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The AMP Mailbag

Let's open up the mailbag and answer a few questions that we haven't been able to get to on the TCB AMP!

Let's be honest, I have a tendency to ramble and talk too much on the podcast at times. I'm sure that's one of the reasons we had to have a separate podcast for me to ramble on the minors about. Sometimes it's a good thing, and others....well more often than not it's a bad thing. One of those downfalls is the inability to consistently answer questions on the podcast. Same goes with the big league podcast and why Tim had the idea of doing a mailbag. David debuted the big league mailbag and now it's time for the AMP Mailbag.

-Exiled in St. Louis

How long before Kyle Westwood gets talked about with Nick Tropeano and Aaron West

I'm not there. I'm intrigued but I'm just not there. He has the frame that I like. He has the control that I like. But, until I see him I won't comment on command and the brief video I've seen shows some mechanical flaws (not injury wise).

He has a fastball that tops out at 92 but has good movement that helps him induce a high groundball rate (57%). He has what the Astros called a plus breaking ball, but it has yet to produce a good strikeout rate (17.2%). It's good in comparison to his 3.6% walk rate, but it is still way below what you want.

He has a better walk rate and groundball rate than both Tropeano and West did in Tri-City, but the strikeout rate is way down from them. Westwood has also been extremely lucky with a very low BABIP (.192).

I cannot put him in the same category yet. If he goes the Tropeano direction and adds a few ticks this off-season to his fastball, I'll feel better about hit. But, that's a big if. I haven't seen any rave reviews on his changeup which is another limitation.

Steve Bartman_MVP

Will the 2014 draft carry the same draft strategy of the 2012 draft now that they have the added competitive lottery draft pick?

I like this question and hate it at the same time (not intended to be an insult). I understand exactly where you are coming from with it, but in all honesty, it's too soon.

The Astros have absolutely no idea what they are going to do with next year's draft because there is so much baseball left to play. If the draft were tomorrow, I'm almost certain they would draft Carlos Rodon. But, things can change. Tyler Beede could have vastly improved control and make that decision very difficult. Trea Turner could look even better as well. There are several interesting high school guys. It's just way too soon to know.

Why do I bring up individual prospects to this question? Because those players will determine how they approach the draft. If a player develops to challenge Rodon or Rodon slips up, it is possible that they employ the 2012 strategy. The option is definitely on the table. But, if Rodon is still the number one guy and it's not close, then I doubt that's on the table because he likely won't be cheap enough to employ that strategy.

That year was just very unique. Carlos Correa came very cheap and the bonus demands of Lance McCullers and some teams concerns over his mechanics and size dropped his stock. Then, Rio Ruiz's health concerns and lack of senior year scouting opportunities made him a difficult sign as well. It all fell right into place.

This draft may or may not provide those opportunities. We saw teams approach the 2013 draft very differently than 2012. The players we expected to be drafted in the 2nd and 3rd rounds and received the overslot bonuses didn't get drafted until the 10th round. You have to approach the draft to the way it sets up. We won't know how the draft sets up until May at the earliest. Will there be a pitcher that drops from good graces over mechanics, bonus demands, and size? I don't know. Will there be a prospect with injury concerns or health issues that drops? I don't know. Will there be high upside high school prospects worth their demands that will be available after the first round? I don't know.

Essentially what I'm saying is that it is possible but it is waaaaay too soon to know. I can all but guarantee that the option is on the table but not until much further down the line will we know if it's a viable option.