Astros: Which is the most stacked minor-league team?
The Houston Astros were among the top of the league in future talent in the early 2010s, but with a great era of dominance and winning, draft picks began to fall. Trades didn’t help either, but in the end, teams are looking to win now.
First-round draft picks were lost as a punishment due to the sign stealing scandal, and even in the wake of two failed draft picks of the 2010s in Brady Aiken and Mark Appel, the organization still made due and excelled. While in the backend of what seems like a dynasty in Houston, their current farm system ranks 29th by MLB.com.
With that in mind, the Astros’ best minor league team in is the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks, as evaluated by MLB.com. In retrospect, this looks like a good grasp at when the talent will be ready, as the Astros will still have a chance to be contenders in 2022, as well.
This is based on my opinion alone, but with there being an abundance of talented arms sticking around, they will have money to address the need of a new shortstop, possibly an outfielder and bullpen help.
What makes the Hooks the most stacked Astros’ affiliate?
The first key point that the article addresses is the signing of Pedro Leon for $4 million (the largest bonus in the 2020-21 international class). While being signed as a outfielder in January, the right-hander has started more games at shortstop with the Hooks.
Leon is currently slashing .218/.347/.396, which is an immense jump from his early season struggles. His numbers still look below the league average, but while being away from the game for over a year, the Cuban prospect is expected to be MLB-ready soon.
They also point to top pitching prospect Hunter Brown, but like Leon, is struggling to adapt to Double-A talent. The right-hander has posted a 7.36 ERA through 14.2 innings in five games this season. Brown made a big jump from Low-A in 2019 to Double-A in 2021, so there is room to let these two improve.
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Then comes the catching position, as the future behind the dish could be solved with “sleeper catchers” Scott Manea and C.J. Stubbs, once Korey Lee is ready. Manea is hitting .243/.312/.443 with his second highest minor-league OPS of his career. Stubbs, younger brother of Garrett, is slashing .185/.298/.210. The 24-year-old is playing in his first Double-A season, and while showing more pop than his brother, it could be case of Preston and Kyle Tucker in the Astros’ system.
These players don’t have the best numbers at the dish this season, but while 33 games in (16-17), there is hope for a young core with a high ceiling. In my personal opinion, I was thinking the Triple-A Sugar Land Skeeters would take home the award, but with a load of former major leaguers among players about to reach the show, they don’t stand at the top.