I know I said that I was done talking about lists and potential. The focus would be what is happening on the field now that Spring Training has begun. But that was a lie, and we have Baseball America to blame. They released their Top 100 prospect list today and 5 Astros prospects made the cut.
While there were some similarities to the MLB list we have discussed in detail, there also were some notable differences. It is important to remember that the MLB list had more of a concentration on current performance and expectations while the Baseball America list had more of a long term view. What is increasingly clear, is that Carlos Correa is truly a stud.
When looking more closely at Correa, it is clear the Astros knew what they were doing when the drafted him first overall last season. And it is clear that the baseball world agrees. For that reason Correa was ranked 13th on today’s list. Jonathan Singleton actually had the same ranking, 27th, on both lists. Another riser on the list was George Springer. Springer is another prospect filled with a huge stable of tools and on the Baseball America list he ranked 37th as opposed to 57th on the MLB list. These players have all been discussed in detail, and we know they are good. However, it is nice to see another source confirm what we are thinking as Astros fans.
A major criticism of the MLB list was the omission of Delino DeShields Jr. While he only ranked 99th on this list, he still made the list, which is a good affirmation of his talents and potential. But the main takeaway from this list for me was the inclusion of Lance McClullers by Baseball America. One of the clear benefits of the Astros drafting Correa last year, was that it also enabled them to draft the hard throwing McClullers who Baseball America ranked 50th on their list.
The only reason why McClullers lasted until 41 was due to concerns about the ease of signing him. In fact those concerns were proven to be accurate as it did cost the Astros $2.5 million to sign him, but right now it is looking like money well spent. Based on his tools, he is immediately the top pitching prospect in the organization. In 26 minor league innings last season, McClullers struck out 29 batters and had a 3.46 ERA in a sure sign of things to come.
Things are certainly looking up for the Astros minor league system which Baseball America ranked 9th overall. Another cause for optimism in the early days of Spring Training has been Chris Carter. If he keeps this up, he will fast earn a reputation as the predominant power hitter in Houston. He has been putting on a show in batting practice and even took out a windshield today. Carter will be a fun player to watch once the games start.
The bottom line, which is getting to be a broken record but something we need to remind ourselves of, is that there is a lot of reasons for optimism here. Let’s see how the hitters handle the curve balls they will face on Thursday in the scrimmage.