Local product Ross Seaton was a third round pick by the Astros in 2008. The graduate of Second Baptist School advanced quickly through the minors until repeating at AA last season. Seaton went 8-8 with a 4.07 ERA and a 1.274 WHIP the second time around in Corpus. Those numbers showed little to no improvement over the previous season, causing some Astros fans to wonder if the big right-hander is still a legitimate prospect.
Spending his age 22 season repeating the AA level meant Seaton was no longer on the fast track to the big leagues. But he hadn’t fallen behind and was still playing against players of a similar age. One area where Seaton did show some improvement was his strikeout-to-walk ratio. More of a finesse guy, Seaton has never been a strikeout pitcher (5.8 K/9 IP for his career). He lowered his walk rate from 2.7/9 IP in 2011 to 1.9/9 IP in 2012 while posting a career high 6.5 K/9 IP. Seaton earned a promotion to AAA late in the season and made four starts for Oklahoma City, going 0-1 with a 3.09 ERA.
Even though Seaton has never posted a winning record and has allowed more than a hit per inning at every minor league stop, the Astros still thought enough of him to add him to their 40-man roster prior to the Rule 5 Draft. The team likes his athleticism and thinks he will continue to develop both his physical and mental game. Seaton’s repertoire includes two types of fastballs, a changeup, a slider, and a curve.
All 112 of Seaton’s minor league appearances have been as a starting pitcher. Ross should be headed to Oklahoma City this season and a move to the bullpen could be a possibility. The RedHawks will have no shortage of candidates for their starting rotation and Seaton could become the odd man out. Seaton could be better suited for a relief role, anyway…especially at the big league level. Keep an eye on Seaton. He could surprise us this season.