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Weekly MiLB Discussion: Tell Me How My Depth Looks

The minor league team discusses the positions that could be considered a weakness in the Astros system.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports


The knock on the Astros system has been that it has lacked elite upside players, yet it was balanced out with extreme depth. This minor league season has supported the depth evaluation and even argued the elite talent aspect. We'll get to the elite talent next time, but I want to discuss the depth. But I want to discuss it from a positional standpoint.

Which position do you feel has the best depth and which has the least amount of depth. Are there prospects at those positions that you think can improve the depth or worsen the depth due to being over-rated?

Brian Stevenson

If you count Jon Singleton, first base might have the best depth, with Singleton, Conrad Gregor and A.J. Reed around, not to mention that a guy like J.D. Davis might eventually move to first. But even if you do count him, I think I'd still go with starting pitching. I've said several times now in the recaps that we're virtually tripping over guys with legit mid-rotation upside, and they just keep drafting more each year. The guys that fail to reach that upside may settle in to a back-end role, too. This is a team that could probably go out and get one ace-level guy as a free agent and be able to fill in behind him with the farm guys for the entirety of whatever six or seven year mega deal they have to shell out to get said guy. And it's probably by design.

Third base might still be the weakest position. I want to say shortstop because there's no clear second option behind Correa, but I believe in him enough not to care. At the hot corner, however, you have Moran, who was unimpressive at AA before going down to injury (and is a good-not-great prospect anyway), and J.D. Davis, who got off to a hot start in Lancaster and has cooled off to just posting, again, good-not-great numbers considering the environment he's playing in. After them, the cupboard is pretty bare. Tyler White has suddenly jumped onto the edge of the radar, but I'm not convinced he'll stick defensively either. It may not end up mattering if Correa does indeed move to third at some point, but the fact remains that the position as it is now isn't too deep.

Seth Drennan

I'll agree with Brian. I know TINSAAPP ("There is no such thing as a pitching prospect") is a hot topic among prospectors, but it appears that the Astros taken this Murphy's law approach with building a pipeline of middle of the rotation type pitchers. The early modus operandi of acquiring volume over impact talent is starting to show its fruit. I don't think this is a bad approach at all because our current number 1 and number 2 starters on the big club were also labeled as "middle of the rotation" talents at best. You compile enough MOR potential guys, you got a solid chance that one of them may figure it out like Dallas. There's power in numbers when it comes to pitching prospects. Like Brian said, the Astros are tripping over those guys right now.

I am going to say that catcher is the spot that is the thinnest in the organization. I know Ritchie and Nottingham are both catchers at Quad Cities, but they are a long ways off and already splitting some time at 1B. This makes me nervous about their long term catching ability. Go above A ball and I only see one backstop that I believe has the capability of possibly being major league average, and that is Tyler Heineman.


They have had to play some at first base just to get at-bats. They did have three catchers on the roster for awhile.


Even with Nottingham sticking at catcher. I like our 3rd base depth better, which isn't saying much.

Blake Mueller

Going back to Seth's position weakness, I really thought Holberton would have done better than he has.  I like Heineman but his lack of power has me doubting his advancement, but he is showing good numbers besides that.


Both Holberton and Heineman are looking like backups. They are both good defensively but lack a real offensive punch. Holberton being the lesser of the two. Although Holberton has had some very low BABIP numbers this season.


Holberton has been one of my big disappointments this year. I haven't given up on him (like Brooks' said, stupid-low BAbip), but it's still sad. It's a good thing Nottingham is breaking out, otherwise, yeah, catcher would be looking super thin right now.

I'll also bring up second base. There's Kemp and not much else (intriguing options in QC, and Fontana in AAA I guess). It just isn't something you think about because of Altuve.

Anthony Boyer

Do we still think Holberton can even play catcher? When they started him off there, it had the feeling of a grand experiment. I wasn't blown away by the early returns, but I haven't been able to watch him yet this year.