EDIT: FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Astros have flipped Anthony Gose to the Blue Jays for Brett Wallace. Another article to follow analyzing this move!
If there's one thing we've learned about Ed Wade's and Bobby Heck's direction for our farm system, it's that they love speed and defense in position player prospects. I don't necessarily agree with that focus; I prefer on-base percentage and power, in terms of bang-for-buck. However, I'm glad that they have a philosophy and a plan, and that they stick to their guns.
When the Roy Oswalt trade was rumored to be for J.A. Happ, Anthony Gose, and Vance Worley, I was upset. Now that Worley has been substituted for Villar, I feel much better about the deal, although it's still a mediocre return given the amount of money ($11M) the Astros have included in the deal.
So what did the Astros get? In J.A. Happ, they get a no. 3-4 starter for right now under team control for four more seasons after this year. He's been very lucky in his short major league career, and he won't continue to post an ERA in the low 3.00 range, but looking at his career minor league numbers, he has the upside to be a Randy Wolf or Ted Lilly type starter for us. Yes, he's already 28, but that's not actually a bad thing; the best and healthiest years for a pitcher are often in their late 20s to early 30s.
The Astros also will receive a young center fielder with sky-high potential. Anthony Gose might be the fastest player in the minor leagues. Beyond that, he has a cannon arm and the frame to support enough strength for 15 HR power down the road. He's very young and very raw, but if you like potential—he's got it. Think of his best case scenario as Carl Crawford on offense with Michael Bourn's defensive ability.
Sure, we already have a similar player in Jay Austin (they even share the same birthday), but Gose is better. He's faster and he has a better arm and he's going to have more power.
Lastly, the Astros get a shortstop prospect Jonathan Villar, who also has plus-plus speed coupled with a great arm. He has all of the tools to stick at shortstop and be a plus defender there, but needs to work on the skills aspect of his defense. If you turned back the clock on Elvis Andrus or Dee Gordon, you might get Villar, or at least a slightly richer man's version of him.
Both Gose and Villar struggle with strikeouts. Both need some good coaching and repetitions on the basepaths, on defense, and at the plate. Both are young, raw players with a long way to go to reach their high ceilings.
But both could also develop into star performers—core pieces up the middle for your future Astros.
Is this a great return for Oswalt? No. But it's not terrible. The Astros get a piece to help them now, and some pieces with huge potential. Give these players a chance and let's see how it goes.
Watch video of Jonathan Villar.