Archive for the ‘2010 Draft’ Category

2011 Top Astros Prospects According To Baseball America

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

Well friends and neighbors and the 100 remaining Astros fans left on the planet,

first, news and rumors – gotta get the good stuff first, right?

I hear tell that Drayton has ordered Fast Eddie to pare the payroll to under 70 million (what  a surprise, right) and since Keppinger just had foot surgery (to Fast Eddie’s consternation, as he had a few teams interested) he won’t be tradable until after he comes off the DL and looks as if Drayton is gonna be stuck with Kepp’s salary – it’s really why they want him off the team, you know.

Naturally, Clank is untradeable, like, what a surprise, so Drayton is stuck with the 19 mill and Fast Eddie would rather get his teeth all pulled than trade his 12 mill a year darling petsy-poo, so the most tradeable Astro is Wandy Rodriguez and naturally, teams are VERY interested, seeing as how he is easily the best ML pitcher available and the only ML team which doesn’t need starting pitching is Gerry Hunsicker’s Rays.

Gerry Hunsicker. Where have I heard that name before?

But I digress.

Anyway, Baseball America (evaluation by John Manuel) thinks that the Astros now have the 26th best farm in the majors (as opposed to last in the majors for like the past 4 years) and all I can say is that I would hate to see the teams whose farms are worse than the Astros (how is it POSSIBLE?)

Last year’s top 10 were

1 – Jason Castro, C: 1st round 08, AA
2 – Jiovanni Mier, SS: 1st round 09, rookie
3 – Jordan Lyles, RHP: 1st round 08, A
4 – Sammy Gervacio, RHP: DR 05, MLB
5 – Chia-Jen Lo, RHP: Taiwan 09, AA
6 – Ross Seaton, RHP: 3rd round 08, A
7 – Tanner Bushue, RHP: 2nd round 09, Rookie
8 – Jay Austin, CF: 2nd round 08, A
9 – Jon Gaston, OF: 7th round 08, A+ (Lancaster)
10- TJ Steele, OF: 4th round 08, A+ (Lancaster)

(You notice the absence of one Christopher Johnson, who was also not on the 09 or 08 list. But I digress. You also note that the last 2 guys spent the year at Lancaster, which makes Coors Field look like an extreme pitchers’ park. You also note that most of the guys on the list are just the top draft picks from the preceeding 2 years. Their actual performance was mostly irrelevant. And the only really good player on the list was Sammy Gervacio, who unfortunately got hurt early in 2010 and missed the whole season…)

Missing from this year’s list are, besides Sammy,

5 – Chia-Jen Lo, who was promoted to AA and pitched a couple of innings before getting hurt and missing most of the year
6 – Ross Seaton, who posted a 6.64 ERA at Lancaster (not sure why he got thrown to the wolves there, unlike Jordan Lyles) and, per John Manuel:

Q: Your thoughts on Ross Seaton’s season in High-A? What does he need to improve upon?

John Manuel: Everything! The good parts: Seaton stayed healthy, took every turn and regained his prep velocity. We have a good number of reports of him sitting 90-91 with his sinker and hitting 94 with his four-seamer. But his pitchability is pretty poor right now, and that won’t fly in Lancaster because everything else does. His delivery falls apart out of the stretch, according to one scout I talked to, but his numbers were actually better with runners on base. I think the big reason for that is that he was just so bad from the windup. Seaton ranks higher than he probably should considering the numbers, and that’s a sign of the system still lacking depth. He’s in the top 20.

8 – Jay Austin – who posted only a .719 OPS at Lancaster (although it was up from .680 at A ball in 09) age 19, so he does have SOME hope

9 – Johnny Gaston – who posted a .965 OPS at Lancaster, then fell to a .719 OPS at AA (age 23)

10 – TJ Steele – who posted a .947 OPS at Lancaster, then a .574 OPS at AA (age 24)

So now let’s see the list for this year:

1 – Jordan Lyles, RH SP: just finished age 19 season. Pitched 121 very good innings at AA after being skipped over the Lancaster pitchers’ hell: 3.12 ERA/1.32 WHIP; 9.4 H/9, 2.5 BB/9, 8.5 K/9. Then he went to AAA, pitched 31 not so good innings (he just might could have been tired) 5.40 ERA/1.86 WHIP: 13.6 H/9, 6.1 K/9, 3.2 BB/9.

