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TCB Top 30: Prospects 1-15 Blurbs

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It's final installation of the TCB Top 30. Here's some blurbs on the prospects we rated 1-15 for those of you who would rather not listen to the podcast.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Again we'll tag along with the podcast. This time we go along with the third and final installation of the special with part III which features prospects 1-15.

Without further ado.

15 - Tony Kemp IF - C+ (4.750)

Unfair though it may be, it’s impossible to keep Jose Altuve out of your mind when you think of Kemp. Kemp isn’t going to win a Major League batting title, but may very well be a starting second baseman for some team. His glove won’t be an issue; it’s above average, if not flashy, and he has just enough arm to make it work there (but nowhere else, really). Unlike Altuve, Kemp has a walk rate going for him, and while certainly not Altuve, his hit tool is a bit above average and will play. If he gets on base 35% of the time, plays solid defense and steals 20+ bags each year, you’d better believe he’ll start. With Altuve firmly entrenched, Kemp could be dealt within the next 12 months, especially if he has a big year in AA and possibly AAA. -Brian

14 - Conrad Gregor 1B - C+ (4.893)

Drafted in the fourth round out of Vanderbilt in 2013, Gregor became one of the fastest movers in the system, beginning the 2014 season in Single-A Quad Cities, advancing through Lancaster, and ending the year in Double-A Corpus Christi. That’s a lot of adjustments to make in one season, and his batting line suffered once he hit the Texas League, but once he has time to make adjustments, he should be able to handle the high minors better. His swing is simple and uncomplicated, he has an advanced eye at the plate, and he has shown excellent pitch selection: In Lancaster, he drew more walks (27) than strikeouts (25). He doesn’t have ideal power for a first baseman, but is capable of muscling the occasional ball over the wall. - Anthony

13 - Preston Tucker OF - B- (5.214)

And now we have Chris’ boy! He’s never had a below average wOBA and he’s never had an OBP under .348. He draws walks at a good clip and until AAA, his highest strikeout rate was 17.2%. It went up to 23.9% at AAA which is defnitely a cause for concern moving forward considering he also posted his lowest ISO of his career. If those rates improve closer to his career rates, it’s possible he could be an average corner OFer. -Subber10

12 - Josh Hader LHP - B- (5.250)

One of the bigger risers from last year’s list, Hader put together an excellent year playing in full-season ball, impressing in the harsh climate in Lancaster and earning himself a late-year promotion to AA. Though his command is shaky at times, he misses bats, and continued to do so in a small sample with Corpus Christi. So long as he can continue to work effectively with his funky mechanics and low-three-quarters delivery, he should keep rising through the ranks. His 93 MPH fastball is already a Major League pitch when his command is good, and his curve and change could be as well. -Brian

11 - Lance McCullers Jr. RHP - B- (5.286)

Mechanics were an issue when he was drafted and they continue to be a part of the issue. You can’t deny his two pitch arsenal as it’s one of the best in the minors. He has an electric fastball and a great curve. However, due to inconsistencies in his delivery and the fact that throwing strikes is a very difficult task, he may not improve his walk rate enough to reach his ceiling. He’ll also have to improve his changeup which has received mixed reviews. -Subber10

10 - Domingo Santana OF - B- (5.321)

Santana turned 22 years old in August - a little over a month after his MLB debut. The 6’5" Dominican outfielder is easily one of the toolsiest players in the system, but some have questioned whether those tools have sufficiently translated to baseball skills. In Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2014, Santana continued to do what he’s done his entire minor league career: Take walks, hit for power, and strike out at a prodigious rate. It must be remembered that he’s still very young, but he’ll need to learn to handle breaking pitches better and improve his overall contact rates if he’s going to be counted on to be a productive major league player. - Anthony

9 - Teoscar Hernandez OF - B- (5.500)

Hernandez has some combination of all five tools - a strong arm in the outfield, decent speed, power to spare, a good glove. But it’s his hit tool that will ultimately determine his value in the major leagues. Hernandez has struggled with pitch recognition in the minors, and 2014 was no exception. He struck out 25.7% of the time in Lancaster, but paired it with a 10.8% walk rate. That contact is his only real concern, as he pairs quick-twitch athleticism with a baseball body (6’2", 180 pounds, lean and muscular) to bring a nice power/speed combo to the system. - Anthony

8 - Michael Feliz RHP - B- (5.538)

