Position players are fun to rank. You get to weigh position difficulty, fielding ability, baserunning, hitting for average, hitting for power, plate discipline, age, and league level and then come up with an overall conclusion on how these players stack up. Different stats and scouting reports can be consulted, and even then there is always a fair amount of subjectivity to the whole exercise.
Here is how I rank the Astros' top prospects:
1) Carlos Correa
3) Delino DeShields, Jr.
Comment on the top 4: They are pretty tightly bunched up here. I give Correa the nod because of his all around potential at a crucial position. Singleton is the best hitter of the four and has seen the most success in advanced levels, but he offers little defensive or positional value. Deshields could probably protest that he belongs at the top of the list after the outstanding year he had. As the oldest of the group, Springer is just a shade behind the others.
5) Domingo Santana
6) Rio Ruiz
Comment on 5-7: These three are fairly even in my book. They all are young for their leagues and have relatively high upsides. I was pleased to see Ruiz get off to a good all-around start in professional baseball.
9) Nolan Fontana
10) Andrew Aplin
Comment on 8-10: Grossman, Fontana, and Aplin fit together well too. They are polished, all-around players who have high floors.
11) Ariel Ovando
12) Jiovanni Mier
13) Juan Batista
Comment on 10-13: Ovando hit with more power this year, but he still has a ways to go to become a top prospect. Mier was slowed by injuries and has other talented shortstops encroaching on his turf. Batista has a strong bat but is limited by very poor plate discipline.
14) Carlos Perez
15) Tyler Heineman
Comments on 14-15: I'm not sure which of these guys qualifies as our top catching prospect. Perez was somewhat disappointing after coming over to the Astros. I really like Heineman, but I wonder how the doubles-only power will hold up as he advances.
16) Brian Borchering
17) Brandon Laird
18) Brandon Meredith
19) Preston Tucker
20) Jobduan Morales
Comments on 16-20: Some good hitting and power potential in this group. Will Borchering stick at 3B? Laird looks solid if unspectacular. Meredith and Tucker have good but not great bats - could play good supporting roles if all goes well. Morales would challenge Perez and Heineman if he sticks at catcher.
21) Teoscar Hernandez
22) Brett Phillips
23) Terrell Joyce
Comments on 21-23: These are three of my personal favorites. All had three had solid years, but I think the potential is there for future breakout years.
24) Marc Krauss - not as high on him as some others probably are.
25) Juan Santana
26) Jose Fernandez
27) Luis Reynoso
Comments on 25-27: Young middle infielders who have time on their side. Solid bats for those positions so far.
28) Austin Elkins - faded towards the end of the year but recovered nicely in the playoffs. Good all-around game.
29) Telvin Nash - I have a hard time seeing him overcome his strikeouts to be able to succeed at the higher levels.
30) Austin Wates
31) Matt Duffy
32) Chris Wallace
33) Jake Goebbert
Comments on 30-33: All four are older prospects with lower ceilings.
34) D'Andre Toney - Disappointing season, but still somewhat young.
35) Roberto Pena - Great defense - will he develop the bat to be an MLB backup catcher?