The Organization is talking about him competing for a spot in the starting rotation this spring and this is also the Organization which is talking about Fernando Abad, who has never started, competing for a starting position. However, I personally think that he just might could need to show he can get AAA hitters out before facing Albert Pujols and gang…

2 – Delino DeShields, Jr. – age 18, 1st round 2010. He was moved from 2B to CF and posted a .789 OPS in the Sally league over 67 AB. How the heck anyone can rate someone as the second best prospect in an Organization based on 67 AB I do not know. He’s supposed to be “athletic” and he gets this high rating because he was a first rounder, I guess. I bet most high rated prospects wouldn’t be high rated if they were all 30+ round picks…

3 – Jonathan Villar, SS, age 19 from the DR, obtained in the Roy Oswalt trade. He’s supposed to be All That, but let’s put it like this – his hitting makes Adam Everett look like Nomar 2002. He posted a .666 OPS at Lancaster over 129 AB. And the organization is unhappy with Tommy Manzella, who out hit this guy by FAR, yet they can’t wait to have Villar in the ML club? If all they want is a glove man, might as well just keep Manzella instead of paying 5+ mill for Clint Barmes. Where was I? Oh yeah. He’s stolen 62 bases with 17 CS over 174 games, but like, Carlos Lee stole lots of bases in the minors too. Don’t ask me why the prospect people are so high on this guy – oh yeah – he made 56 errors – that is FIFTY SIX errors over 130 games last year.

4 – Mike Foltynewicz, RHP, age 19, 1st round 2010 draft: threw 44 innings at rookie ball with meh stats – 4.03 ERA/1.37 WHIP. 9.3 H/9, 3 BB/9, 7.9 K/9. What’s the big deal? If he was the 35th round pick, would he be the 4th guy on this list?

A prospect evaluation guy once told me that seeing as how scouts thought these high round picks were good, they focus on them. All I can say is – Matt Bush/Max Sapp etcetcetc…

5 – Jiovanni Mier, SS, age 19,1st round 2009 .637 OPS in A ball – 34 errors over 129 games. So he is the #5 prospect exactly WHY? besides for some reason Ed Wade picking him in the first round instead of somebody good?

6 – JD (Julio Daniel) Martinez, RF: age 22, picked by the Astros 20th round 09 draft. Wellwellwell whaddaya know, someone who can, you know, like HIT. He posted a 1.031 OPS at Lexington, skipped Lancaster and went straight to AA where over 189 AB, he continued to hit for average, .306, but his power numbers dropped significantly and he posted only a .745 OPS. No idea what his range is, but at least he made only 6 errors. People Who Know don’t think he’d be any better than a 5th OF – but then again, they thought that Chris Johnson had absolutely no chance to hit ML pitching neither.

7 – Jimmy Paredes, 2B, age 21 – from the DR, obtained from the Yankees in the Berkman trade. The Organization thinks he’s the 2B of the future – over 541 AB at A-ball last year, between the Yankees and Astros, he posted a .731 OPS. Of course he doesn’t walk at all, but the Astros LIKE that, apparently. He made 31 errors over 105 games playing 2B. Whatever.

8 – Tanner Bushue, RHP, age 19, picked by the Astros in the 2nd round of the 09 draft. Threw 133 innings over 25 games with a 4.11 ERA/1.32 WHIP with a 8.69 H/9, 7.9 K/9 and 3.23 BB/9. sigh

9 – Austin Wates, CF, age 21, 3rd round pick in the 2010 draft. has 38 AB at low A, an 894 OPS and somehow, he’s being judged on that? OK, whatever.

10 – Ariel Ovando, OF. Purchased for 2 mill from the DR by the Astros last year. Hasn’t played even part of any inning in the minors. Guess he’s rated by the bonus paid – can’t tell you one thing except that he’s now a very rich kid.

