There have been a lot of new additions to the Astros farm following the flurry of recent trade activity, and I have adapted my top 30 list to reflect it. Two guys that gave me some trouble were the prospects acquired for Myers, but in the end based on what I could find I decided that neither deserved a top 30 ranking. Enjoy!
1. Carlos Correa- Correa was my favorite player in the draft and I was stoked when the Astros pulled the trigger on him. He's a true 5-tool player who should be an impact hitter at either SS or 3B, wherever he ends up. He's starting to show his stuff after struggling in his first handful of games as a pro, and I think the sky is the limit with him.
2. George Springer- It's a bit of a bummer that Springer hasn't gotten to Corpus yet, because it's tough to get a good handle on him with only Cal numbers. However, Springer has been exactly what we thought he was so far- a guy with electric power and speed and the ability to make adjustments effectively. His K rate, while still not great has steadily dropped month to month and is now trending towards the low 20s, an acceptable figure. I rank him ahead of Singleton because of the breadth of his skills, and I think he has a future as a Chris Young/Curtis Granderson type player in the bigs.
3. Jonathan Singleton- Jonny had a prolonged slump in Corpus earlier this year but appears to be getting it back together now, and is still doing very impressive things considering his age in relation to the rest of the league. His bat has huge potential as we all know, and his defense at 1B is sound. All that's left for him to do is polish his approach before he's starting full time in the majors.
4. DeLino DeShields, Jr.- I held out hope on DDJ following his mildly disappointing 2011 campaign, and he has made massive strides forward this year. His K rate is a bit high, his glove still needs work and his power hasn't manifested itself to the level that I think it can, but he's hitting .300 with a .400 OBP and has stolen over 70 bases- proving he is the guy the Astros thought they were getting when they took him 8th overall back in 2010. I think he's ready for a Cal league trial next month before starting there in 2013, with the potential for a midseason promotion.
5. Lance McCullers, Jr.- I had McCullers pegged as the 9th pick to Miami in my mock draft, but as fate would have it he miraculously tumbled to 41st overall and Luhnow had the stones to snatch him up. At 6'2", McCullers is not too small to start in my opinion. His command, changeup and mechanics all made strides in his senior year of HS which further leads me to believe his future is in a big league rotation. His fastball/curveball combo is absolutely evil, and I think he'll be the kind of guy who posts dominating H/IP and K/IP ratios as he rises through the minors.
6. Jarred Cosart- This ranking may draw some flak from fellow posters here, but I think it's time for Cosart to put up or shut up. This season has seen him post a K/BB ratio under 2, which is extremely weak for a pitcher of his talent. I think he's probably destined for the pen unless he can straighten out his command and produce more swings and misses with his plus stuff. I was also not pleased with him badmouthing the front office on Twitter. Know your place, Jarred. Just go out and pitch.
7. Domingo Santana- Santana hasn't drawn a lot of attention for what he has done this season, that is, post a .917 OPS with 16 HRs in high A ball as a 19 year old. Yes, he's striking out too much, but his K rate dipped a fair amount in July, and I think it can get into respectable territory as he progresses. His solid walk rate helps offset that, too. At 6'5", 230 with massive power, Domingo is a prototypical RF prospect and has the potential to do some impressive things with the bat in his pro career.
8. Jonathan Villar- Up until breaking his hand punching a wall, Villar was having a pretty impressive season. Fantasy owners would salivate over a SS who can hit 15-20 HR and steal 50 bases, something that Jon was on pace to do prior to the injury. He also possesses tremendous defensive tools, and most scouts see him as an above average defender at short in the future. He needs more polish to be sure, but he's still quite young and is flashing some of the talent everyone seemed convinced he had hiding a couple years ago.
