Friday night, MLB.com aired its Top 100 prospects for 2016 special. Five Houston Astros farmhands appear on this list:
- #22: SS Alex Bregman
- #40: 1B AJ Reed
- #41: RHP Francis Martes
- #74: OF Kyle Tucker
- #75: OF Daz Cameron
Bregman, drafted 2nd overall in the 2015 MLB Amateur Draft out of Louisiana State University, is the 3rd-highest ranked draftee from that class behind fellow shortstops Dansby Swanson and Brendan Rodgers. Between Quad Cities and Lancaster last season, Bregman hit a combined .294/366/.415 with 4 home runs and 13 stolen bases in 311 plate appearances. He is seen as the most ML-ready player taken at the top of the draft, though he may need to move to third base or second base with the Astros.
Reed, the game's top first base prospect, hit .340/.432/.612 across two minor league levels in 2015, with 34 home runs. He figures to reach the majors in 2016 and provide the power/patience combo that the Astros have lacked at the position since trading away Lance Berkman.
Martes was seen as an intriguing extra piece in the deal sending RHP Jarred Cosart to the Miami Marlins in exchange for center fielder Jake Marisnick, 3B prospect Colin Moran, and the draft pick that yielded Cameron. Since donning an Astros uniform though, Martes has been one of the most dominant pitchers in the minor leagues. Across three levels in 2015, he threw 102 innings with a 2.04 ERA and a 3.50 K/BB ratio. He will likely start the season at Double-A, having just turned 20 years old in November.
Tucker, younger brother of Astros outfielder Preston Tucker, was drafted with the 5th-overall pick in the 2015 draft. He is expected to have similar power numbers to his brother, but with better athleticism. By irresponsibly optimistic people, he has been compared to a young Ted Williams. During 2016, he hit .246/.294/.353 as an 18-year-old in Rookie ball.
Cameron, son of former MLB All-Star Mike Cameron, doesn't have quite the power/speed combination of his father, but is still seen as a high-ceiling center fielder in the major leagues. In 2016, he hit .251/.353/.309 with 0 home runs and 24 stolen bases.
A few former Astros farmhands appear on the MLB Top 100 list as well:
- #32: OF Brett Phillips, traded for Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers at the 2015 trade deadline.
- #61: LHP Josh Hader, in the same trade as Phillips
- #70: RHP Mark Appel, traded for closer Ken Giles during the 2015/16 off-season.
In all that's eight players acquired and developed by the Houston Astros, a feat for which the front office and player development staff no doubt takes tremendous pride. And all this is after graduating former Top 100 prospects SS Carlos Correa, RHP Lance McCullers, OF Domingo Santana (traded in the Gomez/Fiers trade), and OF George Springer during the past two seasons.