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Astros' System Studs and Duds: April

We're a month into the season, so I thought I'd start some discussion about which players have been the most pleasant surprises and which players have been the biggest disappointments.



Houston (MLB)

Studs: Jose Altuve, Jed Lowrie, JD Martinez, Travis Buck, Brett Myers, Wandy Rodriguez, Rhiner Cruz, Wilton Lopez, David Carpenter

Duds: Jason Castro, Bud Norris, Kyle Weiland, Fernando Abad

Overall, Houston's offense has been better than expected. Other than the catching position, the 'stros have gotten good production across the board. Altuve, Lowrie, and Martinez may be cornerstone players for the next contending team, and Buck looks like an excellent Luhnow signing.
Cruz was pitching extremely well before his ankle injury. The 7-8-9 combo of Carpenter, Lopez, and Myers has done well, but Lyon and F Rod have been responsible for a few meltdowns. The 3 HR's Abad has given up have been painful. The rotation has pretty average, with Wandy pitching like an ace and the others middling. Norris has had a couple of starts go really well in the 1st 5 innings before getting beat up. Weiland was a disappointment after his stellar spring. Happ and Harrell have been perfectly average, which is fine on a team in this state.
OKC (AAA)

Studs: Fernando Martinez, JB Shuck, Xavier Cedeno, Dallas Keuchel, Paul Clemens, Mickey Storey, Adalberto Flores, Jordan Lyles

Duds: Brett Wallace, Aneury Rodriguez, Juan Abreu

OKC has been far better than expected, due in large part to the starting pitchers. Lyles, Clemens, and Keuchel all look ready to help in the big leagues. Fernando Martinez is on pace for 30 HRs; this may be his breakout season. After a bad start, JB Shuck has really heated up and is hitting .343. Many of the AAAA older guys have hit well, but that is what you expect from a 28+ year old in the minor leagues. Xavier Cedeno might have a case as the lefty in Houston, and Sergio Perez along with Flores and Storey are putting themselves on the map with good starts. Brett Wallace has been a massive disappointment thus far, hitting only .234 with 2 HRs. Jimmy Paredes has recovered from a poor start and while he hasn't had a great April, he isn't doing poorly either.
Corpus Christi (AA)

Studs: Jon Singleton, Austin Wates, Kody Hinze, Brandon Barnes, Kevin Chapman, Jason Stoffel, Arcenio Leon, Jarred Cosart, Jose Cisnero

Duds: TJ Steele, Jon Villar, JC Thompson, Josh Zeid, Brett Oberholtzer, Henry Villar

The Hooks have sat around .500 all month, as for every player who is excelling, there is a player performing poorly. Singleton and Barnes have been nothing short of dominant. Barnes is old for the league but still young enough and has the athleticism to have a glimmer of hope that he is just a late bloomer. Singleton is showing why he is a Top 50 prospect in all of baseball. Hinze is on pace for 30 HR. Despite missing 2 starts due to injury, Jarred Cosart had a very good April, K'ing 13 in 13.1IP. Cisnero had a great April as well and is definitely a sleeper. Possibly the biggest disappointment in the system is Jon Villar, a former Top 100 prospect in his repeat AA season. His 535 OPS is dreadful. Houston has a lot riding on his success, so hopefully he'll rebound.

Lancaster (Hi-A)

Studs: Erik Castro, Telvin Nash, Jon Meyer, George Springer, Ruben Alaniz, Bobby Doran, Kirk Clark, Alex Sogard

Duds: Rafael Valenzuela, Adam Bailey, Jorge De Leon

Nash is on pace for 50+ HRs in Lancaster but will need to drastically decrease his strikeout rate before he starts getting serious hype. Meyer has been a steady performer and is probably Houston's best 3B prospect. Springer has come on strong recently, hitting .372 in his last 10 games. Jio Mier hasn't done quite as well but has also turned it on lately. Doran and Alaniz have been very pleasant surprises in Lancaster's rotation. De Leon has gotten knocked around really badly, which is no surprise given his skillset and the environment in the Cal League.

Lexington (A)

Studs: Zach Johnson, Matt Duffy, Mike Foltynewicz, Nick Tropeano, Dayan Diaz, Jason Chowning, Evan Grills

Duds: Mike Kvasnicka, Kyle Hallock, Tanner Bushue

While it looks like Folty and Tropeano have taken a step forward in their development, Bushue and Hallock have taken steps back. Bushue has completely fallen apart and it appears both players may be ticketed for a demotion. The Diaz-Chowning combo at the back of the bullpen has been impressive. Duffy and Johnson, 2 older players for that league, have had decent starts. Given the lack of real 3B prospects in the system, it would be nice for Duffy to break out. DeLino DeShields hasn't done poorly, but he also hasn't progressed as hoped, hitting .253 with 1 HR but 16 SB.

Which players have been your biggest disappointments or pleasant surprises?
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