Astros Top Prospects For 2010 And A Few Words About Jim Fregosi

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

Top Prospect Alert has beaten Baseball America to the punch and named the top 10 Astros Prospects and yes, I KNOW they really REALLY had to look long and hard to think of 10 of em. Just because you sign all the guys you draft doesn’t mean that the guys you drafted were all that. This year, especially, pretty much all guys signed almost immediately (and there were no guys who had to be paid more because of signability and no Boras prospects, like duh.) And, by the way, the Astros haven’t signed any more guys/year than in the previous 10 drafts…

#1 Jason Castro : We all know about The Next Big Thang, our 1st rounder in 08 – age 22, has now caught 158 games in the minors, finished the season at AA hitting .293/.362/.387/.747. He has shown doubles but not homer power and is not a particularly fast runner – the Biggios and even Towles are unusual for catchers. Pretty much everyone really thinks that Castro will be the starting catcher in 2010, and who knows, he may very well be, but I just hope the fans don’t turn on him when he doesn’t come up and immediately hit like Mike Piazza.

It is actually much more likely that he will start the year at AAA and if he does well, will probably not be called up before the Super 2 limit has passed so that the team can get an extra cheap year out of him before FA.

#2 Jordan Lyles  : The Astros supplemental 1st round pick in 08, will be 19 at the start of the 2010 season. He spent 2009 at A ball, started 26 games over 144.1 IP with a 3.25 ERA, 5 HR, 34 BB, 167 K. Not bad for A ball, but the guy is at LEAST 2 years away from the majors – he is NOT Rick Porcello, and the fact that he’s #2 on this list tells you what kind of shape this farm system is in. 

#3 Jiovanni Mier    : First Rounder in 09, now age 19. Just finished rookie ball (and yes, he’s the #3 guy on the list. Yeah, I know. Over 192 AB, he hit .276/.380/.484/.824, stole 10 bases and was caught 5 times. No reports about his glove, but his numbers aren’t particularly impressive and if he was the 30th round pick, he wouldn’t be 3rd on this list, would he?

#4 Jon Gaston: picked in the 7th round of the 08 draft, 23 yo RF, just finished the year at high A, where he was the league home run champion. in 518 PA over 139 games, he hit .278/.367/.598/.965 with 31 doubles, 15 triples, 35 HR, 71 BB, 164 K, 14 SB, 4 CS, 10 sac-fly and only 3 GIDP. (The boy best work on cutting down those Ks and upping those GIDPs.)

#5 Chris Johnson   4th round pick in the 06 draft, now age 25. Kind of young for an Astros prospect, but hey, they had to find SOMEbody. He repeated AAA this year after playing 30 lousy games there last year and did tolerably well over 104 games/384 PA, posting a .281/.323/.461/.784 line. He walked 21 times and struck out 90 AND he GIDP 16 times, too!!! No walks, plenty of DPs???!! The boy is a born Astro!!! All he has to do is jump around like Miggy with all that enthusiasm out there and the fans won’t even notice the difference, except for the 13.5 mill savings in salary.

Granted, the fans didn’t get to see real too much of the boy the month he was up here in the bigs because Drayton didn’t want the manager to play the youngsters because he thought, for some reason that escapes me, that we would prefer to watch Blum and Keppinger suck. He got 13 whole ABs over 4 games in 4 weeks and he learned some valuable things, watching the Old Guys “go about their business” and I’m sure he’s determined to do his best to help the Astros reach that goal of setting the NL GIDP record next year….

If Miggy agrees to re-sign for real cheap this year to play 3rd, Johnson had best do his darndest to be traded because the fans think that absolutely NOTHING matters except for BA and low strikeouts and “enthusiasm” out there on the field. Especially when they are screwing up fielding…

#6 Brian Bogusevic   : the Astros 1st rounder in the 05 draft who will be 26 (the guy who was a GOOD college hitter who the Organization decided to make into a pitcher and stuck to it for 3 hideous years before letting the poor guy do something he actually could DO.) After tearing the cover offn the ball in AA in 08, he produced more pedestrian numbers at AAA this year, and, unfortunately, not much power, which is not good for a corner OF. He has played some CF, but lacks the speed and glove to displace Bourn, to put it mildly.

