2011 Top Astros Prospects According To Baseball America

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.

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49 Responses to “2011 Top Astros Prospects According To Baseball America”

  1. Bruce says:

    I hope we get “toe tappin” Sammy back, rather than last year’s “Statue of Liberty” variety.

  2. Elmer W. says:

    Happy new year Lisa. The rating list you just posted apparently doesn’t make any sense. I would say don’t expect too much from those top 10 since our farm had been empty and Wade & Co simply filled it up, that’s it…

    Besides, if they really want get rid of Keppinger, then I would love to see him as SS in Cubs uniform, that would be a joy to watch.

  3. Lisa Gray says:

    bruce

    yeah, i took an instant liking to toe tappin sammy – and i really hope he’s back

    elmer,

    yeah, they really REALLY want to get rid of keppinger – gonna be tough to do for a while, now…

  4. Becky says:

    I wonder how much Tal Smith is gonna nickle and dime Wandy, this week.
    If I’m Wandy, I’m looking for a 3yr. $21 mill. deal. He deserves it, but we know
    how Tal Smith HATES to hand over the money. Smith OWNS the company
    that deals with arbitration. I hear the Yankees are lookin for a good lefty!!! :) :) :) :)

  5. sceptor says:

    Hi Becky

    With what some of these pitchers are getting, i really believe Wandy should get a 3 year contract worth $30 mil, but i know that will never happen with the Stros.

  6. Lisa Gray says:

    becky and sceptor,

    either tal smith is indeed going to nickle and dime wandy, or they are gonna give him a 2-3 year contract – but either way, i bet almost fer SHER he is gonna be traded. drayton wants that payroll cut and just forget getting rid of the ol WB.

    both you yall been around a LOT longer than i have and i guess this is like going back to the 70s when the team looked absolutegonna doly hopeless with nothing in the pipeline.

    and of course, a lot of my worry is that we have NO idea what the new owner(s) gonna do. there are more than a few owners who have no interest whatsoever in winning, but are happy to be paid zillions to be the washington generals…

  7. sceptor says:

    Lisa

    You are really beginning to depress me. This is not the way i was hoping this season would start out like. It appears over before it ever gets started. I guess i’m going to have to be happy if just some of the games will be enjoyable enough to watch and hope that most of the youngsters will do fairly well.

  8. Billy says:

    The entire Franchise has developed a severe allergic reaction to getting on base.

  9. Becky says:

    Lisa……I’m starting to agree with you about Ed Wade trying to trade Wandy.
    I think Ed’s gonna package a deal, with Wandy, Bourn AND Pence. I’ll be
    really surprised if we see all THREE of them on opening day.:( :( :(
    Bourn is problematic, he simply can NOT hit left handed pitchers. Than alone
    makes him an over priced younger version of Willy T. Pence, however has a BIG
    upside. He’s a very good defender, and is on track to hit at LEAST 25-30 HR’S.
    Wandy, is a pitcher who has had his last chance at putting together a 17-20
    win year. He IS worth a three yr. contract, but Drayton and Tal ain’t gonna give
    out multi year deals to ANYONE, since the team is for sale. That, my friends
    you can “take to the bank”. Becky:( :( :( :( :( :(

  10. zagger says:

    Becky: If 3 of our big performers (at their respective positions) are dealt away, does this not de-value the Astros as a potentially sellable team. Sort of like crunching the fender of one’s car on the way to the trade-in? It won’t be worth as much now.

  11. Becky says:

    zagger…..no, it won’t. Ed Wade has been told to do whatever possible, to
    unload any inflated fat from this team. Remember, Bourgeois can play center
    and is still “cheap”. As for right field, they have Bogusevic. Not a very pretty picture is it! Drayton McLane want A L L of his money, PLUS some. He will NOT
    give big raises to any of this group, they are ALL EXPENDABLE! Hide and watch,
    there will be very harsh words, made from the Wandy camp, when he asks for
    a multi year deal. Becky:(

  12. sceptor says:

    Becky, Becky

    How can you refer to Bourn, Wandy, and Pence as inflated fat, i really don’t think you meant to say that in those terms; now Gardo Carlos Lee is truly inflated fat and i mean INFLATED. LOL.

    I do agree thou with Zagger that in getting rid your top 3 players( and fan favorites) without replacing them with equal valve or more you would be de-valuing the Astros.

  13. sceptor says:

    I would also like to point out that if you are going to completetly thrash your team to a point that it can’t compete are draw fans and will finish so far down in the bottom, won’t that turn off potential buyers or at least de-valve the team to a point that Drayton won’t be able to get near as much or close to what he is asking for.

    I still say it takes money to make money.