A 6’4", 210-pound, 21-year-old righthander out of the Dominican Republic, Feliz has an impressive scouting profile - he pairs a mid-nineties fastball that’s been clocked as high as 99, with a major league slider, giving him one of the best one-two punches in the system. Feliz was originally signed by the A’s in 2010, but he lost that contract when he failed a PED test, later signing with the Astros for less money. After a slow ascent through the domestic rookie leagues, Feliz exploded in the New York-Penn League in 2013, posting a league-leading 1.96 ERA. 2014 saw another step forward, this time in the Midwest League, prompting the Astros to make him a late addition to the 40-man roster in anticipation of the Rule 5 draft. - Anthony

7 - Derek Fisher OF - B- (5.607)

It’s rare to pick up a college player with his kind of tools in the compensation round like Fisher. It’s a rare combination of speed and power. Yes, I said power. His college numbers call that to question but when you look at his swing and frame, you expect it to come. The fact he fractured his hammate this season also gives you reason to ignore his junior season power output. Ultimately, where he plays in the outfield affects his future value, but the Astros have said he’ll be given a shot to be a CFer. He has the speed to do it, but will he make good enough reeds and take good enough routes? -Subebr10

6 - AJ Reed 1B/DH - B- (5.750)

Now you’re playing with power! Reed has as much as anyone in the system not named Telvin Nash, yet unlike Nash, Reed is a polished hitter who figures to rise through the ranks pretty quickly. His .233 ISO in his professional debut was a great start. His ceiling appears to be Lance Berkman (walks, power, good average, and little else), but even if he doesn’t make it all the way there, the OPS should carry him enough to be a solid DH. Of note; winning the Golden Spikes award, as Reed did, has been a virtual ticket to MLB success at an incredible rate. -Brian

5 - Brett Phillips OF - B (6.036)

"Meteoric" might be an understatement when discussing Phillips’ rise in the rankings. This kid came in at #46 last year. Graduations at the top can’t explain that kind of rise away. Phillips went from a far-away two-way prep-project with some intriguing tools to a legit prospect that can’t be ignored in the space of 12 months, putting up Correa-eqsue numbers between Quad-Cities and Lancaster. He drew some walks, held his strike outs nicely in check, stole some bases, and most notably, didn’t see a crazy spike in power in Lancaster; his .219 ISO from Quad-Cities merely held up and continued to look real. Reports say his route running still needs considerable work, but if that improves and he continues ripping up the A-levels, expect him in AA at some point this year, where he can really begin to prove he’s as good as we want to believe. Jeff Luhnow may just hit the jackpot with his first drafted lottery ticket. -Brian

4 - Colin Moran 3B - B (6.107)

Little more than a year after reportedly almost taking him 1-1, Luhnow got his man anyway, as the Marlins parted with Moran as the main piece in their side of the Jarred Cosart trade. Moran is a hitter, though how much is in question; his power likely won’t carry him as a third baseman unless he really hits well. He doesn’t draw a ton of walks, either. But the polished bat is where the value lies, and the Astros hope they can maximize that tool while helping him bring out a little more in other areas. His glove and arm should be good enough to keep him at the hot corner, though he won’t wow anyone there. If you believe there could be more power lurking in his stick, as a small-but-vocal minority do, then you can certainly see a .280 hitter with 25 homers, which would make him one of the better third basemen in the league. -Brian

3 - Vincent Velasquez RHP - B (6.536)

One of the last remaining Bobby Heck pitchers in the system. Velasquez was a Heck type pitcher as he is very athletic and has an athletic repeatable delivery. He completely dominates hitters at the plate with a great fastball and changeup combination. He also possesses a breaking ball that projects to be average but flashes more. The largest question surrounding him is his durability. He had a hip issue that caused him to miss a lot of time and of course he was shut down with the dreaded TJ surgery a few years back. -Subber10

2 - Mark Appel RHP - B+ (7.679)

I just can’t...well I guess I should. I’m a big Appel fan and anything I say about last season runs the risk of being called an apologist. The time in Lancaster was dreadful. Double-A was better.  AFL was very good and at times called dominant. The stuff is still there to be a top of the rotation type, but he needs to tighten up his command and attack hitters. He seemed too hesitant this year. -Subber10

1 - Carlos Correa SS - A (9.250)

O Captain! My Captain! your fearful trip is done;

Your body has weather’d every rack, the promotion you sought is won;

The Majors are near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,

While follow eyes your steady keel, an effulgent future resulting

O Captain! My Captain! rise up and hear the roar

Rise up - for you the flag is flung - ‘tis you the crowd adores;

For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths - for you the throng yearning;

For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning

Exult, O fans, and ring, O bells!

There is nothing left to fear

Rejoice with cries and passionate yells

"O Captain! Our Captain is here!" -Brian

Hope you enjoyed and we'll be back next year!