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Monday's Three Astros Things

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Talking about non-roster invites, Baseball Prospectus' farm ranking and Jacob Nix...

Some things to talk about while

1) The deal with minor-league invites

C.J. Nitkowski could already throw a baseball better than me. Since he started writing for Fox Sports, it's also clear he can do my job better than me, too. The former Astros reliever had a storied, if not always successful, major league career.

On Monday, he wrote about what getting a minor league invite is all about. Here's one of my favorite quotes:

There is not one that sees you valuable enough to let you take up a spot on its 40-man roster. They see you as guy worth taking a low risk chance on. They like you, they just don't like you, like you. It's hard to swallow, but you have no choice.

Keep this in mind when you throw around predictions about Joe Thatcher or Roberto Hernandez making the Opening Day roster. Sure, the Astros could have found hidden gems with these deals. They just as easily could have found Triple-A filler. Last year, Houston thought it had found a mentor for Jonathan Villar in Cesar Izturis.

Also, read the part where Nitkowski talks about how his agent really didn't gain anything from a minor league deal, so he spent a lot of time studying rosters to find the best spot himself. That explains Thatcher's quotes to Evan Drellich on why he picked the Astros, doesn't it?

It must be such a humbling experience for a major league player to accept that minor league deal. Roberto Hernandez just had a pretty good season, but can't find anyone to give him a major league contract. The league moves fast. Stand still for a second and it can pass you by.

2) BPro ranks Astros system at No. 12

It's not pretty, folks. The Astros farm system ranked 12th in the recent Baseball Prospectus rankings, released Monday. Here's what BPro had to say about the system that only had three Top 101 players in it:

Weaker than it once was thanks to a few big-league promotions and a trade, but any system with Carlos Correa atop it has some bragging rights. The re-emergence of Mark Appel from a strange start to the 2014 season gives the Astros legitimate impact talent on the mound as well as up the middle of the field, something few systems can boast. After that, there is talent surrounded with question marks, but plenty of potential pieces for their future.

Harsh? Fair?

3) Jacob Nix looks like a first rounder

Keith Law with some insider notes on Jacob Nix over at ESPN. It's not good news if you were hoping the Astros would avoid looking bad for his deal falling through:

Nix has added about 25 pounds of muscle, and he looks perfectly built for major-league workloads. He came out firing bullets, 93-to-96 in the first inning, throwing all fastballs, gradually losing velocity and sitting 90-to-92 in his last inning, the fifth.

Law talks more about his delivery there and some of the questions regarding him before the draft. But, Klaw's biggest point is that Nix looks like he could get taken in the first round this year.

Losing that kind of talent is one reason why the Astros fell on most draft boards. Heck, losing out on Nix and Brady Aiken could have sent plenty of teams into the 20's of farm rankings. At least they got that trio of college bats.