9. Robbie Grossman- A classic case of playing above your tools, Grossman has a lot of abilities that can help a major league squad- he hits for average, draws a ton of walks and can play all three outfield spots. He lacks much power or basestealing ability, but I think he has a very good shot to be a useful leadoff man for the Astros for a year or two while the rest of the farm catches up to him, and he may even retain that role once they do depending on his performance. He's a nice, if unsexy prospect that a good farm needs to have to back up the high upside players.
10. Mike Foltynewicz- People want Mike Foltynewicz to be more than he is- a top of the rotation arm. He simply doesn't profile as one- he has good groundball stuff, and induces weak contact well. However, he hasn't been a big strikeout pitcher in the minors and while he does have the stuff to start racking up more Ks, its hard to project that. I think Folty has some growing pains left, and while I see him as a major league starting pitcher, perhaps as good as a #3, he's still a raw talent who needs a couple more years before we know what the Astros really have here.
11. Nick Tropeano- Trope has been a favorite of mine since the Astros drafted him, and I'm really pleased to see him doing so well. His fastball has added a couple ticks which has really bolstered his stock, and he still has the plus changeup that made him a college star. His breaking ball is middling but could become a 50 pitch, which would allow him to remain a starting pitcher in the bigs, something people weren't sure he could do. With his dominance in the SAL and very good performance so far in the Cal league, Nick has risen into the top 10 and could claw higher by the end of the season.
12. Rio Ruiz- A highly talented 3B out of SoCal, Ruiz carries the potential to be an everyday starter some day. His power and hit tools both have above-average to plus potential, and he is a good athlete who has all the defensive tools necessary to be a good defender at the hot corner. He carries injury concerns, but I like him a lot and think that he'll rank significantly higher with a bit of experience.
13. Joe Musgrove- I was highly intrigued by Musgrove when short season ball started, and was thrilled to see the Astros acquire him. He's a prototypical raw prep power arm, and can hit 98 on his best days. With his 6'5" frame, Musgrove projects as a guy who can be a workhorse and hold velocity late into games. His offspeed offerings show promise and he carries top of the rotation upside, but has a lot of development left before he can be projected as that kind of pitcher. That said, I'm bullish on Musgrove and think he has a chance to be a steal for Luhnow and co.
14. Ariel Ovando- Given a massive bonus as a 16 year old in 2010, Ovando underperformed in 2011, but people forget he was in the Appy league as a 17 year old. Returning in 2012, he is raking to the tune of a .331 batting average and .850 OPS. Ovando has big raw power that hasn't shown yet and his approach at the plate needs work, but the sky is the limit here, and it would not be a surprise to me if in a year or two Ovando was in the Astros' top 5.
15. Nolan Fontana- A pretty classic Jeff Luhnow pick, Fontana should not spend much time on the farm. He has terrific OBP skills and defensive ability at short, and can hit a little bit too. I think he profiles best as a utility man, but he could have a stint as a starter at some point. I think the Astros know what they have here, and he projects as a very useful big league player.
16. Asher Wojciechowski- Wojo has burned me after being a favorite of mine in the 2010 draft, but I'm holding out hope that his velocity returns and he reaches his ceiling as a #3/4 starter. He's got a great pitchers build and good offspeed stuff, but the Jays played around with his mechanics a lot and his fastball and command suffered. This ranking is a bit high, but I'm trying to have faith in the Astros coaches getting him straightened out.
17. Adrian Houser- Another power prep arm, Houser is having a successful 2012 campaign, with 38 Ks and 34 hits allowed in 39 IP. His bread and butter is his fastball/power curve combo which gives him the potential to be a big strikeout pitcher in the future. I like Houser a lot, and think he can be a #2/3 starter if everything goes right. However, in the world of prospecting, every "if" is a big one.
18. Carlos Perez- A bit of an enigma, Perez has a chance to be an everyday C someday. His defensive and offensive tools are very good across the board, and he's having a modestly successful year so far in high-A ball, showing off his impressive arm behind the plate. He's also showing great plate discipline. His power could come along a bit and the rest of his defensive game needs to make some strides, but Perez is a very intriguing prospect who could make a rise.
