I feel like a broken record but, as noted many times, the Astros farm system is very deep. There are major league ready prospects, middle level guys, and a ton of young international prospects in the low levels. But a system isn't built on just high draft picks and international signings. It is helped with solid drafts that produce prospects from the later rounds.
With this, I wanted to take a look at a few late round prospects who have added tremendous depth to the system.
Drew Ferguson, OF (19th round, 2015)
Laureano got the majority of the publicity as the breakout outfield prospect in 2016, and rightfully so, but Ferguson had a fantastic year as well. Ferguson was drafted out Belmont University after hitting .395 with 26 2B, 11 HR, 60 RBI, 26 SB and just 24 K in 58 games. Ferguson played for Tri-City and Quad Cities in 2015, hitting a combined .297.
Ferguson started the 2016 season with Lancaster and was eventually promoted to Corpus Christi late in the season. H finished slashing .315/.408/.541 with 17 HR, 76 RBI, 30 SB in 105 games between both levels. Ferguson profiles as a corner outfielder but has good speed and has shown some pop. For what its worth, he is also a fan of analytics.
Ryan Deemes, RHP (36th round, 2015)
Deemes played college baseball for Nicholls State and had a very good senior season in which he had a 2.29 ERA with 19 BB/67 K in 78.2 IP. The Astros selected him in the 36th round and in 2015 he pitched between two levels, Greeneville and Tri-City. Between those levels he went 3-0 with a 2.01 ERA and 9 BB/40 K in 49.1 IP.
In 2016 Deemes pitched across three levels, strictly as a reliever, posting a 2.93 ERA and finishing at Double-A. Deemes has a high 80s to low 90s fastball and mixes that with a low 80s slider and changeup. Deemes does a good job pounding the zone and keeping hitters off balance.
Bryan Muniz, 1B (22nd round, 2014)
Muniz was another late round pick drafted by the Astros out of Southeastern University in Florida. In his junior season he hit .400 with 28 2B, 5 HR, 48 RBI and 33 walks to just 10 strikeouts in 59 games. He also showed off some athleticism for a first baseman stealing 37 bases in 152 college games.
Muniz spent is first full season in the minors (2015) splitting time between Tri-City and Quad Cities. That season he hit .288 with 22 2B, 6 HR and 44 BB/43 K in 74 games. This was good for a 145 wRC+ at Tri-City and a 154 wRC+ at Quad Cities. Muniz played the 2016 season with Lancaster hitting .274 with 13 HR, 74 RBI in 113 games. While he doesn't have the typical power of a first baseman, he has shown the ability to put the bat on the ball.
Tyler Britton, RHP (26th round, 2016)
Britton is a right handed pitcher drafted by the Astros in the 26th round in 2016. He was a 4 year college player playing his junior and senior seasons at High Point University. He pitched out of the bullpen his senior season but performed well posting a 2.93 ERA with 10 BB/59 K in 55.1 IP, good for 5.9 K/BB. After the draft, the Astros assigned him to Greeneville where he dominated in his short stint there with 2 BB/33 K in just 20.1 IP (2.66 ERA/1.79 FIP).
He was the promoted to Tri-City where he was even better striking out 29 in 17.2 IP with a 2.04 ERA/1.35 FIP. He ended the season pitching for Quad Cities, allowing 3 runs in 3 innings in his only start there. Britton isn't a big guy, listed at just 6'0" and 195 lbs. He will be 23 years old in 2017 and could be a fast riser as a reliever.
Stijn van der Meer, SS (34th round, 2016)
Stijn van der Meer, a native of the Netherlands, was drafted out of Lamar University in 2016. He is older than the typical prospect but had a phenomenal senior season. In 54 games for Lamar, he hit .376 with 38 BB/15 SO in 54 games. It also appears he played in the Dutch Major Leagues slashing .341/.408/.401 in 121 with 47 walks to just 24 strikeouts.
Following the draft, van der Meer played with GCL and Greeneville hitting .329 with 7 BB/12 K in 21 games. He is a lanky shortstop listed at 6'3" and 170 lbs. van der Meer also played for the Netherlands in the WBC, but only compiled two at-bats. Given his age (23) the Astros could move him aggressively. While he hasn’t established himself as a legit prospect yet, 2017 could be a big year for him.
Building depth is key to having a top system and the Astros have done just that. Even though they have graduated many prospects over the last couple of years, the Astros system is still seen as one of the better systems in all of baseball.