In his post-draft signing deadline farm system rankings, Keith Law of ESPN.com puts the Astros in his top five. How high did they go?
Well, Law ranks them third, despite the injury to Carlos Correa and whatever the heck is going on with Mark Appel this summer. Oh, and also despite losing out on once-in-a-generation talent Brady Aiken and the next Adam Wainwright in Jacob Nix.
He also acknowledges that Appel should still rebound and that Correa will come back healthy, so he's not overreacting. Plus, the nice debuts of A.J. Reed, J.D. Davis and Derek Fisher mean that Houston may have one of the weaker draft classes, but they have far from the weakest.
Law doesn't spend much time analyzing the system, but he does put Houston just under the Minnesota Twins, who have dealt with their own farm issues, as Byron Buxton cannot stay healthy this season.
Of course, the sleeping giant are the Cubs, who grab the title of No. 1 farm system easily, with a wealth of talent. It's headlined by the Kris Bryant and Javy Baez's of the world, but the Cubs also have built impressive depth through international signings, trades and smart drafting.
Did I mention Houston retained its position as a top five system despite graduating George Springer and Jon Singleton?
That's the goal Jeff Luhnow brought to Houston. The idea is to build a system that can survive impact players graduating to the majors and still be a top 10 unit in terms of talent and depth. So far, he's gotten the Astros' system there. After Correa gets to the majors next summer, though, Houston will need to nail the 2015 draft to keep its lofty position, as the talent looks a little thin from 2013.
What do you think? Happy Houston is still a top-three system? Upset the Twins are still above them? Upset Houston couldn't make a run at that top spot?