  14. Becky says:

    It DOES take money to make money……but lest we see, Drayton and Tal Smith
    will N O T give a multi year deal to ANY of these guys. You know it, and so do I.
    A new owner wants to put HIS “stamp” on a new team. Getting stranded with
    three or for multi year deals, is not very appealing. I thought this might get you
    guys thinking, but let’s be real here. Wandy wants (and deserves) a three year
    contract. PERIOD. Pence and Bourn are going to “price” themselves out of
    the money the Astros want to pay. NIETHER one of them is irreplaceable.
    Tal Smith will lead the charge into this next week of arbitration, and look for
    all THREE of them to get the “short end” of the stick. Look, I love these guys!
    I eat, sleep, and drink my Astros, but I’m also a realist. If it comes down to
    paying an increase of more than $5 million for Pence and Bourn…….look for
    a fight. Wandy SHOULD be given a vote of confidence, he’s been here longer
    than ANY other starting pitcher, and HE’S a lefty! A pretty good one at that!
    Business is business…..ie. Berkman, and Oswalt. Becky:) :) :) :) :)

    As for trimming the “fat”……I had to laugh about your comment about Carlos Lee!

  15. sceptor says:

    Becky

    You are probably right for the most part, but if the Astros try and short change Pence, Wandy, and Bourn to much, then arbitration might just go against the Astros for a change if the guys don’t get to greedy in their demands.

  16. Darin says:

    Handing out multi-year deals to Pence, Wandy or Bourn isn’t going to handicap a new owner. Mainly because if the Astros did sign any of these guys it wouldn’t be for 7 years and a $100M contract with no trade clauses.

    I may be wrong on this, but this is Wandy’s last year under team control, where Pence and Bourn are still under Astros control through 2012. This team is not built for the near term, or really the future either.

    If Wandy is not signed to a multi year contract, then the Astros have three options, all of which make sense:
    1. Play the season out and offer Wandy arbitration, which he will reject, cut off negotations, and Astros will net 2 high draft picks in the 2012 draft.
    2. Play the season out and offer Wandy arbitration, and negotiate a new multi year contract based on his 2011 performance.
    3. Trade Wandy midseason and hopefully field a nice bounty, i.e. two or three of someone’s top 10 prospects.

    Since this team really isn’t set up to compete in 2011 or 2012, it doesn’t make sense locking up guys you control through these seasons anyways.

  17. Becky says:

    Ed Wade WILL trade Wandy, it doesn’t matter what his 2011 season is like.
    Wandy would have “priced” himself out of the Astros budget. Pence and Bourn
    were discussed in the winter meetings, as “throw in’s” with Wandy. They both
    can, and probably WILL be replaced. J.D. Martinez is waiting in the wings, and
    he is very good. With a GM like Wade and leaches like Tal Smith, we can expect
    more of the same. NOTHING. Wade has signed so many guys from the Phillies,
    our farm system is starting to look like the Phillies cast offs. I don’t in-vision
    multi year deals for ANYONE this year, or next. I hope Drayton can sell the
    club, before the ASB, maybe the new owner will get the Astros going in the right direction. MAYBE!!! Becky:) :) :)

  18. Darin says:

    What?

    JD Martinez has arthritic knees and doesn’t project to hit for a lot of power. Best case, and I’m stressing best case here, he’ll end up in LF full time in 2013 after Carlos Lee’s contract is up or hits enough in AA/AAA this year to be trade fodder at the all star break, such as a “throw in” with Wandy.

    Hunter Pence, while not a star wouldn’t be a “throw in” on any deal and after doing some checking he’s under team control through 2013. Which means he’s cheap and the team isn’t tied down long term to him. That in itself means it’s very unlikely he’s going anywhere this season (or even next). However, if he is traded, he’d likely net a sizable return on his own and wouldn’t require to be coupled with Wandy, unless the Astros were trying to bring back massive prospects in return, which is rare these days.

    Now back to Wandy. Why sign a guy like Wandy to a 3 year contract, if you are the Astros. Unless the new owner comes in and ups payroll to $120M the Astros have no chance to compete until probably 2013, most likely 2014. Even if the payroll went up $40M+, that’s probably still not enough to fix the mess they are in. Wandy will be 32 in about a week. Do you really want to see what he’s doing as an Astro at 35 or 36? I don’t. Will Wandy be the difference over the course of a 3 or 4 year deal between the Astros being playoff bound or staying home in October. Probably not. So why invest in a 3 or 4 year deal at $9M+ per for pitcher when your team isn’t built to compete over the course of the contract? So that leaves you with them trading him, which should help the team rebuild quicker than if they offer arb. and take the 2 draft picks.

    Also, outside of Villar, how many ex-Philly prospects do the Astros have in the minors?

  19. Darin says:

    I don’t get Ms. Gray’s negative attitude towards Manuel’s list or why she gave no indication on how she would rank the Astros’ prospects. All in all, I’d have to say it’s a fair list, based on the fact Manuel doesn’t have much to work with. I guess every team has a top prospect, and every team has a 10th rated prospect, just the most of the Astros’ top prospects probably wouldn’t be other teams’ top prospects.

    So I guess, what I’m trying to say, if not Paredes, Wates or Ovando, then who? These guys aren’t being judged on their minor league numbers, but on their projected best case development based mainly on scouting reports.

