While perusing Twitter the other day, I came up with an idea. The idea was to look back at the Astros system and create an all-prospect team composed of the best minor league seasons during Jeff Luhnow’s tenure as GM. Doesn’t matter if he was drafted by Luhnow or not, but this will cover the best since he took over in December of 2011. This won’t always be the best prospect at the position, but the best season. I will also try to choose players who had their best seasons before being promoted and sent back down. I may have missed some, and if so, leave them in the comments.
Let’s get to the roster!
Catcher - Max Stassi, 2013
Stassi was originally drafted by the A’s in 2009 but traded to the Astros in 2013 in a deal that sent Jed Lowrieto Oakland. Stassi came over with a high ceiling and he showed just that. He was assigned to the Corpus Christi Hooks. In just 76 games in AA, Stassi hit .277 with .863 OPS, 20 2B, 17 HR, 60 RBI, good for a 139 wRC+. Stassi hasn’t lived up to those numbers yet, but he has played 150 games across 7 season with the Astros.
First Base - AJ Reed, 2015
Reed was the Astros 2nd round pick in 2014. He started the 2015 season in High-A and hit .346 with 23 HR, 81 RBI in 82 games. He was promoted to AA where he hit .332 with 11 HR, 46 RBI. He finished the season slashing .340/.432/.612 with 30 2B, 34 HR, 127 RBI and a 182 wRC+. Reed has failed to live up to this season hitting just .153 in 58 MLB games.
Second Base - Tony Kemp, 2014
Kemp was a 5th round pick by the Astros in 2013. He put up solid numbers after the draft but had a breakout year in 2014. He started the year in High-A and hit .336 with 28 SB in 72 games. He was promoted to AA where he hit .292 with another 13 SB in 59 games. Overall that season he slashed .316/.411/.449 with 30 2B, 8 3B, 8 HR, 58 RBI, 41 SB, 73 BB/67 K in 131 games. This was good for a 138 wRC+. Kemp has played 219 games in 4 season for the Astros.
Third Base - J.D. Davis, 2017
Davis was an intriguing draft pick by the Astros in 2014. He was known to have power and a big arm, and he showcased just that. In 2017, he started the year in AA and hit .279 with 18 2B, 21 HR, 60 RBI in 87 games. He was promoted to AAA where he hit .295 with 5 HR, 18 RBI in 16 games. Overall he slashed .282/.345/.527 with 23 2B, 26 HR, 78 RBI and a 136 wRC+. Davis was traded to the Mets this past off-season.
Shortstop - Carlos Correa, 2015
This was a tough one. It was between Correa or Bregman (2016). Both were phenomenal but I went with Correa due to age and where he played. He started the year in AA and destroyed the ball hitting .385 with 15 2B, 7 HR, 32 RBI in 29 games. He was promoted to AAA and hit .276 in 24 games before being promoted to Houston and winning rookie of the year. Overall he slashed .335/.407/.600 with 21 2B, 10 HR, 44 RBI, 18 SB and 171 wRC+ over 53 games.
Outfield - George Springer, 2013
This was an easy choice as Springer had one of the best season that I have ever seen in the minors in 2013. He started the year in AA and hit .297 with 20 2B, 19 HR, 55 RBI, 23 SB before being promoted to AAA. There, he hit .311 with 18 HR, 53 RBI, 22 SB in 62 games. Overall he hit .303/.411/.600 with 37 HR, 108 RBI, 45 SB and a 172 wRC+. He has been a mainstay at the top of the Astros lineup the last few years.
Outfield - Kyle Tucker, 2018
Tucker, a former first round pick, entered the 2018 season as the #15 rated prospect in baseball. He did nothing to discredit that ranking. Tucker played the entire season at AAA and destroyed the ball. He slashed .332/.400/.590 with 27 2B, 24 HR, 93 RBI, 20 SB and a 155 wRC+. He got a small taste of MLB pitching but struggled a little. He should be back in the MLB this year after putting up good numbers in AAA once again.
Outfield - Ramon Laureano, 2016
Laureno was a 16th round pick by the Astros in 2014 but had his breakout season in 2016 splitting time between A+ and AA. He played the first 80 games in A+ hitting .317 with 19 2B, 10 HR, 60 RBI and 33 SB. He was promoted to AA where his numbers improved to .323/.432/.548 with 5 HR, 10 SB in 36 games. Overall he hit .319/.428/.528 with 28 2B, 7 3B, 15 HR, 73 RBI, 43 SB and a 163 wRC+. He was traded for Brandon Baileyin late 2017.
Other Notables Outfielders: Jon Kemmer, 2015; Preston Tucker, 2013; Brett Phillips, 2014
Designated Hitter - Yordan Alvarez, 2019
The season isn’t over yet, but hopefully he won’t see the minors anymore this season. Alvarez had a good 2018 but set the world on fire in 2019. He played in 56 games in AAA and slashed .343/.443/.742 with 16 2B, 23 HR, 71 RBI, good for a 175 wRC+. I don’t need to elaborate much more because we have seen what he can do at the major league level too.
Pitcher - Joe Musgrove, 2015
Musgrove was involved in the 10 player trade with Toronto in 2012. It took him a little while to breakout, but in 2015 he did just that. He pitched across three levels (A/A+/AA) and posted a combined 1.88 ERA. Maybe even more impressive was his 8 walks in 100.2 innings. This included 2 BB/66 K in 55.2 innings between A/A+.
Pitcher - Rogelio Armenteros, 2017
Armenteros has a couple good season prior to 2017 but this is where he really made his name known. He started the year in AA and had a 1.93 ERA with 74 K in 65.1 innings. He was promoted to AAA where he had a 2.16 ERA with 72 K in 58.1 innings. Overall he struck out 146 in 123.2 innings (10.6 K/9) with a 2.04 ERA.
Pitcher - Forrest Whitley, 2017
Whitley made a quick ascent to the top posting a dominant 2017 season after being drafted out of high school in 2016. He started the 2017 season in A ball and struck out 67 in 46.1 innings with a 2.91 ERA. He was promoted to A+ where he then struck out 50 in 31.1 innings with a 3.16 ERA. He earned another promotion to AA and had a 1.84 ERA with 26 K in 14.2 innings. Overall he struck out 143 in 92.1 (13.9 K/9) innings with a 2.83 ERA as a 19 year old.
Other Notables Pitchers: Josh James, 2018; Corbin Martin, 2018; Peter Solomon, 2018; Brandon Bielak, 2018; Ryan Hartman, 2018; Tyler Ivey, 2018 (yes, 2018 was THAT good!); David Paulino, 2016; Francis Martes, 2015