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What Does the Future Hold for Seaton in Houston?

I'm going to call this article what it is.  This article is an attempt to allow David, aka TCB Cyborg, to take a break from pumping out ridiculous amounts of stories this week.  Ol' Boy works tirelessly for this site and I'm appalled at what he is able to produce week in and week out.  So, on to what I want to discuss, Ross Seaton.

I'm not going to delve into all of the statistics and scouting reports to make an attempt to break down the big and projectable right-hander.  I might reference to certain stats and scouting reports in order to frame out what he basically is as prospect, but not profile him to the fullest.  If you want something more in depth, check out our cyborg's write up on him from last year and his update.

I just want to sit back and see some of your thoughts on what he provides the system in terms of pitching depth and upside as well as what you think he will actually provide Houston in the long-term if he ever makes it to the majors.


Seaton was pretty highly touted coming out of high school as the typical big Texas fireballer.  He wasn't regarded in the same context as someone like this years Jameson Taillon, but he was someone scouts knew about.  He ran the fastball up in the mid 90s and had the potential for some power secondary pitches.  He had a nice scholarship offer to Tulane that required a little extra money to get him to sign, which came to his $700k signing bonus.  He was the high upside and risky type pick from the 2008 draft and he continues to be a project for the Astros to this day.

Seaton hasn't been what was expected when he was drafted.  In fact, his first full season left many fans scratching their heads.  How does a guy with a power fastball have such a poor strikeout rate?  Well, that remains to be answered.  In fact, that is still a question mark because it continued this year in Lancaster.  The good news out of Lancaster this year with Seaton, is that he was back to running his fastball up to the mid-90s again on occasion.  Although, he is still inconsistent and on many nights, he is in the low 90s and high 80s.  He also had many nights where he absolutely dominated, but had nights where struggled mightily.  Do those high velocity nights and dominating nights go hand-in-hand?  Good question!  I wish I could answer that.

When he was in Lexington last year, his breaking ball was somewhere in the middle of a slider and curve.  Some like to call that a slurve.  The Astros decided to refine that into a distinct slider and curve.  He is supposed to be working on the curve and once he masters it, he'll bring back the slider.  That was from an article last year, so where he stands on that is unknown. 

But, what remains is that he struggles to strike guys out at times and keep the ball down as well.  Next year will have to be a big year for Seaton or he will be in danger to being the next Brad James, a power pitcher who never turns into much of anything.  He will likely be more consistent with his velocity next year since his body has had another year to adapt to the demands of the a full season, but will his command allow him to put it all together?  That's the question.  He will be pitching in a much friendlier environment but will be facing a tighter strike zone and better hitters in the Texas League as he makes the move to Corpus.  He will have to run that fastball to the mid 90s consistently as well as get those secondary pitches low in the zone. 

So, my question to you, what kind of results do you see from him next year?  I expect a similar BB/9, in the mid to upper 2's.  I also expect that a more consistent fastball and (hopefully) better curve, combined with a slider(?) will lead to K/9 in the high 6's or low 7's.  That will be significant increase from his 5's that he's been posting.  Although, I see an ERA in the high 4's.  That will be a considerable improvement that will likely get me very excited.  

What about his future in Houston?  If he posts that next year, I'll go ahead and say a middle of the rotation starter.  If he doesn't, swing man!  What say you?