Our farm system is bright and shiny with additions like Carlos Correa, Lance McCullers Jr., and Rio Ruiz now in it. Of course, it should get even better after the trade deadline. I thought an assessment of the system would be fun to do, so I'll do a quick one of my own.
1) Carlos Correa, SS, Grade A-: Correa's talent is well-known by now. Even though he's quite raw, his tools and mental makeup are fantastic. He could hit for both average and power while providing top notch defense.
2) Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Grade A-: Singleton's power has finally arrived, as he's on pace for 20+ HRs, and is drawing walks at an absurd, Joey Votto-like rate. The defense is nothing special, and his average may never get above the .290s, but he should hit HRs and draw plenty of walks while striking out at a relatively low rate.
3) George Springer, OF, Grade B+: You could certainly make a case for an A-, but I'm not a fan of his K rate, even though he's walking at a high rate as well. The numbers at Lancaster are inflated, so I think it's fair to keep him at a B+ until he does something significant in AA.
4) Jarred Cosart, RHP, Grade B: Cosart has made real progress this year with his command. The strikeouts aren't there, but he's inducing a ton of groundballs, and he seems to be trusting his secondary stuff more than he did last year. He has the stuff of an ace, but I don't see him getting there. Having said that, I don't think being a decent #2 is out of the question.
5) Lance McCullers Jr., RHP, Grade B: Putting McCullers behind Cosart was tough, but I think a B+ grade may have been a bit aggressive. He's got great stuff, as his fastball sits in the mid to upper 90s, and he throws a power curveball that misses many bats. He made strides with his command and mechanics in his senior year, but he still has room to grow. A #1 ceiling doesn't seem too unrealistic, given his stuff.
6) Rio Ruiz, 3B, Grade B/Borderline B-: The Astros finally have a legitimate 3B prospect. Ruiz has a terrific swing and should hit for average and power, while providing good defense as well with his plus arm. Time will tell if he can stay healthy for an extended period of time.
7) Jonathan Villar, SS, Grade B/Borderline B-: Villar has progressed well this year at the plate, as his K rate is down and his walk rate is up. He's seeing more pitches, and as a result, his average is up to the .260s. His power is quite impressive for someone his size, but he tends to fall in love with the homerun swing at times. His defensive fundamentals are still poor, but he can make plays that very few SSs can make.
8) Mike Foltynewicz, RHP, Grade B-: I'm hesitant to give him a B, because he is repeating a level. He's still just 20 which is young, but I'm going to stick with a B- until he does something in the upper levels. He's made good progress with his secondary stuff, and his groundout rate is quite good. The Ks aren't there, but he's not walking a lot of people either.
9) Delino DeShields Jr., 2B, Grade B-: DeShields is kind of in the same boat that Foltynewicz is in. He's having a great season, and while he still very young at 19, he's repeating a level. I'm probably putting too much emphasis on that, but I'm not going to get bold, yet. DeShields has been very impressive at the plate this year, as his walk and K rates are fantastic. He's on pace for 85+ stolen bases, and his defense has made good progress. The power numbers are starting to show a bit more, and should only get better in the future.
10) Domingo Santana, OF, Grade B-: The walk rate has gone up significantly this year, but he's still striking out a bit too much. Granted, he's just 19 in High-A, and he is making a lot of progress at the plate, especially with his approach. The power numbers are there, and while his power is very real, he's playing in the Cally league. His glove is mediocre, but his arm is an absolute cannon. Could significantly improve his status by playing well at AA next year.
Honorable mentions: Nick Tropeano, RHP; Adrian Houser, RHP; Brett Oberholtzer, LHP; Jio Mier, SS; Nolan Fontana, SS; Ariel Ovando, OF; Brady Rodgers, RHP; Vincent Velasquez, RHP; Ruben Alaniz, RHP; Jack Armstrong Jr., RHP; Brett Phillips, OF.
I think this list may be viewed as a bit pessimistic to some, but I think it's realistic, for now. I would appreciate any feedback, whether it's good or bad.