Who do you guys think will surprise this year? Below is who I think the everyday players will be at each full-season level.
C: J. Castro (AAA), Fixler (AA), Sapp (A+), Williams (A). It's rare for a minor leaguer to have a floor, but I think at this point it's safe to say that Castro will be an everyday MLB catcher at worst. At best, he could be an All-Star. Fixler is young and has moved up steadily, but profiles more as a defensive backup. Sapp had unlimited potential, but has been derailed by illness (not even sure if he'll be back). Williams is JAG. Jose Lopez is returning from injury and could make a move (he's already played as high as AAA); others include Santangelo, Comadena, Mojica, and Rene Garcia, but none of them are very highly thought of.
1B: Van Ostrand (AAA), Clemens (AA), Weston (A+), Bray (A). Van Ostrand and Clemens (both will move between 1st and OF) have the highest ceilings, with the former profiling at best as a bench player and Clemens still having some shot at showing a strong enough bat to be an everyday 1B or LF. Weston and Bray do not project well, although each had respectable numbers last year. Phil Disher (injury) could surprise.
2B: Duran (AAA), Simunic (AA), Altuve (A+), Hernandez (A). This position is pretty undecided at this point with Duran facing competition from Maysonet, Vallejo, Navarro, and Meyer, and Simunic possibly ending up in the outfield or in a utility role. Altuve is entering an important year after putting up great numbers last year. Hernandez has the highest ceiling, but is still very young and will be entering his 1st year of full season pro ball. Craig Corrado could surprise in either A+ or AA.
SS: Sutil (AAA), Cabral (AA), Wikoff (A+), Mier (A). Obviously Mier has the highest ceiling, profiling as a possible perennial All-Star. Sutil and Wikoff have bench player/utility ceilings. Cabral is a fill in IMO. Chris Jackson is player who could impress; others near the radar who will probbably be relegated to part time roles are Gabe Suarez, Barry Butera, Jose DeLeon, and Ben Orloff.
3B: Johnson (AAA), Rosario (AA), E. Castro (A+), Meyer (A). Johnson still has a chance to be an everyday starter in Houston, and Meyer was a high draft pick; Castro and Rosario profile as bench players at best. David Flores could surprise after being injured last year.
RF: Ramirez (AAA), Steele (AA), Barnes (A+), Hogue (A). Ramirez has a major league arm and legs, but a AA bat; this is a make or break year for him. Steele is touted by FO guys as a 5 tool player; he needs to stay injury free, but could be a good one. Barnes was a fairly high draft pick who needs to produce in the short term, or could get forgotten. Hogue did well in his first year in short season. Others include Einertson (suspended, probably done), Steve Brown, and Russell Dixon. Einertson has the talent but flamed out.
CF: Bogusevic (AAA), Shuck (AA), Austin (A+), Kemp (A). Probably the strongest position in Houston's farm, depth-wise. Bogie is in a big year, but profiles as a 4th OF. Austin could be another Bourn. I'm higher on Shuck than most, and his time in Corpus this year could go a long way to getting him more pub. Kemp was solid in his 1st pro year. Josh Flores was once highly thought of, but has been oft-injured.
LF: DeLome (AAA), Gaston (AA), Pelligrini (A+), Martinez (A). Both DeLome and Gaston could be everyday MLBers. Pelligrini has shown power but not much else. Martinez is probably my favorite unheralded player. I think he will be an excellent big-leaguer. Monster #s in his 1st season of pro ball. Drew Locke is too old to be considered a prospect, but still has a chance to make the show.
So here is my all-futures team:
and here are my sleepers, by position (guys nobody is talking about who I think will make the bigs):