The goal in this post is to reconcile two incompatible goals for the Astros:
1) don't send a good pitching prospect to Lancaster
2) Try to win at all levels to create a culture of winning.
We all looked at Lancaster at the beginning of the season and saw they had a loaded line-up and a terrible pitching staff. Although the staff has given some solid, even magnificent starts (I'm talking about you Bobby Doran), they will probably be a losing team this year with the current staff.
The reason for 1) is that the Astros don't want promising pitchers getting their confidence shot, and potentially tinkering with their mechanics, due to the difficulty of pitching there. The exception to this might be mature college pitchers who use more savvy and are more accustomed to incorporating failure.
Looking at organizational depth, we see that Houser, Ordosgoitti and Velasquez, are in extended spring training. Might the Astros bring two of those three to Lexington (it's not outrageous to think so: they brought 1st round pick Folty there for his first full season; why not bring a 2nd round pick there for a half season?), and ship Tropeano and either Dufek or Hallock to LAN? They could replace the least two effective of the current starters and greatly help the team come June.
Benefits: Make LAN much more competitive and put some of our best prospects (Meir, Nash, Springer, Santana) on a team that wins more (Springer might not be there for long, but Nash and Santana will be there for the full season). Also, put Houser, Ordos, and/or Velasquez in highly competitive league (if Vel is 90% of what he was in 2010, when he dominated the Appy, there's no need to send him back there). Also, keeps CC rotation stable (like to see Cosart, Cisnero, Buchanan, and Seaton spend the whole year there).
Drawbacks: potentially messes with a guy like Tropeano, who could be considered a top 10 prospect if he keeps on dominating; puts younger, elite arms like Houser in a position for too much failure.
I like following the minor leagues and thinking about different chain reactions can happen. Once the guys in Lex start hitting (they need Chase Davidson there to help out), I think they can be a .500 team with that staff). Lancaster, despite solid starts by Springer and Meir, and a red hot start by Nash, is sunk at the bottom of the standings. I'd like to see them win some more.