Astros Prospect Rankings: Carrying the Banner
The Astros farm system overhaul was much discussed and yielded great profits
It began with George Springer. Well, it really began with Jose Altuve, but nobody really knew it at the time. The great Astros rebuild had officially turned the corner. After Springer came Carlos Correa, Lance McCullers, and Alex Bregman. J.D. Davis and Derek Fisher have entered the arena. Kyle Tucker stands on the precipice of greatness.
But something has to give, right? The Astros cannot possibly continue this streak of acquiring and developing top-notch young talent. Or can they?
When a Major League team is struggling, they look to see what prospects they can acquire to provide hope. See Houston Astros teams of a few years past for how that can work out.
When a team is on the cusp of making a run, they send prospects away for that one extra piece. Justin Verlander, anyone?
And when a team has reached the top, they can look down and see who will carry the torch.
Ranking prospects is a hard thing.
But who really is the next man up for a team like the Astros? Aside from Tucker and Forrest Whitley, the top two names to come up are J.B. Bukauskas and Yordan Alvarez. After those four, a survey of prospect ranking sites does not prove useful for much information.
Baseball-America is considered a top-level scouting and ranking site. But with the advent of podcasting and ridiculous amounts of data available, more and more reputable sites are making a name for themselves.
And they all see the Astros farm system differently.
Some see the cream of the crop down in Rookie ball (or below). Others see it in Corpus Christie with the Hooks. Not many names that have spent time with Fresno pop up in the Top 10 or 20 prospects for the Astros.
Three prospects to keep an eye on
Corbin Martin shows up around #10 or #11 in most rankings. Drafted out of Texas A&M and from the Cypress area, Martin possesses a combination of skills that could see him as a starter or bullpen arm. His stat line from his first season: 0-1, 2.20 ERA, 32.2 IP, 20 H, 9 BB, 43 K, 11.8 K/9, shows the makings of someone willing to go out and give solid innings. In general, he throws a solid fastball, a plus-curveball and is hopefully developing a changeup. That seems to be the key to his future (like so many pitching prospects): a third pitch.
Cionel Perez typically gets ranked as the #6-#8 prospect for the Astros, but sometimes does not appear at all. An international signee, Perez worked his way through three levels of the system in 2017. Overall, his stats show a lot of potential: 6-4, 4.13 ERA, 93.2 IP, 94 H, 43 ER, 27 BB, 83 K, 8.0 K/9, though the fear is his ability to stay on the field.
Behind the big four, Baseball America has Freudis Nova ranked as #5, and he shows up in the #5-#7 range a few times. It’s hard to know what to expect from Nova. After working through a PED suspension, Nova spent last year in the Dominican League. According to Baseball America, “he has a chance to be an above-average hitter with average power.” But that is a long way from now.
Next: A mock MLB power rankings and where do the Astros stand?
While it will be very fun to keep an eye on the current Major League roster this year, it will be very interesting to see how the farm system guys develop.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference, MLB Pipeline, and Baseball America***