their expected promise, these rankings might look a lot different.