I had the great opportunity to have a few questions answered by the people at topprospectalert.com, a website I really respect and enjoy reading. During our interview we discussed a variety of topics ranging from the Astros to the entire MLB when it concerned the minor leagues. I really hope everyone enjoys and gets a glimpse of what is to come.
Alex) The Astros minor league system has been improved a great deal over the last few seasons as the major league team has been stripped to its core. Which Astros prospect do you see making the biggest impact within the next few seasons?
TPA) Jonathan Singleton is a stud. He’s got potential All-Star in his future. They would be wise to sign him to a solid club control deal and keep him around for a while at a low cost.
Alex) The Astros top 5 or so prospects are pretty much universally accepted but which under the radar guy do you see having a nice breakthrough year.
TPA) If Nolan Fontana can hit he will start to get the type of pub that Deshields got last year. The kid is an on-base-percentage machine. He had 65 walks in 49 games last year and finished with a .464 OBP despite hitting just .225 at Lexington. He’s a college kid so he should be pushed to Double-A by the end of 2013.
Alex) Two guys that made huge strides in 2011 were Delino Deshields Jr and Michael Foltynewicz, what do you think their ceilings will be once they reach the big leagues?
TPA) I think Deshields can look forward to a career such as his dad’s with a little bit more power added to the equation. He had a monster year last year and if not for Billy Hamilton stealing the headlines he would probably have a lot more buzz nationally. Like with any young pitcher Foltynewicz needs to stay healthy, but if he can do so, he’s a kid that could be a pretty big part of the Astros future.
Alex) With the massive influx of talent to the Astros organization over the last few seasons, where would you rank the ‘Stros farm system at this point? Top 10 perhaps?
TPA) I’m a huge fan of it. It’s a Top 10 system for sure for me. They have done a fantastic job of raiding prospects from other organizations. When you have guys like Bobby Borchering and Robbie Grossman who were Top 10 prospects in their old organization as barely cracking the Astros Top 20 you know you’ve got a deep system.
Alex) This is has been an absolutely crazy offseason and still plenty to go. So far, which deal involving prospects has shocked you the most and which prospect do you see being dealt still this winter.
TPA) I was kind of shocked that Jake Odorizzi was included in the Wil Myers / James Shields deal. As much as the Royals need pitching and the value of young pitching, and even though Odorizzi probably projects as a 4th starter it was shocking to see him go too. Would have guessed if they were going to add pitching to the deal it would be another guy similar to Mike Montgomerywho has question marks.
Jonathan Singleton ( H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports via USA TODAY Sports)
Alex) Last question before I leave you alone, I know you deal with baseball cards and their value or potential value. Right now, if an Astros’ fan were to invest on a baseball card of one of the ‘Stros minor league players, who should that be?
TPA) Jonathan Singleton, but his stuff is pretty high right now. Deshields can be had at a fairly reasonable price and has plenty of room to grow if he can steal another 100+ bases in 2013. I also think Domingo Santana is pretty undervalued right now as he has 20-25 Home Run potential next year.
Again, thanks to the people at Topprospectalert.com for answering a few questions about the ‘Stros and MLB. Please follow them at @minorleagueblog on twitter and topprospectalert.com as they do a fantastic job.