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The Crawfish Boxes Top 30 prospect list

All our prospect scouting reports, stories and podcasts in one place.

Our Top 30 propsect week is coming to a close. We had some fantastic content this week and here's a summary of everything our writers churned out, followed by the entire Top 30 list with accompanying notes.

Introduction to the list

Podcast Hour 1

Podcast Hour 2

Podcast Hour 3

2010 prospect list review

Alex: Why my rankings look the way they do

Infographic on Top 30 list

Joe Sclafani will be a productive big leaguer

The Gattis Trade Trio

Where did the 2014 draft class rank?

Carlos Correa third on Keith Law's Top 100

TCB's Top 30

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

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

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

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 powerful 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

16 - J.D. Davis 3B - C+ (4.679)

We’ve seen the Astros target power bats, warts and all, at the MLB level this off-season, but it should come as little surprise given some of their recent draftees. Davis’ big calling card is his raw power, easily a six out of eight, and possibly a seven depending on who you talk to. Splitting time between Tri-City and Quad-Cities in his debut season, he posted a .215 ISO overall, knocking 13 homers in 73 games. He figures to strike out a fair amount, but if he reaches his 30 home run potential and can maintain some level of defensive value, he’ll find his way onto a Major League roster somewhere.-Brian

17 - Daniel Mengden RHP - C+ (4.542)

Considered a first- or second-round talent out of Texas A&M prior to the draft, Mengden fell to the Astros in the fourth round and was signed under slot. He boasts a four-pitch arsenal including a plus fastball that usually sits in the low nineties (but has touched 95), an above-average to plus slider, a spike curveball, and an average- to above-average change. He commands all four well and can throw any of them for strikes. A back injury plagued his final year at Texas A&M, but he recovered in time to add 11 dominant pro innings in 2014, striking out seventeen batters and walking just one.  - Anthony Boyer

18 - Max Stassi C - C+ (4.536)

Despite having ML experience on his resume, Stassi did not have a season to write home about. His power did not look as good as it did in AA and he continues to not impress in concerns of his overall offensive profile. He has a good defensive reputation which the Astros are known for taking much pride in for their catchers. -Subber10

19 - Kyle Smith RHP - C+ (4.429)

It’s tough to argue against his results at AA. I questioned them after last season and he proved me wrong for AA. He a profile that thathas is very tough to succeed with as he has average velocity and lives on painting the black. His calling card is the curve which is quite good. He’ll face doubters every step of the way, but the noise they make is growing quieter. -Subber10

20 - Jason Martin OF - C+ (4.417)

The Astros’ 8th-round pick in the 2013 draft as a seventeen-year-old out of Orange Lutheran High School, where he was also a defensive back on the football team before an injury, Martin flashes a toolset that has drawn comparisons to pre-breakout Brett Phillips. Plus speed, a plus glove, and a nice hit tool should carry him whether he’s able to add power or not.  - Anthony Boyer

21 - Andrew Aplin OF - C+ (4.393)

Massive walk rates, enough defense to stay in center, inconsistent power ("pop" would be more accurate), 15-20 stolen bags...who needs Dexter Fowler when you have his clone down in AAA? It’s not a perfect comparison, but it’s fair; Aplin’s solid speed, defensive range and ability to find his way on base will keep him in the Majors for a good while. He’ll have to hit a little more consistently if he wants to start, but his floor is definitely a Major Leaguer. Expect him to be one of the guys knocking on the door in 2015 if injuries or ineffectiveness is plaguing the MLB outfield corps. -Brian

22 - Joe Sclafani IF - C+ (4.179)

This is an aggressive ranking for a utility infielder, to be sure, but for those who give significant weight to a player’s floor and major league readiness, Sclafani delivers. Drafted in the 14th round in 2012 as a shortstop out of Dartmouth, Sclafani provides versatility in addition to a well-rounded skillset that makes him a very strong utility infielder candidate in the majors - perhaps as early as 2015.  - Anthony Boyer

23 - Joe Musgrove RHP - C+ (4.125)

"I love me some Joe Musgrove!" was a frequent cry amongst a small group of TCB writers during our email discussions late last season. It seemed like every time he took the mound, he made a statement that he was back and ready to live up to his former prospect hype. He posted a stunning 6.7 K/BB ratio and his ERA of 2.81 nearly matched his FIP of 2.84. Limiting walks continued to be a strong suit, and on his injury-hampered career, he’s walked just 1.4 batters per nine innings. Throw in a 53.6% ground ball rate thanks to his heavy fastball, and there’s real cause for optimism that, if healthy, 2015 could be a big breakout year. -Brian

24 - Aaron West RHP - C+ (4.036)

As an individual, you’d be hard pressed to find a player the TCB staff loves more. West has an interesting background and has been a guest on the podcast. This past season was far from as planned as he spent the majority of the rehabbingseason from forearm tightness and then elbow pain. It’s tough to take anything from his stats considering. The talent remains despite being a year older. He throws in the upper 90’s and can command it, that’s a hard pitch to find. -Subber10

25 - Kent Emanuel LHP - C (3.958)

One of the few draft picks that the Astros fan base has questioned strongly under Jeff Luhnow’s tenure is the selection of Kent Emanuel. Emanuel has very average stuff but has good control. His command is lacking which could be a significant problem. However, there has to be something there. Bad pitchers just don’t usually post sub-4 FIPs and SIERAs in Lancaster in over 100 innings. -Subber10

26 - Nolan Fontana SS/2B - C (3.923)

The closest thing the Astros have to the "Greek God of Walks" that was Kevin Youkalis. Entirely different player, but man can this guy draw a walk. But he can also swing and miss a lot too. Fontana has been polarizing for many fans as everyone loves the 20% walk rate. However, his unique profile leads many to question his future success. It doesn’t help that it appears he won’t be able to hold down shortstop defensively. -Subber10

27 - Tyler Heineman C - C (3.923)

Good all around catchers are hard to find. They’re either good offensively but bad defensively or vice versa. After last year, many fans felt that the Astros had found one. However, Heineman regressed significantly at the plate both in batting average and power. He continued to have decent plate discipline as he draws a few walks and doesn’t strikeout out a ton. His defensive reviews are still good but to be more than a future backup, the offense needs to take a step forward. -Subber10

28 - Ronald Torreyes IF - C (3.864)

Torreyes is not a sexy prospect but is the type of player that can provide value greater than his typical prospect rating would suggest, which is why he was protected from the rule five draft. He has two primary assets and that he's versatile defensively and doesn't strikeout. He can play just about anywhere on the field and not be an embarrassment. He makes plenty of contact at the plate albeit rarely with authority. -Subber10

29 - Brady Rodgers RHP - C (3.846)

Rodgers is one of those polished, sum-of-his-parts players who might just exceed expectations, thanks to his ground ball-generating ability and his propensity to not walk anyone. Ever. In fact, Rodgers has walked 54 total batters in his professional career, spanning parts of three seasons and 310.1 innings. While his arsenal may be mediocre (heater tops out at 92 and sits lower), it is varied and his command of it is a huge strength. He may not ever be special, but his floor means he likely will be something, and there's real value to that. -Brian

30 - Asher Wojciechowski RHP - C (3.821)

With a difficult 2014 behind him, Wojo has some work to do on the mound if he figures to find a spot in the Astros rotation at some point. He struggled to recover from a lat strain during the spring and again had problems with finishing hitters off at the plate. He has pretty average stuff but the breaking ball is limiting his ability to garner the strikeout when he needs it. He flashes an ability, but at his age, flashes need to meet production. -Subber 10