The Astros Have Prospects to be Excited About
By Ray Kuhn
Only four? Based on the accolades the Astros’s farm system has received recently, one would have assumed that more than four Astros minor leaguers would have made MLB’s Top 100 Prospect list that was released this week. But this list is not meant to be all inclusive. 100 players between 30 teams and all of their farm teams really is nothing. A lot of good players were not only left off the list, but the discussion as well.
Carlos Correa (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)
Before getting too worked up over the composition of this list, let’s keep in mind that Delino DeShields Jr stole more than 100 bases last year and did not make the list. That should tell how deep of a list this truly is. This list is not as much a list of the absolute best 100 minor league players, or the 100 players that will go on to have the best major league careers. Other factors in this list include the immanency of a player’s arrival to the major leagues and therefore the effect they will have on their team in the near future. DeShields did his damage in Class A ball last season and will be spending all of 2013 in the minor leagues. Next year there is no reason why he should not be on this list.
However for one Astros prospect their age and distance from Houston was not an issue. 2012 first overall draft choice Carlos Correa was ranked 30th on the list. Although it does not make up for the painful losses of 2011, it is something to feel good about. There is a tangible reward here and Correa represents the future. He is clearly a talented player who should make big strides this season.
The suffering of 2010 seems to be paying more immediate dividends. George Springer was drafted with the 11th pick in the 2011 draft and last season proved worthy of that selection. In 2012 Springer acclimated himself well in his first full season and finished the year at AA. As he moves through the Astros system, the 57th best prospect is a name Astros fans will get used to hearing in the near future.
Hunter Pence was not only an All-Star but he was a fan favorite. Trading him was emotional and not easy to say the least. Seeing older veterans that you didn’t have an emotional attraction to get traded was one thing, but Pence was something else. At least personally, I thought he was going to be an Astro for the duration of his career. That proved not to be the case as he was traded to Philadelphia. But if there is solace to be had, it is that the Astros did receive top notch prospects in return. Both Jonathan Singleton (27th) and Jarred Cosart (89th) made the list and should help Astros fans to forget Pence.
There is a lot about this list to be positive about for Astros fans. All four of these players are future stars and extended profiles of each of them will be appearing in this space in the near future. But for me, this was the first year that I actually had optimism and excitement about the release of this list. While there are only four Astros here, there are many other prospects that can and likely will make noise in the near future. This is just the beginning as the Astros have now built a successful minor league system. That is the true victory.