GCL Astros Year In Review

The GCL wrapped up its season today, so I thought I'd write a review like I did for the DSL team.

(Mods, if this is something y'all were planning on doing, let me know; I'm more than happy to leave the tedium to y'all)

Just like the big league team, the DSL Team, and most other Houston farm teams, the GCLstros struggled in the W/L department, going 20-34 and finishing in last place. Again, I don't put too much stock in W/L records for development teams, but it would obviously be better to field winners at every level.

There were a lot of prospects to like on this year's youngest stateside team, so let's breakdown who I was paying attention to:

Chris Epps (OF) and Justin Shults (1B) both showed some power, but both players were extremely old for this level and probably shouldn't be on anyone's radar until they start producing at a more age-appropriate level.

Jose Fernandez, SS (18): the youngster showed a modicum of improvement in his repeat GCL year, hitting .245 with 11 SB. Looks like he still needs to improve his SO/BB rates, but still one to watch.

Javaris Reynolds, CF (18): this year's 7th rounder got in a solid pro debut, considering his age. He looks to have very good speed, with 15 SB in 46 games.

Jean Carlos Batista, IF (20): a big money int'l guy from last year, Batista earned a promotion to Rookie league ball.

Kelvin Vizcaino, OF (18): another big money int'l guy who had a solid year after stepping up from the DSL and should be ready for Greeneville next year.

Luca Martone, 2B (18): Had a very good year in a repeat GCL performance ringing up a .770 OPS. If he can add some power, he could be one to watch.

Wallace Gonzalez, OF (18): An adequate debut, but nothing outrageous. Will likely need more work in GCL next season.

Kenny Diaz, C (19): Former 50th rd pick showcased his talent in limited opportunities, finishing with an .816 OPS in only 32 ABs.

Other than Adrian Houser (who did well enough to earn a mid season promo to Greenville), my favorite player on the GCL roster this season was SP Michael Feliz. A tall, young, big money int'l signee, Feliz finished with a solid K rate and ERA. The walks might be worrisome, but not so much considering just how young this kid is (17!) to be playing in stateside ball. I'm really excited about him as an arm with a low floor, but one of the highest ceilings in the system. The other mainstay rotation members for the GCLstros, Frederick Tiburcio and Enderson Franco, turned in performances good enough to justify a promotion next season, but nothing truly eyepopping.

Another pitcher to watch is Evan Grills, who started in the bullpen before finishing the year in the rotation. Grills, 19, is a Canuck who may take some time to get his stamina up, but has flashed some ability and may have a fairly high ceiling. Grills finished with a 3.00 ERA, 29:7 K:BB, and 33 IP. I hope to see him in Greenville's rotation next season.

Relievers Justin Gill (22), Steven Dennison (22), and Blake Ford (23,8 saves) all had solid numbers, but those should be taken with a grain of salt considering they were pitching in a league largely populated with teenagers.

Brandon Culbreth, a 2011 8th rounder, had a rocky debut.

3B Kyle Redinger had what appears to be a wasted year as he repeated the GCL and had awful #s.
In very limited action Dustin Kellogg registered 9 K's to only 1 BB. He may be one to watch going into next season.

Finally, 3 youngish pitchers Krishawn Holley, Juan Mojica, and Andrew Walter all turned in performances worthy of recognition.

With the talent level and number of players turning in solid performances, I'm surprised this team was so bad and lost so many games. I expect Fernandez, Wallace Gonzalez, Kelvin Vizcaino, Javaris Reynolds, and Luca Martone to get everyday jobs either in Greenville or a repeat GCL season next year. I can't wait to see Michael Feliz in the Rookie League and beyond, as I think he has a bright future. Grills, Kellogg, and Culbreth will be players I keep an eye on moving forward.

Much like the DSL, the GCL is full of players who are so young and so far away from the majors that it's usually not worthwhile to exert a lot of energy analyzing them, so they don't get a lot of attention, but, even moreso than the DSL team, this year's GCL team hosted some solid prospects who should do quite well as they move up the chain.

Anyone I leave out? Who do y'all think will be the biggest future star out of hte players from this year's GCLstros team?

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