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Why My Rankings Look Like They Do

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I was higher than most on some prospects, lower than most on some, and right on the average for a few. Here's my explanation of my thought process.

Colin Moran deserves some love.
Colin Moran deserves some love.
Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

As of now, most of you have already checked out the TCB Writers' Prospect Rankings (and if you haven't, click here). In what should be the first of several, I am writing an article discussing my sorting of approximately 40 Astros prospects. I won't mention them all, but I'll express my opinion on those where I wandered off the beaten path. Let's dive right in:

Mark Appel: My ranking: 8.5; Average Ranking: 7.68 Appel finally showed us the reason he was drafted #1 in Corpus Christi and the AFL, dominating two leagues not especially known for the pitching. He should be a future No. 2 in the Astros' rotation, and will almost certainly make his debut this summer. I know I went the highest on Appel, but I'm still not definitely sure he was healthy last season, and cannot wait to see a fully healthy Appel in Fresno, which should be a challenge nearly on par with Lancaster.

Colin Moran: My ranking: 7; Average Ranking: 6.11 7 Moran was hotly discussed during the podcast. The highest grade any of the four who hosted it gave Moran was a 6, and I gave him a full grade higher (only clack matched me). What stuck out most to me was Moran's hit tool. Moran went up a level (from A+ to AA) after the trade and posted better stats in almost every category, albeit buoyed by a .30 jump in BABiP. Moran rarely strikes out, he is an average defender (maybe a little below average with the glove), and has one of the sweetest swings of any Astros MiLBer. The biggest knock on him is his lack of power. However, I believe he can tap into that, and that is what gives him this high of a ranking in my book.

Brett Phillips: My ranking: 7; Average Ranking: 6.04 Brett Phillips really burst onto the scene in 2014. He was an under-the-radar high school draft pick who had showed flashes of plate discipline and speed, but didn't seem very close to putting it all together. While it can't be said he has totally put it all together, he has shown he has both excellent gap power and out-of-the-park power. His K rate dropped, his walk rate jumped, and he ended the season hoisting a trophy in Lancaster (where he posted a .980 OPS). A two-sport athlete in high school, his athletic prowess sets him apart from his peers and makes him a plus center fielder. If he is not on the Top 100 this year, he will have just missed out.

Conrad Gregor: My ranking: 6; Average Ranking: 4.89 Gregor, not A.J. Reed, is the premier 1st base prospect in the Astros system. Gregor's ability to get on base is perfect when dealing with a 1st baseman who already has shown flashes of power and a great swing. Gregor is obviously not a finished product, as evidenced by his mediocre performance in Corpus, but even in a difficult point in the season he still kept his walk rate high and his K rate low. He should be in AA to start the season, but will probably be ready to play in the Majors Opening Day 2016.

Tony Kemp: My ranking: 4; Average Ranking: 4.75 I really want to love Tony Kemp. He dominated Lancaster, turned around, and made a name for himself at Corpus. He has definitely shown he is a polished college player. However, I still have trouble buying into him as a prospect. He has speed, he makes contact, he can even hit it out of the park on occasion...but he is seeming more and more like a finished product. I worry he'll merely hit like Ronny Torreyes at AAA (alright, Fresno is a bad place for someone to have an offensive regression). If he can pull a Preston Tucker and once again prove he can mash at any other level, "bad baseball body" concerns go out the window. I'm just not sure he'll be able to.

Jason Martin: My ranking: 5.5; Average Ranking: 4.42 Again, I love toolsy outfielders who have great plate discipline. Making his A- debut at 18 years old, he kept his K rate way down and was hurt by a depressed BABiP, yet still posted above-average stats. His speed is lethal, he is an above-average fielder with great range, and he can line the ball all over the field. His power hasn't yet emerged, but even without a Brett Phillips-like explosion, he has the potential to be a first-division center fielder.

Aaron West: My ranking: 5; Average Ranking: 4.04 Yes, we all know West had a frustrating season last year, which was hindered by injuries, and when he finally returned, it was in a small sample size of 24.1 innings (he posted a 5.55 ERA and a 5.67 FIP). However, that season should be considered an aberration, as West had an FIP of 2.63 in 2012 and a 3.13 FIP in 2013 to go with a K% in the mid-twenties and a BB% under 4% in both years. With a fastball that has touched 98, an above-average curve, a workable changeup, and good mechanics, West looks primed to break out in a second chance in Corpus, and should push his way up to Fresno before the end of the year. He still looks like a mid-rotation starter, and in a system as deep as this one, that stands out.

Asher Wojciechowski: My ranking: 3; Average Ranking: 3.82 Wojo isn't a prospects by most definitions. True, he hasn't pitched in the Majors yet, but at 26 years old, with 210.0 innings in AAA so far, he is close to a finished product. The only reason he wasn't in the majors last year was due to injury problems. He didn't pitch especially well last year (4.85 FIP), and was mostly average in 2013 (4.00 FIP, 6.99 K/9). However, his control did improve noticeably, and he still could be a back-of-the-rotation pitcher. He looks destined to end up in a long relief role, and with the low ceiling he has, I couldn't give him more than a 3.

Feel free to agree/disagree with my rankings, and share your thoughts on who should've gone where in the comments.