Astros fans are waiting for the spring training games to start so the 2015 roster can begin to take shape. Mark Appel and Carlos Correa could make their debuts with Houston this year. With that possibility in mind, they would lose their eligibility to be one of the top Astros prospects. Who would replace the current number one and two prospects in the Astros system?
Let’s Start off by looking at top prospect lists without Correa and Appel.
I added MLB Pipeline even though they have not updated their individual team list at the time of the writing this post. I will use first place as worth 5 points, second place as 4 points, third place as 3 and so on.
Velasquez: 15 pts
Feliz: 13 pts
Phillips: 9 pts
Let’s save the victory celebration for Velasquez, since he probably will have made the major leagues by then. However, injuries could continue to slow his progress towards his major league dream. Who would be the number one then? Some people feel like @SteveinLC, “I don’t think there is a clear number one after Appel and Correa graduate. The 2015 draft is crucial for Luhnow.”
Below are my candidates for the top two prospects after Correa and Appel get called up to the show.
So far this spring, the two names Astros staff keep talking about are Appel and Feliz, and how they keep on poppin’ mits like Macklemore is poppin’ tags. Feliz shows a high strikeout ability, and could succeed as either a reliever or a starter.
From Minor League Ball;
"RHP, Grade B+/Borderline B: Age 21, posted 4.03 ERA with 111/37 K/BB in 103 innings in Low-A. Aggressive grade but this is an arm I believe in, Midwest League observers very positive about current stuff (up to 96, plus breaking ball) and projection for more. High upside stands out. Like I said, I know this is aggressive and Lancaster will challenge his command."
This spring Velasquez is hampered by an injury he sustained during the Arizona Fall League, but when healthy, he has top of the rotation stuff. I hesitantly put him on this list, because I feel that Velasquez will be in the big leagues soon.
From Minor League Ball;
"RHP, Grade B/Borderline B+: Age 22, posted 3.74 ERA with 72/23 K/BB in 55 innings in High-A. Plus fastball, plus change-up, breaking stuff has potential, excellent dominance ratios. Main issue here is health, long track record of injury. I could go B+ if he was more durable. Another high upside arm."
Last year was the year of the Maverick! Brett Phillips feels like a Maverick some times, and mentioned in an interview that I did with him that he would like to go by that name from now on. I don’t care what he wants to go by if he continues to play ball like he did last year. He is a five tool player who the media will love to interview. If he can hit in Corpus Christi like he did in hitter-friendly Lancaster in 2015, I can see him moving up the list.
From Minor League Ball;
"Age 20, broad base of tools and skills, hit .310/.375/.529 with 17 homers, 14 triples, 23 steals, 50 walks, 96 strikeouts in 493 at-bats between Low-A and High-A. Fine overall athlete who does a lot of things well, future power development is uncertain but he’s not punchless. Some think he might get stuck as a tweener without more power but overall he has more strengths than weaknesses."
Other Notable Mentions:
Not a Current Member of the Astros Organization
The Astros are two players light in the minor leagues. By not signing Brady Aiken, the Astros also could not sign Jacob Nix. The good thing about missing out on signing the number one pick, is that you get the number two pick the next year. The Astros have the second and fifth overall picks in the 2015 draft.
Assuming the Astros do their due diligence, the number two pick should be ranked up behind Correa and Appel during the 2015 season. Over the next 8 weeks, I will pick one potential draft target and write about that player. Next Wednesday I will write about Brendan Rodgers, and why the Astros should draft him. I’m going to skip Brady Aiken for the obvious reasons.
My selections for top two prospects after Correa and Appel graduate.
1) Number two pick, either Brendan Rodgers or Michael Matuella
2) Brett Phillips
What others think
McCullers is my guess or #2 and #5 will be our new 1 and 2 prospects after Correa and Appel join the team.
I don’t think Correa will lose his prospect eligibility this season. I think Feliz and Velasquez have a chance to move up. Most likely #2 and #5 picks will be up there too. Phillips could really move up too.
My four will be Teoscar Hernandez, A.J. Reed, Derek Fisher and Josh Hader. I think they all have big seasons this year. It could be Phillips. Who knows?
Velasquez can’t stay healthy and Feliz hasn’t proven it yet. Brett Phillips could sneak up there if he hits at CC. I don’t think there is a clear number one after Appel and Correa graduate. The 2015 draft is crucial for Luhnow.
Whoever gets drafted #2…Anyone in house isn’t moving up.
Once the draft occurs, I will redo this post to come up with a more detailed post and a final conclusion to who will take the #1 spot when Appel and Correa reach the majors.
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