When the Astros make their return to the playoffs in a few years, it is very possible that we look at the 2012 draft as the source of the left side of their infield.
Nolan Fontana (Matt Ryerson-USA TODAY Sports)
Besides the obvious perk of adding Carlos Correa, Jeff Luhnow was able to maximize his draft last season by drafting and signing the shortstop below slot value. That freed up funds to draft players such as Nolan Fontana in the second round.
In three seasons at Florida, Fontana had success batting .287 in 200 games with 17 HR’s, 107 RBI’s, 37 doubles, and 30 stolen bases.
Fontana signed pretty quickly last season and appeared in 49 games in A-ball with Lexington. The shortstop hit just .225 with two home runs, 25 RBI’s and 12 stolen bases in 151 at bats. However, the bright spot is that he walked 65 times while “only” striking out 44 times. Essentially, the only issue here is the batting average, but that is understandable as he was a young player playing professionally for the first time. Also his .464 on base percentage certainly helped.
This season Fontana made the jump to High A-ball spending the season at Lancaster. His batting average improved nicely to .259, which looks even better considering he was playing at a higher level. In 386 at bats, he hit eight home runs while driving in 60 runs, stealing 16 bases, and scoring 88 runs. Again, Fontana continued his success at getting on base as he walked 102 times against 100 strikeouts.
The next step here for Fontana would be to make the leap to AA Corpus Christi in 2014. With that being said, I am intrigued to see how he does this fall in Arizona. As he continues to progress, Fontana is developing into a solid shortstop with potentially above average power for the position and a propensity to get on base.