I’ll be honest, when the announcement was made that Astros selected Josh Fields in this year’s Rule 5 draft I wasn’t pleased. The pick was good, no doubt, and reasonable but it seemed safe. A bullpen guy, again, in the draft but I’ll be the first to admit, I didn’t do my homework on Mr. Fields. I broke the rule of any good baseball fan and simply saw a 27 year old reliever in AAA. Well, after a few days of seeing what others had to say and seeing the back story on Fields, I’m happy to be wrong, very wrong.
Most of the people who study this type of stuff have come out with glowing remarks on the selection. Now, it’s also pretty much accepted that Fields was not only the right choice but the only choice. Jonathan Mayo has even installed Josh as the 19th best Astros prospect, even at the advanced age. Unlike years past when it was more because the system was utter trash, this time it’s because the player has got serious value. It seems like the Astros are getting Fields at the ideal time, as he has found control to go with a mid 90s fastball and a pretty devastating curve. From listening to most, including Josh himself, a mechanical change in his delivery has made all the difference. You can expect Jose to battle it out for late inning work, and that is almost never seen from a Rule 5 draftee.
My choice was Jesus Aguilar simply due to potential. I was prepared to stick him on the bench and stash him away until we could send him to AAA next season. The power potential was very tempting and I was seduced by what he could become in a couple years. Looking at the situation now, I see the logic by most teams in passing on him, including the Stros. Given the options, Fields will not only contribute this season but for many more, if all plays out as expected. The Stros need bullpen help in the worst way, especially after dealing Wilton Lopez to the Rockies, so Fields provides help in that regard immediately. Aguilar wouldn’t be a productive member of the 25 man roster until probably 2015 at the earliest, actually most of the Rule 5 draftees won’t be very productive until then. This, the praise from most everyone, and the enthusiasm from the Stros front office. They now have added a young, club controlled and cheap option to the bullpen.
So, hey, everyone sees the light eventually and admits to his errors. I went from eh to heck yea when in regards to Josh Fields, now lets hope he produces as most expect him to.