Ever since Jeff Luhnow arrived in Houston, the Astros have not stopped acquiring prospects and improving their minor league system. Those additions have come via the draft and the trade market, but this week the Astros tapped into a different market.
Jeff Luhnow (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)
Teams become good teams by adding talented players, and that is what Luhnow has been doing. But there are only so many players you can add through the traditional channels of building a team, and sometimes you have to step outside of the box. One way to build a team, is to exploit market inefficiencies.
That is what Luhnow did by signing two prospects from the Mexican League; first baseman Japhet Amador and outfielder Leo Heras.
Both players began their professional careers in 2007. Amador, who is 26 will be reporting to Oklahoma City while the 23-year old Heras will be reporting to Corpus Christi.
The signing of Heras was made public last week, and he is regarded as one of the top prospects in the Mexican League. Heras, who hits left handed, has a .318 career average and is batting .310 so far this season along with nine triples, 11 home runs, 42 RBI’s, and 14 stolen bases. Heras has been used mostly as a leadoff hitter and has a nice power/speed combination.
Amador might be closer to the major leagues and a more polished product. In fact, the Red Sox have previously investigated signing Amador, but reportedly the price was too high.
In his career, Amador has played in 503 games and sports a .330 average, 112 home runs, and 400 RBI’s. So far this season the right handed hitting first baseman is hitting .368 with 36 home runs in 104 games while driving in 121 runs.
While both players are highly regarded and have the performance to back it up, there still will be a learning curve and adjustment period. But, that does not change the fact that the Astros have now added two more top prospects and have now entered another market.
The Astros have gotten their fair share of criticism due to their lack of payroll. However, they have not shied away from spending money to build up the scouting department and add to their farm system. This is just another example of that, and proof that hope might be on the way.