I was going to have two separate entries for these guys, but I'd rather knock them out at the same time since my feelings about them are similar. I think that both of them will spend quite a bit of time in AAA next season, and that is not really a bad thing because we are not counting on either one putting the Astros over the top and into the playoffs in 2012. Also both players are young enough that a demotion doesn't mean the Astros have lost faith in them, and they could both benefit from having time to polish their games and maybe get a little better at the finer points of baseball which is easier to do in the minors...allegedly...I haven't done it, but one must assume that AAA exists for a reason. It's not like it's the universe or something.
I almost didn't bother to talk about Altuve because he's been pretty well covered here. But Jose Altuve probably has the better chance of staying in the majors next season. His ability to get his bat on anything may be good enough to keep him in the Majors. Of course, as CRPerry13, pointed out a while ago his ability to make contact with everything may encourage him to swing at everything. Not all contact is good contact. I hope that Altuve has learned or can learn some humility in the majors and work counts a little more. Not only does he have to respect pitchers more, but he also needs to respect the fielders more in the majors. Contact that may result in a hit in the minors may not result in a hit in the majors since fielders are better. I don't expect him ever to be as patient as Berkman, but I hope he can get his walk rate close to his minor league walk rate. I even hold out some foolish (pro-Astro-biased-homer) hope that he may even do a little better than his minor league walk rate. I know almost all hitters see their walk rate go down in the majors, but I imagine it must have been hard for Altuve to learn plate disipline when he was getting two hits night. I hope a little failure leads him to become a better player. I have no idea what to expect from him. I can see him hitting an empty .300; I can see him taking a step forward and hitting .310/.360/.430; and I can see him floundering and getting sent down.
I do like Jimmy Paredes, but as everyone here already realizes, his .383 BABIP will com down as Chris Johnson illustrated for us this season, and Paredes's already low OBA will take a big hit. Like Altuve, Paredes would do better if he swung at fewer balls. I was surprised to see that he swung at about the same percent of pitches out of the strike zone as Altuve. When I first saw him play he took several pitches until he got one to hit; that first impression led me to credit him with a better eye than Altuve, but it doesn't seem that way. I really doubt that he will produce much next season, which is why I love having Downs around. But in the long term I have a hope that Paredes will become an above average defensive third baseman who can hit .280/.330/.420 with some speed. Third basemen seem to be hard to find these days, so I really hope Paredes can continue to improve until he can be an ML regular. I hope his premature call-up will serve as a learning experience and not stunt his growth.