Hopefully baseball will be back soon, but in the mean time, we need something to keep us all entertained. Looking back at the Astros past top prospects has always been enjoyable for me, even during the years that the Astros system was bare. I am going to start reviewing the top 10 prospects from 2010 forward. Let’s take a look.
1. Jason Castro, C
Castro was the Astros 1st round pick (8th overall) in the 2008 draft out of Stanford University. He was ranked the #41 prospect in baseball heading into the 2010 season. Castro put together a nice 2009 season when he slashed .300/.380/.446 in High-A and AA. Castro got called up to the majors in 2010 and had a .573 OPS in 67 games as a rookie. Castro missed the entire 2011 season with a torn ACL but came back in 2012 and had a 99 OPS+. In 2013, Castro had his best season as a pro posting a 130 OPS+ and 4.2 WAR in 120 games. Castro played with Houston for another three years before signing in Minnesota. Since that season he has just a .680 OPS in 551 games.
2. Jiovanni Mier, SS
Mier was drafted by the Astros in the 1st round of the 2009 draft. He was the #73 prospect in baseball heading into the 2010 season. Unfortunately he never really produced after rookie ball. In his first full season in the minors he had a .637 OPS. He followed that up the next season with a .688 OPS. After a few more seasons in the Astros system, Mier elected free agency and signed with Toronto. He played in the Blue Jays and Mets system before moving to the Mexican League in 2018. Mier never reached the majors.
3. Jordan Lyles, RHP
Another first round pick, Lyles was drafted in the first round in 2008, 38th overall. He was ranked the #91 prospect heading into the 2010 season. Lyles broke onto the scene with a solid full season debut where he had a 3.24 ERA and 167 K in 144.2 innings. The next year, at just 19 years old, Lyles had a 3.57 ERA and made it up to AAA. Lyles made his major league debut in 2011. He posted an ERA above 5.00 in the MLB over the next three years despite having some good outings. He was eventually traded to Colorado as part of the Dexter Fowler deal. Lyles is still pitching in the pros and has made stops in San Diego, Milwaukee and Pittsburgh since his time in Colorado.
4. Sammy Gervacio, RHP
Gervacio was looking like a promising relief prospect early on after a 2.30 ERA and 13.4 K/9 his first year in the minors. He followed that up with a 2.58 ERA in 83.2 innings in 2006 and a 2.31 ERA in 2007. Gervacio had some success in the upper minors too and eventually debuted for the Astros in 2009 when he had a 2.14 ERA in 21 innings. He never found that success again as he struggled with injuries. He is still pitching now and has been in Independent ball over the last five seasons.
5. Chia-Jen Lo, RHP
Lo was another promising relief prospect early on and had a 2.10 ERA in his first year in the Astros minor league system. Like Gervacio, he struggled with injuries and had trouble staying on the field. He eventually made his MLB debut in 2013 posting a 4.19 ERA in 19.1 innings but that was on the only chance he got at the MLB level. He is also still pitching and has been in the Chinese Baseball League since 2014.
6. Ross Seaton, RHP
Seaton was a third round pick by the Astros in the 2008 draft. He had a decent first season in full season ball when he had a 3.29 ERA in 146.1 innings. Three years later he split time between AA and AAA and 3.93 ERA in 169.1 innings. Unfortunately he never made his MLB debut and after a couple years in AAA, he was released and signed by Detroit. He last pitched in Independent Ball in 2019.
7. Tanner Bushue, RHP
Bushue was a second round pick by the Astros in the 2009 draft. Bushue started his minor league career okay posting a 4.11 ERA in 133.2 innings as a 19 year old in A ball. He struggled after that season though and never made is past A ball. He finished his minor league career with a 4.99 ERA.
8. Jay Austin, OF
Austin was another high school selection by the Astros. He was drafted in the second round of the 2008 draft. Austin put up a couple decent seasons early as he hit .267 in his first full season and then slashed .261/.314/.414 with 54 stolen bases in 131 games. Austin never made it above High-A though. Austin has played in independent and foreign leagues for the last six seasons.
9. Jon Gaston, OF
Gaston was drafted by the Astros in the 7th round of the 2008 draft. Gaston was the perfect example of the Lancaster effect. In 2009, in the hitter’s paradise that is the California League, he hit 35 HR, 100 RBI and had a .966 OPS. He went to AA the next season and had just 13 HR in 132 games with a .720 OPS. He repeated AA a couple years before moving to Independent ball from 2012-2015.
10. T.J. Steele, OF
Steele was a 4th round pick in 2008. Like Gaston, he also benefited from Lancaster as he slashed .345/.385/.562 in 50 games in 2009. He played in three more seasons in the minor leagues in AA and finished his career with just a .663 OPS in 327 games.