Thanks to Astros fan Royce Hill (@bigpoppatx) for the question that inspired this post, who will be the next Astros prospect moved for MLB ready pieces? This offseason the Astros have already traded top Astros prospect Nick Tropeano, Andrew Thurman, Michael Foltynewicz, and Rio Ruiz. The Astros have had a great representation in the top 100 prospect rankings the past two years. However, as Andrew Sanders wrote, the Astros only had two prospects in the top 100 prospects according to Baseball America.
Jeff Luhnow has made it no secret that he is not afraid to lose an Astros prospect or two if it helps the major league team now. He understands that every prospect is not a guarantee to click in the majors. This is a drastic change from recent years, where Luhnow has been collecting prospects like Scrooge McDuck hoarded coins in his money bin.
The Astros are gearing for a more win now mentality, versus the “Lose”now policy the Astros followed during their rebuilding stage. While I can’t see any more trades happening before the season, unless another team has a major injury to their catcher or power bat. In that case I could see either Jason Castro or Chris Carter on the move, depending on how strong a spring Max Stassi has.
Luhnow has also made it clear that if the Astros need a player around the trade deadline, he would not be afraid to deal some more prospects to improve the chances of winning this year. Which prospect would be moved, it depends on the player they get back in return? Obviously a Cole Hamels trade would require more in return than a Cliff Lee trade, for example.
Most likely to be moved at Trade Deadline
Even though Santana did not look good in his debut in 2014, there are still many experts who are very high on Santana. He has the potential to be a .270/ 20+ HR/ 80+ RBI/ 10+SB type of player. The main reasons I say he might be available is due to the depth of the Astros minor leagues in outfielders and the fact that Santana might be the best ranked prospect not named Carlos Correa or Mark Appel.
Even though he has the potential to be a top of the rotation guy, injuries have slowed his career down. The Astros already tried to deal Velasquez to the Braves instead of Foltynewicz, but the Braves balked. Velasquez did pitch well in the Arizona fall league, but suffered a minor injury that is keeping him out of action to start off spring training. I am working on getting an interview with him.
I would not endorse this trade, but if he is included in a trade, a potential trade partner might be intrigued by his arm. Feliz made news earlier in the offseason, when the Astros did not originally protect him in the Rule V draft. Twitter went crazy, saying that this is the best prospect ever available in the MLB Rule V draft. Comparisons were made by me and others, to Johan Santana when the Astros lost him.
Those are the most likely to be traded, and if Max Stassi is included, I could almost see that package landing Cole Hamels. Without having to give up Mark Appel or Carlos Correa, the Phillies might bite at that package. I doubt that any more Astros prospect blood is spilled at this moment, but if the Astros see themselves as contenders around the trade deadline…
More from Climbing Tal's Hill
- Just how much better is the Houston Astros playoff rotation than the rest?
- Houston Astros: A Lineup Change to Spark Offense
- Astros prospect Hunter Brown throws 6 shutout innings in debut
- Always faithful Astros World Series champion Josh Reddick defends the title
- Michael Conforto declines Astros’ 2-year, $30 million offer