TCB Top 20 Astros Prospect Review

He is quite possibly still the Astros top prospect as his stack has climbed this year.

We have one month left in the minor league season and promotions are starting to happen as prospects are challenged to see how they'll fare against higher competition. So, lets review how the top 20 prospects have fared this season and what it has meant to their prospect stock. This is not a new list, but a review of the list we put together in the off-season.

For players who have played in more than one level, I put their combined stats and discussed some differences from level in the write up for them. I also did not include their grade as our grade we assigned was a composite grade. Each of us put different value on different stats and reports so it's hard to really put a grade on them at this point. I did note my opinion on where their stock has gone, whether it's improved, dropped or holding. So, yes this is a lot like what John Sickels is currently doing. I love that guy!

  1. Jonathan Singleton 1B AA .279/.392/.865-Singleton has spent the whole season in AA Corpus and has improved his stock overall. He's the seventh youngest in the Texas League but has still managed to improve his numbers over his combined numbers from last year. His power is beginning to show up and he gets on-base at a ridiculous rate.
  2. Jarred Cosart SP AA/AAA 96 2/3 IP 3.82 ERA-Stuff is still electric but his BB% is up. He's continuing to induce a ton of outs by groundballs (56.6 GB%) but the strikeouts are still lower than you'd expect. He's struggled with blisters a lot this season and is currently on the shelf with them again after his second AAA start. Stock is holding.
  3. George Springer CF A+ .322/.403/.567-Numbers are a little inflated by Lancaster, but he is still hitting away from Lancaster. We've learned a lot about Springer this year and one is we'll have to be patient. He has work still to do with his swing and he's aggressive at the plate, meaning he's going to be a high strikeout guy. But, the good news is that his defense is reportedly very good in CF. His stock is up and could go higher once he gets promoted.

4. Domingo Santana RF A+ .286/.362/.513-Another solid Lancaster hitter, but his stats aren't quite as good as Springer. Reports are similar with Springer as he is striking out too much. Apparently he looks very impressive and his stock is up as some prospect analysts are possibly favoring him over Springer. His canon of an arm is evident but defense is still very raw. As the youngest player in the California League, you can't help but take it and be excited about it.

5. Jonathan Villar SS AA .261/.336/.396-Very slow start with a surging mid-season. He was showing much better plate discipline and his power was coming around. He was actually starting to look like the player he ended last season as. Although, he was starting to slump a bit again with just a .211 average over his last ten games and he punched a door. He's now in the middle of DL stint due to a broken hand. Stock is holding because of upside and the talent he was beginning to show again.

6. Ariel Ovando OF Rk .297/.348/.448-He's improved in every facet of the game. In just four more plate appearances, he's drawn two more walks and struck out two fewer times. So, not a big improvement, but reports are he looks more comfortable at the plate. Still has a long way to go with handling the strikezone though. He has hit for more power and has improved his routes in the OF. Stock is holding primarily because he made improvements but is still a long way off. His stock is arguably slightly improved, but I'm sticking with holding.

7. Paul Clemens SP AA/AAA 113 1/3 IP/6.83 ERA-Great spring training and start to the season, but has been terrible since a back injury. His 6.73 ERA in Oklahoma City earned him a demotion to AA where he hasn't faired any better. He turns 25 in Febuary, so his days as a starting pitcher are starting to be counted. His stuff should play well in the pen. Stock: DOWN

8. Austin Wates OF AA .303/.366/.410-His numbers are oddly similar to his Lancaster numbers of .300/.366/.413! It's kinda creepy actually. What you see is what you are going to get. He's going to hit, draw some walks, hit an occasional bomb with an occasional stolen base. His hitting is his best tool. As a center-fielder, he'd be a high end prospect but he is consistently pushed to LF by better defenders in CF. He's a lot like J.B. Shuck with a little more power. Stock is down despite maintaining his hitting outside of Lancaster.

9. Adrian Houser SP Rk 49 IP/4.59 ERA-Small sample sizes be warned! Throwing out his last start and his ERA drops to 3.43. Houser is repeating a level but has already pitched more innings, increased his strikeout rate, lowered his walk rate, and made a huge jump in groundouts. Finishing out the season will tell us more, but I'm going to stay stock is up slightly but holding is understandable.

