Friday's Three Astros Things

July 10, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; National League pitcher Jonathan Papelbon (58) of the Philadelphia Phillies high fives teammates including Starlin Castro (13) of the Chicago Cubs and Jose Altuve (27) of the Houston Astros after defeating the American League 8-0 in the 2012 All Star Game at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports via US PRESSWIRE

Baseball is finally back tonight, even if it is insanely late and against Mr. Perfect...

1) Astros make midseason prospect lists - Yep, on Keith Law's midseason prospect update, Houston has two players in his top 50. In fact, he's got two in the top 25, as newly minted No. 1 overall pick Carlos Correa clocks in at No. 20 and Jonathan Singleton jumps up to No. 23.

There is some concern for both of them on his list, but, as Law says on a note on Byron Buxton, the early signing deadline means these guys are in uniform and playing much earlier than normal, which can only be a good thing for their development.

In FanGraphs' review of its Top 100 list, they rank both George Springer and Singleton as guys who are seeing their value go up. Both are very positive developments for this farm system, which should see its placement in the Top 15 systems in the game for the first time in quite a while.

2) Competitive Balance lottery doesn't make sense - I'm sure I've said it before, but this whole competitive balance lottery doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. I'm sure there are teams that are both winning now and considered small markets. But, can you really make the argument that St. Louis needs help? That team has been competitive for the last three decades, if not longer.

The Brewers have also been good recently, and the Reds, too. In fact, eight of the teams in the lottery this year are at .500 or better and another is only three games off that pace. Oh, and most of those teams have been active in the free agent market too.

I realize revenue sharing and market sizes are really squeezing some teams and giving others (like the Angels) license to go crazy with their spending. Teams like Oakland and Cleveland could use some help. But, St. Louis? And the commish's old team? If they win picks, how will that be helping competitive balance?

There is no good solution here, but wouldn't it make sense to take the ten smallest markets and only place the ones who were below .500 last year in the lottery? I don't know, but I do know I don't like this setup one bit.

3) Second half predictions? - Technically, the midpoint in the season already passed, but in grand baseball tradition, it's not considered the second half until the All-Star break. Since it's been a relatively slow news week, I'll ask you this: what are you expecting out of the next few months?

Did the four days off give you time to forget about the awful tailspin this team was in before the break? Was it too long and would you have liked to see games start up Thursday? Any predictions for who gets traded and who sticks around? Who the second-half MVP will be? Any callups (besides Brandon Barnes) for the second half, and when do you think it'll happen?

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