Astros prospect George Springer had another big game Saturday in Arizona Fall League action. Springer followed up Friday’s two homerun game with three more hits, including a double and a triple. Springer’s seventh inning single drove in a pair of runs as the Solar Sox plated seven in the frame to take the lead. Mesa would go on to beat Peoria 11-8.
The Solar Sox record stands at 10-16 with just four games left in the regular season. Last season Astros prospects were members of the Salt River Rafters, winners of the AFL championship. The Solar Sox will not be able to duplicate that feat but the Astros prospects who are playing there have gained valuable experience.
Springer has been the most pleasant surprise. After posting tremendous numbers at Lancaster, the former first-round pick struggled a bit following his late season promotion to AA. The AFL provides perhaps an even higher level of competition than AA and Springer has been nothing less than a star.
Sure it’s a small sample size and the AFL has always been known as a hitter’s league, but I can’t help but be excited about the numbers Springer is putting up. If nothing else, it shows that he has gotten comfortable playing against the next level of competition. In 18 games Springer has a .293/.438/.586 slash line. That’s an OPS of 1.024. Nine of his seventeen hits have been for extra bases and he has driven in 13 runs. Springer has also scored 15 runs and stolen five bases without being caught. I’d have to say that’s plenty to be excited about.
Add in the fact that Springer is a plus defender at a position where defense is paramount and we’re talking about a five tool player. The increased workload of the additional league also seems to be a non-issue for the 23-year old.
Springer came into the 2012 season rated as the league’s 49th best prospect by Baseball Prospectus. He was ranked 59th by Baseball America and 84th by mlb.com’s Jonathan Mayo. After the year he’s had, I would expect to see Springer in the top 50 of everyone’s 2013 rankings.
Springer is tabbed to start the season at AA Corpus Christi. If he continues to progress we could see him in Houston come September. Springer could be patrolling centerfield in Miute Maid Park on a regular basis by Opening Day of the 2014 season. Hang in there Astros fans. Help is on the way.