19. Vincent Velasquez- A 2010 second-round pick, Velasquez is holding his own at Tri-City in his first step back from Tommy John. He throws hard and has promising secondary offerings, but needs to polish his command and consistency before he reaches his significant potential. With his good athleticism, I think he has a chance to do just that, but it will take some time.
20. Rudy Owens- His upside is limited, but Owens is big league ready and can help a major league staff as a #5 starter or swingman, maybe a #4 if he really adapts well. He was a nice get in the Wandy deal, and should be able to help the Astros major league squad in a hurry.
21. Brady Rodgers- No, that's not a fantasy football QB ranking list, it's the Astros 3rd round pick! A highly polished arm, Rodgers has 3 major league offerings and very good command. He's not sexy, but he should be in Houston before too long taking the ball every fifth day.
22. Paul Clemens- I really want to have faith in Paulie, a guy I really liked coming into the year, but his disastrous 2012 campaign is making it hard. He was just demoted to Corpus, but still carries his 94-95 MPH heater and above-average secondaries. Even without great command Clemens has a shot at being a #4 starter, but it's going to take some serious adjustments.
23. Jean Batista- Signed for $500k a couple years ago, Batista is showing terrific contact ability in Greeneville this year. He's played all over the diamond and his future is somewhere in the infield, but no one can really be sure where (albeit probably not shortstop). His bat has definite upside, and he could rank higher with a successful transition to full season ball next year.
24. Jose Cisnero- The best fastball in the system this side of Cosart and McCullers, I think Cisnero's most likely role is as a setup man. His numbers this year in Corpus are very impressive- under 1 H/IP and over 1 K/IP with a good enough walk rate. However, he lacks much in the way of secondary offerings, and that will probably preclude him from being a big league starter. That said, I think he has a relatively bright future in the pen.
25. Brett Oberholtzer- The command artist has had a very erratic season, and I'm starting to question his legitimacy is a prospect. His stuff clearly isn't fooling upper minors hitters, as evidenced by his .285 BAA. Maybe he can get back on track, but given his age, it's looking less and less likely with each bad start.
26. Colton Cain- A Texas native, Cain has the potential for a legitimate 3 pitch arsenal and has shown good velocity in the past. His stuff has been all over the place this year, but he's gotten on track to an extent since a disastrous April. Scouts love him, I'm pretty lukewarm on him as a stathead, but there's definitely some level of potential with him. A "lottery ticket" type.
27. Telvin Nash- What happened? He opened the year showing improved contact ability while displaying his massive power potential, and some people had him pegged as a top 100 prospect. Since then, he has been a disaster. His K rate has hovered around 50%, and while the power and walks remain, nothing can offset a number like that. I still have a little bit of hope for Telvin as a power bat, but serious adjustments need to be made.
28. Michael Feliz- I concede I know little about him, but when an 18 year old posts the kind of number he is in the Appy league, I take note. His K/IP and H/IP are excellent, and he's got ideal pitcher size at 6'4", 210. He may be nothing, but for now he looks like something, and I'm going to be keeping a close eye on him.
29. Preston Tucker- I followed Tucker closely at Florida, and was happy to see the Astros take him in the 7th round. I think he has a major league bat- he won't hit for average, but he can definitely offer left handed power (likely off the bench) and the ability to play either 1B or an OF corner. He doesn't have much upside but I think he's very likely to be a major leaguer, and there's something to be said for that.
30. Andrew Aplin- I kind of hated the Aplin pick when it happened, but he has shut me up with his performance so far. His 15/20 K/BB is phenomenal, and even more impressive is his .202 ISO, not bad for a supposedly punchless guy. Those stats paired with his good CF defense make him a guy to monitor, I think.
Whew, that took awhile. I hope y'all enjoy it and it sparks some discussion, I had a lot of fun doing it!