Who are the Astros' top assets for the coming years? Which players offer the most potential value above replacement? To answer the question, we have to balance future potential with current value. Positional value, age, and health are also important considerations. I'll give my top twelve and then let you vote.
1. Jose Altuve - He is young, plays at a significant defensive position, and has already established himself some at the major league level.
2. Jonathan Singleton - He projects to be a strong middle of the order hitter, with potential for high batting average, OBP, and slugging.
3. George Springer - He has the skills to be an impact player at a cornerstone defensive position. His strikeout rate may limit his offensive ceiling, but other features of his game appear to be strong.
4. Jed Lowrie - As a shortstop who can hit, he offers a lot of value to a rebuilding team. He is in his prime window in terms of age (28 years old). If he can stay healthy, he will be a good piece to build around for the next 4 or 5 years.
5. Jordan Lyles - For such a young pitcher, Lyles has made great progress through the minors and has shown some glimpses of success at the major league level. His stuff will not translate to domination, but he could be a solid middle of the rotation guy for many years.
6. Bud Norris - You could easily move him ahead of Lyles, since his value is already more established.
7. Jarred Cosart - If all goes well, he could be a frontline starter for the Astros in future seasons.
8. Mike Foltynewicz - The potential has always been there. Now, the results are beginning to follow.
9. Paul Clemens - Starting pitching is a valuable commodity, and Clemens has potential to provide average to above average value there.
10. Jason Castro - Has the potential to develop into a solid defensive and offensive catcher, though the upside seems limited.
11. J. D. Martinez - Brings a consistent track record for hitting success from the minors. He is not higher on the list because his skills are not that exceptional at the corner outfield position.
12. Fernando Martinez - His young age and potential to be a plus hitter is balanced out by injury concerns.