With the Astros already assumed guilty of cheating, what will be the results?
By Brian Murray
The latest list of the MLP Pipeline top 100 prospects has been released. Guess how many the Houston Astros have on that list…one. That’s right, the Astros have just one prospect in the top 100. That one player listed is none other than, Forrest Whitley, and I’m still not sure if he’s ready for the big leagues.
The Astros have gone all-in, building this franchise with their top picks of the past to get where they are today. Look at the lineup; George Springer, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, Yuli Gurriel, Yordan Alvarez. Every one of them is either a product of their draft picks or international signings. This team was built from the farm system.
Then look at what it took to get Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and Zack Greinke. The front office sacrificed twelve of their prospects in order to acquire those three pitchers. Yes, it worked out extremely well, for a while anyway. Chances are they’ll have just Verlander and Greinke left out of that trio, as Cole will most likely sign with another team as a free agent.
Eight of those twelve traded away for that top tier pitching are still in the top 100 prospects (for other teams), and three are already with Major League teams. Houston has literally “bet the farm” on what they have now and no one can argue with the results, three straight AL West Division Titles, two AL Championships, and a World Series ring.
But where do they go from here? Their Minor League system is basically depleted and now they may be facing penalties that could take away an unspecified number of future draft picks for possibly several years to come. Plus losing the potential International bonus money that allows them to get players like Altuve and Gurriel.
It may take years for the Astros to build that support system back up. Plus there are quite a few players that will be free agents again next season. Will the front office be able to keep those players or will they bolt to another team? If these penalties are severe enough, as Manfred alludes to, the Astros reign at the top may be a short-lived one and a long road back to the top.