Greeneville Astros Year in Review

As I did for the GCL and DSL teams, here's a post to discuss the Rookie Level Greeneville Astros farm team.

The G-stros ended their season yesterday, finishing at 25-43. They had two horrible losing streaks, one to start the year and one to end the year, so for the bulk of the season they were a .500 team. Also, unlike the GCL and DSL teams, they didn't finish in last place, winning more games than both Burlington (Royals) and Bristol (White Sox).

Once you get to Rookie ball, the players get more interesting. There are more highly thought of prospects, and with the depth that Houston has managed to gather over the last two years, virtually every position features a prospect with interesting upside. Here's a breakdown of the roster:

Catcher Ernesto Genoves, 20, had a breakout year offensively, hitting .280 and finishing with an OPS of 839. He'll be interesting to watch next season, whether it's in Lexington or Tri-City. Backup Luis Alvarez also had a decent year (729 OPS) and should advance.

1B Chase Davidson's performance has been much talked about here, so I won't beat that horse. It'll be interesting to see how he performs at a higher level. Another 1B, 22 year old Jesse Wierzbicki, had a solid year, with 5 HR in 45 games, but given his age, it's tough to get too excited just yet.

2B Joshua Magee had somewhat of a breakout year and really opened some eyes. The 19 year old had a couple of absolutely stellar games and should be ready to advance. He appears to have some good speed and moderate plate discipline, but his power may be lacking. Given his age, he definitely is on the right track. 2011 draftee Ruben Sosa is probably a depth prospect, but the 20 year old hit .248 before moving up to Lexington to finish the year.

3B Darwin Rivera garnered attention by putting up big numbers in the DSL, earning a promotion to Rookie ball. He struggled a bit, finishing with a 602 OPS, but at only 19, he's got plenty of time to develop. He'll probably be back in Greeneville next year. His upside may be limited by his size.

SS Alex Todd, another 2011 draftee, struggled mightily with the bat, not a good sign considering he is older than most of the competition at 22. He did end the year with Lancaster, so maybe the FO sees something in him. Backup SS Chan Moon, a former big money int'l signee, again struggled with the wood. It's a good sign that his numbers improved slightly even though he advanced a level, and I don't know much about his defensive profile, but a sub 600 OPS isn't a great sign. He's only 20, so there's still a little time for him to develop his offensive skillset. 19 year old Jean Batista performed very well after a late promotion from the GCL, blasting out a 881 OPS in 12 games, with 2 HR. He may be the highest upside infielder to appear in Greeneville this year and will definitely be one to keep an eye on.

OF Jordan Scott was the team MVP, finishing with a monster .337 BA. If he can develop some power, his stock could go through the roof. He may start in full season ball next year. The highest profile prospect on this year's G-stros team had to be Ariel Ovando. After a fairly hot start, the 17 year old cooled off to end the year hitting .235 with 2 HR. Not spectacular numbers, but when factoring in his age and the lack of consistent playing time (due to injury or otherwise), it's not a bad pro start. He may have to repeat Greeneville, but once he catches on, he could move quickly, and the superstar upside is still there. No other outfielders really stood out as Jose Vargas, Garen Wright, Kellen Kiilsgaard, and Jose Monzon all struggled and appear to be merely depth prospects.

On the mound, the rotation was highlighted by 2nd round draft pick Adrian Houser,18. He did well enough to justify a possible promotion to Lexington or Tri-City next year. Luis Ordosgoitti,18, had great K:BB #'s and may advance. Ricardo Batista, 20, had some hype coming in and K'ed 47 in 53 innings, but struggled with walks. 4th rounder Chris Lee got his career off to an auspicious start, walking 34 in only 48 innings. His K rate was good, with 47 on the year. He may be due to repeat the level next season. Tyson Perez, 21 year old college draftee, had an ERA that didn't reflect his great K:BB ratio of 49:13, and he should be set to move up a level. 20 year old Jamaine Cotton surprised a lot of folks by doing really well in the rotation, earning a promotion to Tri-City, where he has also excelled. He'll be one to keep an eye on. Jose Perdomo regressed quite a bit before being deactivated. After getting moved up from the GCL, 19 year old Francis Ramirez faired really well in his 4 starts, ending with a 2.89 ERA.

Being in the bullpen of a low level team doesn't usually bode well for a prospect's future, but a couple of guys did quite well and are worth mentioning. 22 year olds Jeremiah Meiners and Matison Smith posted solid relief performances and will probably advance a level next year. Zach Dando, a 2011 draftee, post solid #'s (35K, 10BB, 33 IP). Two players who disappointed me were fireballer Rodney Quintero and lefty Mark Jones. Both 21 year olds had some interesting upside coming into the year, but saw their stock drop with less than stellar relief numbers.

The Greeneville roster was filled with guys that deserve watching. Jordan Scott is one of my favorite sleeper prospects in the system. Of course we all wish Ovando had come out and posted a 1200 OPS and moved up to AA, but his development will take time. Most of the other position players will move up a level and get a chance to raise their stock further.

Houser is obviously the jewel on the pitching staff, but the international starting pitchers should all move up as well. It'll be interesting to look back in a few years and see which players ended up fulfilling their potential and reaching the big leagues.
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