The Future at Each Position For the Astros and Cubs


With spring training a week away, the Astros and Cubs have been linked many times this offseason between their prospects, strikeout ability, and the Dexter Fowler trade. People are also suggesting that the Astros could face the Cubs in the 2017 World Series. I wanted to look at who would be the starter at each position if they do make the World Series two years from now.

I learned my lesson about trying to compare the Astros prospects to other teams with the Rangers versus Astros top-5 prospects list I did this week. I am not comparing, just looking at the similar course the two teams are on. Yes, this is all subject to change because of trades or free agent signings, but here is my best guess.


Astros – Max Stassi

Stassi had been the catcher in waiting since the Jed Lowrie trade. He tore up the minor leagues, and probably lost his chance to contribute for the Astros sooner by getting hit by a pitch in the head early in the 2013 season. Rumors keep having Jason Castro being traded, but for now the future appears to belong to Max Stassi.

Cubs – Victor Caratini

Caratini is a switch-hitter who could be one of those players like Carlos Santana who could play catcher as well as third base. He will not hit for power like Santana does, but could hit for average and pile up extra base hits.

First Base

Astros – Jon Singleton

Singleton signed an extension before he even faced his first major league pitch. He suffered a terrible first season with the Astros, but it’s too soon to start comparing him to Brett Wallace. He may never hit for average, but his power should show up 25 to 30 times per year. Singleton did hit 13 home runs in 2014, but with just a .168 batting average.

Cubs – Anthony Rizzo

Like Singleton, Rizzo struggled with his first cup of tea in the majors, but the Cubs traded for him and were patient with him. Rizzo is a prime reason why Astros fans shouldn’t be in a rush to give up on Singleton yet. While Rizzo’s RBI numbers (78 in 2014) have not matched his 32 home runs he hit last year, with an improved lineup that should chage. If the Cubs can cure their Astros-like strikeout rates, this should lead to more runners in scoring position.

Second Base

Astros – Jose Altuve

Altuve has brought something back to the Astros that they have not had since Craig Biggio retired: a leader at the second base. While Altuve does not have the same amount of power that the newly elected Hall of Famer Craig Biggio possessed, his overall game makes Astros fans nostalgic to the days of Biggio and Jeff Bagwell. He should be a long-time Astro, because I can’t see him in other uniforms.

Cubs – Javier Baez

Javier Baez is in the same boat as Jon Singleton. They keep on paddling around and around, and not seeing the ball. However, once Baez and Singleton realize that it’s just a game and relax a bit, they will be able to focus on the game more. Baez was ranked much higher than Singleton in 2014, and was crushing the ball last spring training. He will produce big stats in home runs and stolen bases, but will need to improve on his .169 average from 2014.

Third Base

Astros – Colin Moran

Will have to beat out veteran Jed Lowrie for playing time in 2017. He profiles as a Dave Magadan or Chris Carpenter hitter, meaning that power is not part of his game. It’s too early to be able to predict what to expect from Moran, but he is the third baseman of future after the Rio Ruiz trade.

Cubs – Kris Bryant

I’m sure you all have read a lot about the #2 prospect in all of baseball, so I will not waste too much time. He’s going be good, and hit for power. He’ll probably have a similar career to Ryan Braun, in terms of moving from third base to the outfield. Bryant is the only player I will say could be better than Carlos Correa, but only because of his power.


Astros – Carlos Correa

Carlos Correa was the number one overall pick in 2012, and he is now ranked by MLB Pipeline as the third best overall prospect. Last season he was hampered by a broken right fibula after only 62 games in 2014. In those 62 games at High-A Lancaster, he hit 0.325/ 50 runs/ 6 2b/ 3 3b/ 6HR/ 57 RBI/ 30 SB. He will most likely start year of at AA, and depending on how he plays, might be a September call-up.

Cubs – Addison Russell

The Cubs acquired one of the top prospects in baseball by trading Jeff Samardzija to the A’s. The shortstop position is now occupied by Starlin Castro, but like the Astros, he could probably be had in a trade. He has drawn comparisons to Barry Larkin and Miguel Tejada, because of his mature batting approach. Russell has hit 0.300/ 0.379/ 0.533 so far in the minors. He is the heir to shortstop once Castro is out of the picture.

Left Field

Astros – Preston Tucker

Preston Tucker may not be ranked as high as some of his peers, but he’s done nothing but hit since he signed the dotted line after he was drafted. He’s capable of hitting in the mid-twenties in terms of home runs with a .280 -.290 batting average. He will have to fight Evan Gattis, Brett Phillips, or other prospects for the left field position.

Cubs – Kyle Schwarber

Similar to Caratini, Schwarber can play catcher and outfield. He was the best all-around college player when he entered into the 2014 draft, where he went fourth overall. If he becomes the catcher, he could be a Buster Posey type of player.

