Astros Countdown: Top Five Untouchable Prospects
By Colin Gay
There is a lot of good, young talent in the Astros system.
With the trade deadline rapidly approaching, one of the main reasons why the Houston Astros are in the middle of it is because of their deep minor league system. However, some players are integral to the future success of this team. Here are the five players that they Astros should avoid dealing before July 31st.
With two catchers on the major league team over the age of 30, the Astros may be looking for someone behind the plate sooner than later. That is where Garrett Stubbs would come in.
Drafted in the eighth round of the 2015 MLB Draft out of USC, the 24-year-old has been manning the catcher’s role at Double-A Corpus Christi for parts of the last two seasons. In 97 games in 2016 and 2017 with the Hooks, the Astros’ No. 11 overall prospect according to MLB.com has a .268 batting average with a .753 OPS.
Ever since he was in college, Stubbs was not your prototypical catcher behind the plate. With only a 5’10”, 175-pound frame, he is more of a contact first type of bat. In four years at USC, Stubbs had only two career home runs.
Those numbers increased when he entered the Astros organization, putting together a career high .517 slugging percentage in his 31 game-stint with the Hooks in 2016. Stubbs does have some gap power. In the last two seasons, a total of 152 games, he has hit 34 doubles for both Corpus Christi and Single-A Lancaster.
What the Astros like about Stubbs is his patience at the plate. This season, he has a walk percentage of 10.5 percent while striking out only 12.7 percent of the time.
His size may be a factor on the defensive side. So far, Stubbs has caught a career high 479.2 innings this season. He has a very good .994 fielding percentage, but struggle to throw runners out, allowing 20 stolen bases on 31 attempts so far in 2017.
With both Evan Gattis and Brian McCann under contract, Stubbs has some time to improve in the minor leagues. However, expect Stubbs to be on the Astros radar in the next couple of years.