Opening day is upon us. The minor league season doesn't open for a few more days but it is nice to take a look back and see where the current Astros opening day lineup were ranked as prospects, at their highest ranking. Here is the most likely opening day lineup (with Gattis as an addition) and how they were ranked.
George Springer, RF
Springer was drafted by the Astros in the 1st round (11th overall) in the 2011 draft. Springer was ranked the #18 prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America prior to the 2014 season. He was ranked the #2 prospect in the system prior to 2014 by Minor League Ball. These rankings followed a 2013 season in which Springer hit .303 with 37 HR, 108 RBI, 45 SB between AA and AAA.
Alex Bregman, 3B
Bregman was the #2 overall selection in the 2015 draft. Bregman was ranked the #22 prospect in baseball by MLB.com prior to the 2016 season. Prior to his promotion in the 2016 season, Bregman was ranked as the mid-season #1 prospect in baseball according to MLB.com. Bregman hit .306 with 20 HR, 61 RBI in 80 games between AA/AAA before being called up to the Astros.
Jose Altuve, 2B
The Astros signed Jose Altuve prior to the 2007 season for just $15,000. Altuve was never ranked in the top 100 on any lists I could find. Minor League Ball had him ranked #13 on the Astros top 20 list and said "You have to love the numbers, but can a 5-5 player really succeed at higher levels? We'll find out this year." In the 2011 season between A+ and AA he hit a combined .389 with 10 HR, 59 RBI, and 24 SB. Two batting titles and three top 15 MVP finishes later, I think we can all agree that he can hit at higher levels.
Carlos Correa, SS
The selection of Correa (1.1, 2012) was a significant stepping stone in the rebuild and has proved vital to the turn around. Correa was listed as the #3 prospect in baseball by MLB.com pre-2015. He was also ranked as the #1 prospect in the Astros system by Minor League Ball. Correa forced his way on the Astros roster by hitting .335 with 21 2B, 10 HR, 44 RBI in 53 games between AA/AAA.
Carlos Beltran, DH
Beltran was a 2nd round selection of the Royals in 1995. Pre-1999 he was the #1 prospect in the Royals' system and was ranked as the #14 prospect in baseball by Baseball America. These rankings following a 1998 season in which he hit .313 with 19 HR, 76 RBI, 18 SB between A+ and AA.
Brian McCann, C
The Braves drafted McCann in the 2nd round of the 2002 draft. In 2004, at High-A Myrtle Beach, McCann hit .278 with 35 2B, 16 HR leading him to be ranked the #44 prospect in baseball by Baseball America. He was also ranked as the #3 prospect in the Braves' system prior to 2005.
Yulieski Gurriel, 1B
Gurriel played the majority of his career in Cuba before the Astros signed him to a 5 year deal worth $47.5 million. Minor League Ball has Gurriel currently ranked as the #83 prospect in baseball and #4 in the Astros' system. He will be 33 years old this season but is a career .335/.417/.580 hitter in 900+ foreign league games.
Josh Reddick, RF
Reddick was a 17th round selection by the Red Sox in 2006 draft. Baseball Prospectus had him ranked #58 in the top 100 prior to the 2010 season, though 2009 was his best minor league season hitting .311 with 23 HR, 91 RBI. Minor League Ball had Reddick ranked as the #4 prospect in the Red Sox system going into the 2010 season.
Nori Aoki, LF
Aoki was signed by the Brewers before the 2012 season but was never actually listed as a prospect. He had a very good career in Japan in which he hit .329/.402/.454. He been consistent in the majors too, hitting at least .283 with a .349 OBP in all five of his major league seasons.
Evan Gattis, C/DH
Gattis was a 23rd round pick of the Braves in 2010. He was never ranked in the top 100 prospects, though Minor League Ball had him ranked as the #11 prospect in the Braves' system prior to the 2013 season. In the 2012 minor league season, Gattis hit .305 with 18 HR, 67 RBI.
Dallas Keuchel, LHP
Keuchel was a 7th round selection of the Astros in 2009. He worked his way through the Astros farm system but was never seen as a legit prospect and was never ranked in the top 100. Prior to his debut season in 2012, Minor League Ball had him outside the top 21 prospect and in the "others" category. Though prior to 2011, he was the #14 prospect in the system. Fast forward 6 season, and Keuchel is now the Astros' ace, a Cy Young winner, and making his 3rd straight Opening Day start.
This article paints an interesting picture on the Astros Opening Day roster. While there are many high selections and highly ranked prospects, there are a few that came out of nowhere. The Astros 2017 Opening Day is finally here and hopefully this team will lead us to the promised land.
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