Despite some trades, the Houston Astros rank high on top-100 list.
Houston Astros farm system has been hurt by some recent trades, most notably the Ken Giles trade. They have also graduated several top prospects from the list including Carlos Correa, Lance McCullers, and Preston Tucker. However, with the hard work of Jeff Luhnow, Mark Elias, and the rest of the staff/scouts, the Astros system is still well represented in the MLB Pipeline’s top-100 prospect list for 2016. These players were announced last night on MLB Network, 5% of the list were players who could eventually be part of the Astros 25-man roster.
The bad news is that the Astros did not have a top-20 prospect, but four of the five prospects are homegrown, the other was acquired via trade. This was the opposite of the top five Astros starting pitchers list I wrote earlier where four of the five were acquired by trade. You can read the full list here, Astros Prospects: Looking at the top five starters in the system. One of the Astros that made the top 100 prospect list was a pitcher, which is a change from last year where there were a few more pitchers.
With that being said, let’s take a look at the five Astros, who did make the list. Two of the top five players are tied to the Jarred Cosart trade to the Marlins.
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#75: Daz Cameron
Cameron was taken late in the first round with a competitive balance draft pick received in the Cosart trade in 2014. Drafted in 2015, Cameron was ranked somewhere in the top six players, but dropped with concerns of signability. Because the Astros had three picks in the first round, they had the largest bonus pool allotment, I wrote about this here: Houston Astros have options at No. 5 slot in MLB draft. I know the 37th pick is not really a first round pick but is still good steal to get him. Cameron is the son of former MLB outfielder, Mike Cameron.
Cameron is projected to be a gold glove centerfielder some day, but his other tools should further develop. While his speed is one of his top assets, he should develop some power as he gets stronger. MLB pipeline has his ETA as 2019 when he does make his debut, look for him to be the centerfielder for a while.
#74: Kyle Tucker
Tucker is the younger brother of Preston Tucker but appears to be more ‘toolsy’ than his older brother. Preston may have the power, but Kyle has the more all around game. There have been some player comparisons to Ted Williams so that he could be the real deal for the Astros down the road. Look for Cameron and Tucker to play together throughout their rise to the big leagues, and they could be a dynamic part of the Astros outfield picture for a while. Tucker was drafted with the fifth overall pick in the 2015 draft and he a Cameron received a similar signing bonus.
Tucker could be traded at some point before his debut with the Astros, who thought the Astros would trade Brett Phillips (Ranked 32nd on the list? The Astros have several players poised to make an impact with the Astros, in Cameron, Tucker, Derek Fisher, and Tony Kemp.
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#41: Francis Martes
Martes might be the next Astros ace, but he will probably not make his debut this year with the Astros. Martes was one of the players the Astros received in the now legendary Jarred Cosart trade with the Marlins. This is one of the players that Luhnow has stolen from a team while they are still in Class-A leagues from other teams. Martes went through three levels last year before finishing with the Hooks in three games. Martes should start the season in Corpus Christi, which is a good thing with the Astros, ask Lance McCullers and Vincent Velasquez how that turned out for them last year.
One of the reasons that the Astros only signed Doug Fister to a one-year deal is that either Joseph Musgrove or Martes could be ready at the time. He could be the future ace for the Astros because he throws in the upper 90’s, can’t wait to watch him play. While this could be my belief only, but this Astros have not had much success with the prospects that they have traded for, maybe Martes will buck this trend.
#40: A.J. Reed
Reed represents the only player on this list who realistically has a chance to make the opening day roster, even though he is not likely to do that. The Astros see Reed as a special player, who could be the cleanup hitter for years to come, which is something that this current lineup lacks. MLB Pipeline named the former pitcher/slugger from Kentucky as the top MLB prospect at first base for the 2016 season. When he does make his debut with the Astros, he will offer the power from the left side that Jon Singleton is/was supposed to offer.
Reed will report to his first training this year looking to fight Singleton, Tyler White, and Matt Duffy from first base. We talked to Reed about the Talking Stros link below is our attempt at interviewing Reed last week, but the connection was bad.
#22: Alex Bregman
Bregman was the second overall pick in the 2015 draft for the Houston Astros out of LSU. While he has the skills and athletism to play shortstop when he arrives at the big leagues due to the presence of Carlos Correa. A position change might be in the cards for Bregman, but he will play shortstop for at least the next few seasons. He appears to be getting fast-tracked, because he has already played for High-A Lancaster in his first professional league.
Listen to Bregman talk on Talking Stros this January talking Astros baseball. His call was interrupted as he was driving through Texas heading home to New Mexico. Bregman has been compared to Dustin Pedroia, so good things are in store for the young shortstop. All though an open position would be needed, MLB Pipeline has him debuting in 2017 with the Astros.
While the Astros don’t have the top prospects in baseball, in the top-20’s, they still offer a depth to their farm systems that other teams are envious of. Which player do you think will make their debut first and who will have the largest impact?