TCB Astros March Madness 2014: Aaron West vs Luis Cruz

The Righty vs Lefty matchup: right-handed pitching prospect Aaron West vs left-handed pitching prospect Luis Cruz.

TCB's Astros Fan Favorite March Madness Tournament is underway. From now until the end of Spring Training 64 players will spend the next several weeks facing off in a head to head public vote to determine who advances to the next round and who will eventually be crowned the communities favorite Astros player. For more details click here for the introductory post.

The rules are simple determine which player you want to advance to the next by voting for that player. Any excellent arguments made for an advancing player in the comments below may be used in the players description for the next round. Vote subjectively, objectively or by using your trusty magic eight ball. Votes will last exactly 24 hours.

In this match-up

1 - Aaron West

Ignore that 5.22 ERA; not even our favorite sleeper prospect could fully combat the effects of Lancaster and the rest of the California League. But soon West will have his chance in a more neutral environment, and if his 9.28 K/9, 1.41 BB/9 and 2.56 FIP from 2013 are any indication, he shouldn't have a great deal of trouble adjusting to the next level. The front office, clearly high on him, will likely challenge West to take his three pitch mix to Corpus Christi sooner rather than later, and he could see time in the Majors in 2015 if all goes well. -Ashitaka

vs

16 - Luis Cruz

As far back as 2010, Cruz has shown enough statistical promise (7.59 K/9, 2.35 BB/9, 3.02 FIP) to draw a cocked eyebrow or two, and a strong 2012 season saw his stock rise a bit more at the lower rungs of the system. His 5.13 ERA from 2013 isn't inspiring, but as with many pitchers working Lancaster, it hardly tells the story; 10.24 K/9, 3.18 BB/9 and a 3.37 FIP are numbers any pitcher would be proud of out there in the California League's harsh desert parks. He was even more dominant in a small cup of coffee in AA as well, and his improvements were substantial enough for the front office to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. That alone should be enough to put him on the edge of any serious prospect watcher's radar screen heading into 2014. -Ashitaka

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