Center Field

Astros – Teoscar Hernandez

Besides Springer, Teoscar Hernandez could be the next 5-tool player for the Houston Astros. Once he’s ready, a 20-20 season is pretty reasonable for Hernandez. He went 30-30 last year in the minors.

Cubs –

Drafted in the first round of the 2012 MLB draft, Albert Almora has struggled a little with professional baseball so far. He profiles as a .280 average  hitter with 15 home run type power.

Right Field

Astros – George Springer

Springer brings the excitement on and off the field, like few people can. He plays with a Hunter Pence type of effort, which could lead to injuries. He’s has the most raw power on the Astros, besides Astros home run champion Chris Carter. Springer offers a good balance of defense, hitting, power, and speed.

Cubs – Jorge Soler

The Cubs were probably expecting more from the Cuban defector by now. But MLB Pipeline still ranks him as their #22 top-prospect. He offers power and decent speed, and should make his mark this year.


Astros – Evan Gattis and/or Chris Carter

I almost forgot about El Oso Blanco while I was typing this. The Astros will have to find a place for Preston Tucker, because he is already at AAA. The Astros might trade Chris Carter for a starting pitcher during the 2016 season. I like what Carter brings, but I think Gattis > Carter.

Number One Starting Pitcher

Astros – Mark Appel

This may be a little premature to label Marl Appel as the ace in his second full season, but that’s what Astros fans are hoping for. He did struggle in the minors in 2014, but pitched better towards the end and should continue to develop his stuff to become a front-of-the-line starter.

Cubs – Jon Lester

Not much to say about Lester. He will be the number one pitcher with the price the Cubs paid for him. In 2014, Lester won 16 games/ 2.46 ERA/ 1.10 WHIP/ 220 SO. Lester is the best “Ace” pitcher the Cubs could have gotten.

Number Two Starting Pitcher

Astros – Collin McHugh

The emergence of Collin McWho took baseball by storm last year. He had success in the minor leagues, but struggled in earlier stints in the majors. His ERA may rise, but with his curveball, his strikeouts should be consistent. I choose him over Keuchel for the number two spot because of his strikeouts and WHIP. In 2014 McHugh won 11 games/ 3.56 ERA/ 1.02 WHIP/ 157 SO.

Cubs – Jake Arrieta

Jake “from State Farm” Arrieta is sort of late bloomer. He had his breakout season at 29-years old. If he is still on the team in 2017 will depend on how successful he was the previous two years. His track record says he should not be pitching this well. In 2014 Arrieta won 10 games/ 0.253 ERA/ 0.99 WHIP/ 167 SO.

Number Three Starting Pitcher

Astros – Dallas Keuchel

This is assuming two things, is Keuchel still pitching like 2014 and do the Astros extend him? I think he regresses a little, but still pitches well enough to be a number three starter. He is not an overpowering pitcher, but knows how to keep the balls in the field of play at Minute Maid Park. Like McHugh, Keuchel will serve as the veteran presence in the rotation.

Cubs – C.J. Edwards

Before the Dexter Fowler trade, I wrote of a possible trade offer to the Cubs. I originally wanted to trade for Luis Valbuena, but I talked myself out of that trade, and targeted Edwards. He can top out at 97 mph, but has a great natural cut to his pitches. With that natural cut, he might tend to be wild at times, but should develop more command as he gains experience.

Number Four Starting Pitcher

Astros –  Vincent Velasquez

The second of the most heralded Astros starting pitching prospects. Velasquez should be entering his second year in the majors, after his debut in 2016. If he can stay healthy, he has top of the rotation stuff, throwing 90-95 mph and a great change-up.

Cubs – Kyle Hendricks

2014 was a breakout year for Hendricks, going 7-2/ 2.46 ERA/ 1.09 WHIP/ 47 SO. Hendricks is not the typical flame thrower, he pitches between 85-92 mph. He has drawn comparisons to Greg Maddux, with his baseball IQ. Should be an innings eater, looking for positive contact versus trying to blow past hitters.

Number Five Starting Pitcher

Astros – Josh Hader or 2015 #2 pick

Josh Hader has one advantage over fellow Astros pitching prospects, he is left-handed pitcher, so him and veteran Keuchel will be able to change the looks for the opposing hitters. He has featured high strikeout ability in the minors, but has issues of wildness.

Cubs – Pierce Johnson

A right-handed pitcher who is now in AA for the Cubs. He was drafted in the first round of 2012 draft, #43 overall pick. He suffered from injury in 2014, but in 2013 he looked like the advanced college prospects the cubs thought they were getting.

In Summary

The Cubs and Astros have a very similar situation right now. When they are ready to contend, they will have to rely on several young players. Both pitching staffs will have young pitchers, but with high upside. The next three years should be fun to watch both teams as they develop into contenders.