Astros Prospects: The George Springer Effect


The top Astros prospects who are big-league ready, might face the same issues that George Springer did when he made his major league debut. To summarize this whole post up, Mark Appel will not break camp with the Astros this year, and neither will Carlos Correa in 2016. The explanation is easy, it’s all about the money.

Under the current system, if a player makes their debut on Opening Day, they will hit the free agent market a year earlier than if the team waited. However, should that player be promoted eleven days after the season starts, the player will be under team control for one year longer. Does this sound familiar Astros fans?

The Springer Effect

Astros fans, close your eyes. Imagine being at Astros opening day in 2014, think about who the outfielders were that day versus the Yankees. The obvious answer is Dexter Fowler, but who were the other two? Starting against the Yankees that night were Robbie Grossman and Alex Presley. Open your eyes, I’m not sure how you read that with your eyes closed, but remember the anger you felt with George Springer not on the team.

“Jeff Luhnow has no idea what he is doing, don’t you want to win by putting your best players on the team?” These were all thoughts Astros fans were thinking at that game. The previous year in the minors, Springer hit .303/37 HR/108 RBI/45 SB. Any logical person could understand why Astros fans were upset, but Jeff Luhnow knew what he was doing. After the Astros failed to get Springer to extend his contract, Luhnow found a way to extend their control over him for an extra year.

By waiting two weeks until promoting George Springer, they gained an extra year of his services. As a math teacher, one year is greater than two weeks, so I apologize for anything bad I said about Jeff Luhnow then. They gave Jon Singleton a little more time in the minors, but by accepting the contract extension, Singleton found his way on the Astros roster sooner than expected.

The Effect of the Springer Effect

Feb 26, 2015; Kissimmee, FL, USA; Houston Astros pitcher Mark Appel poses for a picture during photo day at Osceola County Stadium Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Astros top prospects, like the Cubs mega-prospect Kris Bryant, will have to deal with this reality in MLB baseball now. Like Springer, Bryant has proved that he does not need any more time in the minors. Will he start opening day with the Cubs? Bringing it back to the local sports team, will Mark Appel get the call on opening day for the Astros? For the Cubs, with the moves that they have made, they seem to be ready to compete. However, the Astros may have made moves to upgrade the team, they might rather have the extra year versus the two weeks.

What also could occur, is the Astros wait 2-3 months before calling up Mark Appel, which would delay his arbitration clock. Let’s use the Kris Bryant situation to figure out what might happen with the Astros prospects. The following quote is from Patrick Mooney, on Kris Bryant and the Cubs.

As Patrick Mooney of Comcast SportsNet Chicago notes though, “the Cubs could actually wait until late May or even June before promoting Bryant in an effort to also delay his arbitration. The significance of waiting that long would revolve around Bryant’s Super Two status. If Bryant ranks among the top 22 percent of eligible players in service time between his second and third seasons, he would become a Super Two player, meaning he’s eligible for arbitration one year earlier, but would still have the three arbitration years that are guaranteed.”

When Do the Astros Top Prosepects Make Their Debut?

Below are my predictions for when Mark Appel and Carlos Correa will make their major league debut.

  • Mark Appel: May 2015, with a couple of question marks at the back-end of the rotation, the Astros might need Appel to join the Astros. He has proven he’s ready, but Jeff Luhnow holds the keys to the Appel-o-matic-2015.
  • Carlos Correa: June 2016: The Astros will definitely want to slow Correa’s arbitration clock down, because he could be the Astros best player for years to come.

When do you think Appel should make his debut? When should Correa make his debut? Don’t waste your keystrokes and say opening day 2015, because it will be a miracle for that to happen.

Next: Mark Appel Impresses Early

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