Over 520 PA in 138 G, he hit .287/.342/.365/.707 with 53 BB and 118 K, 22 SB and 3 CS. I know he’s old for a prospect, but it is really only his second year as a position player. I doubt he’d start the year as the 4th OF/DR, which means either trade/release or another year at AAA to try to learn to hit for power. I’d actually prefer him to Michaels/Erstad, but then again, I’d rather watch eager young guys than crappy old “clubhouse guys.” And I sure as heck didn’t see those supposed “clubhouse guys” doing much of anything last year. But then again, maybe I’m wrong and without The Gritmeister doing his Thang, maybe things would have been worse. But then again, if things had been much worse, maybe Drayton would have gotten rid of Cooper a LOT sooner…

#7 Ross Seaton : 3rd round pick in the 08 draft, 20 year old RHP. 2009 was really his first year, as he only threw 4 innings in 08. He spent the year in A ball, started 24 games over 136.2 IP with a 3.29 ERA, 1.29 WHIP: 137 H, 50 ER/69 R (whoaaaaa, tells you a LOT about the crappy fielding) 11 HR, 39 BB, 88 K (which is 5.8K/9 IP, pretty low for A ball.)

He most definitely does not look like a guy who will even sniff the majors for a minimum of 3 years and I’m not real too particularly impressed with those numbers. As I’ve said before, only on the Astros where the guys have to pick SOMEbody…

#8 Tanner Bushue : 2nd round pick of 09 draft, 18 year old RHP who threw 22 innings at Rookie ball. And they were not hitless, walkless innings or all strikeouts or something which would make an 18 year old kid stand out in any way. 22 innings pitched in freaking ROOKIE ball – not AAA or something, and this kid is #8 on the Astros prospect list. I’m not making this stuff up. Maybe the guy will amount to something, who could POSSIBLY have any idea? After 22 innings????!!!!  I have NO idea and I don’t know how these prospect hounds made a decision like that after 22 freaking innings. Why do I think that he wouldn’t have made this list if he was the 40th round pick?

#9 Jay Austin : You’re not gonna believe this one neither. 2nd rounder in the 08 draft, age 19, CF. Just finished A ball, 397 AB over 101 games, hit .267/.320/.360/.680; 31 BB, 78 K, 23 SB, 13 CS; 1 HR, 22 doubles, 6 triples.

This guy is on the list WHY??? What the ****???? He beats out Koby Clemens, like WHY???? Not that Koby Clemens is exactly Teh Good, but still, Jay Austin???

#10 Jose Altuve : (will be) 22 yo Venezuelan second baseman who split the year between the rookie league and low A. He had a .916 OPS over 179 AB at the rookie level, but hit .250/.337/.316/.635 over 79 AB at low A.


I have NO idea why this prospect site picked the guys they did, unless they just decided to pick the #1 and 2 rounders for the past few years. However, I would like to know why Chia-Jen Lo, Koby Clemens and TJ Steele didn’t make this list. Just to name a few guys who were no question better than Tanner Bushue and Jay Austin.

I suppose I should say a lil something about the picking of a new manager.

I read that Ed Wade is pushing for 67 year old Jim Fregosi, who hasn’t managed in 9 YEARS and was a complete and total failure in has last 2 years (last job) as Blue Jays manager. He got less than zero from a decent pitching staff and basically nothing from his hitters either. He also refused to play young guys. Yes, I know that Fregosi led the 93 Phils to the WS and lost because he foolishly insisted in sticking with his shaky closer.

I’m sorry, but Fregosi is just TOO freaking old to be a ML manager, ESPECIALLY when you haven’t managed in 9 YEARS.

Remember the last 3 years of Felipe Alou managing the Giants? He was just too old, even for a 100% veteran team.

As for Manny Acta, yeah, I know he was in the Astros Organization for a long time and would be JUST the kind of yes-man Drayton likes, but Manny couldn’t manage to get anything from ANY of the Nats players and he sure as heck couldn’t stand up to ANYONE. He would have been the perfect guy to hire in the Baggy/Biggio years because he would have just left everything to those 2, who thought they should be running everything anyway and disrespected and undermined every manager the Astros had – maybe even Art Howe, who knows.

I simply don’t see ANYTHING to recommend Acta as a ML manager and this is NOT because he was given a terrible team to manage. It is because he clearly didn’t motivate his players at ALL and he was not any sort of leader.

I hear tell that the players want to keep Dave Clark – and if those players include Lee, Berkman and Oswalt, well, that is 90% of the battle right THERE because it is more important for a manager to get players to play hard and do their best than anything else. And after Cooper, a guy who the players CLEARLY didn’t respect of play for, it would be a most welcome change.