10. Brett Oberholtzer SP AA/AAA 131 IP/5.02 ERA-Obie was showing improvement but hasn't adjusted well to his promotion to AAA. His walk rate is lower in AAA, but so is his strikeout rate and groundball rate. It's a hitters league and it's difficult for lower velocity lefty's. He's giving up a lot of home runs, and until he puts a stop to that, problems will continue. Stock is slightly down.

11. Delino DeShields Jr. 2B Low-A .294/.396/.430-I don't even know how he wasn't in the top 10! He has improved across the board and is now in top 100 territory. He's hitting the ball more, walking more, striking out less, hitting for more power, and stealing bases at an insane rate. He still has work to do on defense, but it is very exciting to see his turn around. Stock: WAY UP!

12. Jiovanni Mier SS High-A .309/.414/.447-Jio was performing much better in his return to Lancaster. He was hitting and drawing walks while striking out a decent rate. Defense was great as well. But, just after 26 games he pulled a hamstring and has been on the shelf since. He's finally back on the field after a few setbacks and played five games with the GCL team. He should be heading back to Lancaster now and hope he can play as well as he did pre-injury because short-stop depth is getting cut-throat. Stock is realistically down, but I'm holding...call be stubborn.

13. Mike Foltynewicz SP Low-A 132 IP/2.93 ERA-Despite making three fewer starts, he is two innings short of last year's total and his ERA is two full runs lower. His groundout rate is up as well as his strikeout rate. His walk is up by a minuscule amount as well, but its bearable. He's repeating the level but is still age appropriate. He still has lots of work to do in refining command and his pitches, but things are looking up. Stock slightly up.

14. Jake Goebbert OF AA/AAA .264/.369/.404-His stint in AAA was only a few weeks but is notable, and not in a good way. Goebbert seems to be topping out a bit. His playing time has diminished and despite playing hard, reports are that he makes poor decisions in the field. He'll be 25 next month and currently plays in AA. Things aren't looking up. Stock is down.

15. Nick Tropeano SP Low-A/High-A 126 1/3 IP/3.35 ERA-The ERA of 2.78 in Lexington earned him a jump to Lancaster where his 4.62 ERA still looks quite nice, given the environment. Since the promotion, he has increased his walk rate and lowered his strikeout rate, but is still over a 9 K/9 (barely). He's actually done well adapting as he's worked on groundballs more. The numbers in Lexington speak for themselves and are amazing. His stock is up quite a bit.

16. Jack Armstrong P-Despite being drafted in 2011, he has yet to pitch for the Astros in an official game. He pitched in Extended Spring Training against other teams, but we know nothing about that. He has been shelved with Tommy John surgery. Stock is down.

17. Kyle Hallock SP Low-A 18 IP/11.50 ERA-I can't make those numbers up. There were a lot of expectations placed on Hallock going into the season after he pitched very well in the NYPL, but he could not capitalize. He lost his command and he couldn't strike anyone out, and to make things worse, he couldn't keep the ball in the park. Just bad all around. He was demoted after just five starts and quickly went under the knife. He apparently had been struggling with some injuries which easily could have led to his disastrous season. Stock is down, especially since he just turned 24,

18. Chris Wallace C .265/.353/.423-The man behind the mask had every fan pumped after he destroyed Lexington last season but immediately tampered our expectations when he was promoted to Corpus. This season, expectations were lowered with an inkling of hope that the Lexington bat would catch up to him. It hasn't really. He was hitting more doubles in his return to C.C., but the home run power still isn't there. He earned a call-up to OkC, where his numbers have improved in a small sample. His ability to throw out base stealers is still suspect but he could still provide some value as a back-up catcher. Stock declining slowly in his age 24 season.

19. Vincent Velasquez SP 45 2/3 IP/3.35 ERA-His ERA is inflated from his start last night that was poor overall. But, his strikeout rate is very nice and his walk rate doesn't make you run and hide. He missed all of last season after Tommy John in his first season after being drafted and expectations were low. Velasquez has answered a lot of questions and fans are excited. His progress will be slow as the front office is going to careful with his arm, but his stock is climbing since he is just 20 in what is really his second season.

20. Kody Hinze 1B .214/.302/.370-He's a product of high expectations from when older hitters dominate low levels and then hit in Lancaster. Hinze, despite hitting 11 home runs this season, just hasn't done anything. He's now 25 and there's not much more to hope for. He was ranked this high in hopes he would regains some of his previous power and plate discipline after and adjustment period, but that hasn't happened. His stock is bottoming out.

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