Once more, let's talk about what George Springer means for the Astros. Specifically, where does he slot into the center field depth chart?
Last night, we discussed it on the podcast (which will post later this week), but the consensus was that Jay Austin, Austin Wates and Delino DeShields, Jr. may be ahead of Springer as center fielders. But, having a little more time to think about it, I'm not sure that's the case.
Obviously, what Jose Altuve does will largely determine how the Astros view DDJ. If Altuve sticks at second base and makes the major leagues in the next couple of seasons, that means DDJ will probably move off second base or get traded. If he moves, I'm sure he'll go back to center, which leaves him in direct competition with Springer.
Jay Austin is also a more developed prospect than Springer. He's spending a second year in Lancaster and should move up soon. However, if Springer signs early, goes to short season ball and mashes, where does he go next season? Does he go to Lancaster first or right to Double-A? Assuming the Astros start him safely in Lancaster, that means Austin should be ahead of him in the actual system if not the more esoteric depth chart.
But, do you leave an advanced prospect like Springer at High A for an entire season? If he's hitting there and playing solid defense, won't he move up to Double-A before next season is out? What do you do with Austin then?
Demoting him back to Lancaster would be a death knell for his prospect status, but I still think the Astros would do it. In fact, I think there isn't a center fielder in the system that they'd rank ahead of Springer right now. Sure, Wates may be ahead of him developmentally, but I bet the Astros would prefer to move Wates to left field before they put Springer off position for him.
There are questions on whether Springer can stay at center, but I think right now, the Astros probably have him right at the top of their minor league depth chart at the position.
Oklahoma City lost 14-2 to Memphis
Tommy Manzella, SS: 2-4, run, K
Brian Bogusevic, RF: 1-4, HR
Brandon Barnes, CF: 2-4, PO
Max Ramirez, C: 1-4, 2B, 2 Ks, GIDP
Ryan Rowland-Smith, starter: 5 IP, 6 hits, 6 runs, 2 walks, 5 Ks, HR allowed, 71 pitches, 48 strikes, 9 ground ball outs, 1 fly ball out
Brian Esposito, reliever: 1 IP, no hits, no runs, no walks, 1 K
Corpus Christi lost 3-2 to Arkansas
Jonathan VIllar, SS: 0-4, walk, 4 Ks, SB
Jimmy Paredes, 3B: 2-4, solo HR, 2 runs, SB
Jose Altuve, 2B: 2-5, 2B, SB, 2 Ks
T.J. Steele, CF: 1-4, 3B
Xavier Cedeno, starter: 8 2/3 IP, 5 hits, 2 runs, 3 walks, 10 Ks, 114 pitches, 74 strikes, 8 ground ball outs, 2 fly ball outs
Lancaster beat Lake Elsinore 8-7
Jay Austin, LF: 1-5, 2B, 2 runs, RBI, walk, K
Miguel Arrendell, SS: 3-5, run, walk
Austin Wates, CF: 1-4, run, RBI, walk, K
Kody Hinze, DH: 1-3, 2 runs, RBI, 2 walks
Zachary Grimmett, starter: 4 1/3 IP, 5 hits, 5 runs, 5 walks, K
David Berner, reliever: 1 1/3 IP, hit, no runs, walk
Wander Alvino, reliever: 2 2/3 IP, hit, no runs, no walks, 2 Ks
Lexington lost 6-5 to Greenville
Adam Bailey, RF: 2-4, solo HR, 2 runs
Tyler Burnett, 1B: 2-4, K
Jordan Scott, LF: 1-3, RBI, K, CS, SF
Carlos Quevedo, starter: 5 1/3 IP, 7 hits, 3 runs (2 earned), no walks, 7 Ks
Luis Cruz, reliever: 2 IP, 3 hits, no runs, no walks, 3 Ks