Astros Top Prospects: MLB Pipeline Top 30 (Part 1)
By Eric Huysman
Astros top prospects: 25 -21
Mar 2, 2015; Kissimmee, FL, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcherAsher Wojciechowski
(59) during morning work outs at Osceola County Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
#25 – Adrian Houser – RHP (unranked)
To be honest, this is the first I have heard of Houser. He was drafted in the second round of the 2011 draft by the Astros out of high school. The Astros are taking their time with this player, as he played with the Low-A ball River Bandits in 2014. His best two pitches are his fastball (mid 90’s) and curve ball, and he has great downward action in his pitching that leads to ground balls. As most prospect pitchers, he must improve his control of his pitches.
2014 Stats: 5 wins/ 6 losses/ 4.14 ERA/ 93 strikeouts in 108.2 innings.
MLB Pipeline ETA: 2017
Ceiling: Kyle Kendricks
Floor: Lucas Harrell
Position blocker: Mark Appel and Josh Hader
#24 James Hoyt – RHP (unranked)
Hoyt was the throw in at the last-minute by Jeff Luhnow in the Evan Gattis deal. While Hoyt was not highly ranked, Luhnow saw something special in Hoyt, which justified giving up the top prospects they did for Gattis and Hoyt. While I don’t think Hoyt will make the opening day roster, he will be available when needed, already having AAA experience. He is a tall guy at 6.5 feet, who throws hard and has two different types of sliders. If you’re looking for the next closer for the Astros after Luke Gregerson, this may be the guy.
Who is James Hoyt by Jason Burke.
2014 Stats: 3 wins/ 3 losses/ 3.17 ERA/ 77 strikeouts in 52.2 innings.
MLB Pipeline ETA: NA (I think 2015)
Ceiling: Brad Lidge
Floor: Dan Wheeler
Position blocker: Josh Fields or Will Harris
#23 Asher Wojciechowski – RHP (Stock decreased #20 in 2014)
Wojo’s ranking actually decreased in 2015 from 2014, but don’t tell the Astros that with the way he is pitching this spring. Wojo, like Brady Rodgers, does not have overpowering stuff. What he does have is the ability to throw strikes and pitch for contact. This spring, Wojo has pitched well with a zero ERA through nine innings, in three games while striking out seven batters. He may not be on this list for long, but should be able to hold down a rotation spot till one of the big boys are ready. Injuries have held Wojo back, but it looks like those days are behind him this spring.
Wojo is showing his mojo by Eric Huysman
2014 Stats: 4 wins/ 4 losses/ 4.74 ERA/ 59 strikeouts in 76 innings.
MLB Pipeline ETA: 2015
Ceiling: Henderson Alvarez
Floor: Jeff Locke
Position blocker: Dan Straily
#22 Daniel Mengden – RHP (unranked)
My Aggie friends will love this guy because he was drafted in the fourth round of the 2014 draft out of Texas A&M. He has a delivery that is similar to Tim Lincecum, which could be deceptive to the hitters. He has a handle on four different pitches such as fastball, slider, curveball, and changeup; but none of them are real standout pitches. Scouts say that he might eventually be a bullpen pitcher, especially with how stocked the Astros system is with starting pitchers. But as he develops, he could stay a starter throughout the career. With him just being drafted last season, we don’t have a lot to project of him right now.
He has only pitched 17 innings in professional baseball, but he has been impressive so far.
2014 Stats: 0 wins/ 0 losses/ 3.07 ERA/ 17 strikeouts in 11 innings.
MLB Pipeline ETA: 2017
Ceiling: Tim Lincecum
Floor: Dice K
Position blocker: Michael Feliz or Josh Hader
#21 Francis Martes – RHP (unranked)
Martes was originally signed in 2012 by the Florida Marlins from the Dominican Republic at an early age. He was included in the Jarred Cosart trade last year. Martes is 19-years old now, and has the ability to throw in the upper 90’s, but he is still really raw as a pitching prospect. Think Michael Feliz three years ago, as he sits there for a little while and then has a breakout season. The most likely role with Astros will be in the bullpen, but he could work his way into the rotation in three years. He did have 23 walks in 44 innings in the Gulf Coast League in 2014.
2014 Stats: 3 wins/ 3 losses/ 4.09 ERA/ 45 strikeouts in 44 innings.
MLB Pipeline ETA: 2018
Ceiling: Jose Valverde
Floor: Paul Clemens
Position blocker: Lance McCullers Jr.
Next: Thoughts on the first 10 Astros top prospects