Wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo......oh, and watch the Baseball Nation Show...
1) Affiliate talk - Thanks to Astros County, we find that Tri-City and the Houston Astros have extended their player development contract through 2014. The two-year extension is pretty standard and nice to see. There wasn't a huge groundswell for a change there, and the way the new front office drafted this season has to help.
Meanwhile, Baseball America breaks down all the minor league affiliates and their chances at coming back for the 2013 season. Houston and OKC are listed as up in the air, but it's unclear who they might switch to. One option is New Orleans, who is apparently also up in the air with Washington. The Zephyrs used to be a Houston affiliate before Round Rock got moved up to Triple-A, so there is some precedent there.
UPDATE: As Steve pointed out on Twitter, New Orleans has reupped with Washington through 2014. Thanks, BA, for hanging me out to dry...
The murkiest situation has to be Lancaster, as it doesn't look like Houston will remain there, but it's not very sure who they'd switch to. Everyone in the Cal League seems to be up in the air. Take a look at all the High A affiliates and basically throw a dart there to see who Houston might switch to, if they switch at all.
2) Cards look back at Luhnow's drafts - An interesting piece popped up over at Viva El Birdos, breaking down Jeff Luhnow's draft. It's really worth an entire read, but here's how he summed up Luhnow's drafting.
Jeff Luhnow ran seven drafts for the Cardinals before he was spirited away by the Astros; at the moment the '06 and '09 classes are the two that really stand out as exceptional. Only the 2007 draft looks like a real dog, and even then the Cards came up with a few useful pieces. (More than anything, '07 was just a rotten year in general. Go look at the full first round that year. It's brutal.)
From Houston's perspective, the 2011 draft also looks like a real winner, which marks three excellent drafts in eight seasons for Luhnow and only one dud. That's a very good percentage and bodes well for the staff changes Luhnow is making on the baseball side, particularly in the scouting department.
3) MLB.com ranks Top 100 players - Finally, we get a little more prospect talk, as MLB.com re-ranks baseball's top 100 prospects and Houston lands five in that group.
Jonathan Singleton is the highest ranked at No. 26. Carlos Correa debuts at No. 38, but he's behind No. 2 overall pick Byron Buxton, who was ranked No. 30. No, I'm not bitter.
George Springer followed him at No. 55, one spot ahead of personal favorite Kolten Wong. The final two were Jarred Cosart and Delino DeShields Jr., who clocked in at Nos. 84 and 85 respectively.
No real suprises here, though Singleton should probably get some more love. I guess first base prospects just can't generate much hype no matter how young they are in Double-A. It's also a great showing for Correa, who managed 204 plate appearances in his professional debut. That's a great total for a high school draftee and will really help his development.
Then, there's DDJ, who is probably going to be rated as that solid low-end Top 100 guy for the entire winter. He's markedly lower than Billy Hamilton, who was up at No. 15, but it's still great progress for the former No. 8 overall pick. Overall, this is a great showing for a farm system on its way up. Anyone missing from your personal Top 100? Anyone you expected to see there?