    That said, I don’t pretend to be a scout or have access to any, so I really don’t have a disagreement with the list. I always look forward to BA’s (and other publications) lists of top prospects because I assume they know more than me.

  20. Steve says:

    Did y’all see blog entry by Zachary Levine? For those complaining about all those trades with the Phillies, it seems like Wade is doing okay:

    With Phillies
    Lidge +0.6
    Bruntlett -2.1
    Oswalt +2.8
    Total +1.3 WAR
    (Salary paid: Approximately $34 million)

    With Astros
    Bourn +4.8
    Geary +0.7
    Happ +1.0
    Wallace -0.1
    Total +6.4 WAR
    (Salary paid: Approximately $9 million)

  21. Christian says:

    Scouting reports, Lisa. Baseball America doesn’t grade based on the numbers (much). They go by what scouts tell them. And they talk to a LOT of scouts.

    Just as a “for instance”: The reason Mike Foltynewicz is highly rated (most people have him just outside the top 100 prospects in baseball) is because he has a mid-90s fastball with a lot of movement and shows strong potential to have a “plus” curveball and changeup as well.

    Similar reasoning for guys like Jonathan Villar, etc. Villar apparently has incredible tools; from what I’ve heard he’s a plus-plus defensive shortstop and scouts also think he has the tools to be a good hitter in the future.

    Pretty much the same thing as you go down the list. The only guy who is probably just on the list BECAUSE of his numbers is J.D. Martinez. Nobody would notice him too much if he wasn’t producing results, because he apparently doesn’t have the range to play anything but left field, and scouts don’t think he has much power potential.

  22. Lisa Gray says:

    billy,

    this Organization has no respect for players who walk. i mean, you’d think that by now they would have heard SOME arguments in favor of strike zone judgement and not swinging at crap oput of the zone.

    zagger + becky + sceptor,

    you would think that having no good players or marketable stars would make buyers less interested. but some just want the low payroll and have basically no interest in doing anything except collecting revenue sharing. owning a ML franchise, no matter HOW bad, is very lucrative.
    i hear tell that there are more than a few groups who want to buy the astros, but certainly NOT at drayton’s absurd price.

  23. Lisa Gray says:

    darin and christian,

    i know that lots of BA is based on scouts’ reports and naturally, they are more impressed with higher rated prospects because they are the ones who rated them in the first place. also younger guys.

    however, i sure nuff like to see some evidence to support an opinion. if you tell me player X is a superb glove man, but he has 40 errors in 100 games/500 chances, well, i am gonna be a little suspiscious and would at least like to have other numbers to gainsay that

    if you tell me that player X isn’t gonna hit for power, but he’s slugging over .500 (not at lancaster/las vegas) and has advanced 2 levels farther than projected, well, i am thinking that re-evaluation is necessary

    and if you tell me that player Z has a 99 MPH FB and a plus curve, but he gives up over 11 hits/9 in the low minors, strikes out fewer than 1/inning, walks more than 3/9 IP, i am gonna wonder exactly why the assessment was as positive as it is

    i don’t believe in “best case development” neither, tell you the truth. it is all – if pigs could fly – stuff to me. i think that people should be evaluated on what they have actually DONE, not what they might could do if dreams really DID come true

    - so IF i ranked prospects, i would ignore their actual age, look at how fast they have advanced, see how well they actually DID perform. i wouldn’t rank any 16 year old from the dominican no matter WHAT he did there. which is different from, say, some guy from the japanese league (yeah i know, not a prospect) or cuba/mexican league, etc
    IF i had scouting, i would be interested in fielding reports regarding range and their break to the ball.

    i didn’t know that martinez had arthritic knees already – he’s not long for OB if that’s true. or he’ll be a DH

  24. Darin says:

    Lisa,

    1st, multiple scouts (not just Astros) have compared Ovando to Darryl Strawberry and Carlos Delgado. Those kind of comps aren’t something people just throw around. Go to youtube and search Arial Ovando and I bet you’ll like what you see.

    2nd, especially with pitchers, the minors is a teaching/training tool for young players, not unlike spring training at times. Which means some pitchers may go out and only throw 1 pitch for an entire game if that’s what they need to work on. Doing that may skew their numbers. I promise you, if a guy is hitting 99 mph on a radar gun, he’ll get noticed by scouts and publications. You can teach a guy how to pitch, but you can’t teach a 99 mph fastball.

    That plays alot with other tools. While you might be able to increase speed through training/exercise/stretching ect, you really can’t teach a guy how to run fast or throw hard.

    All of this is why stats aren’t as important as skill set.

  25. sceptor says:

    Lisa

    If all what you say is correct, and we get a crappy new owner that doesen’t care about winning and is only looking to be a ML owner and the Dollars he hopes to make then be prepared to be a fan of a very crummy team for many years to come with no hope in the future
    I for one will not accept that scenario and will definitely move on. I also hope they do trade Bourn, Pence, and Wandy as i would hate to see them rot here for too many years without ever getting a chance to play for a real contender .

  26. Becky says:

    Darin….where did you read that J.D. Martinez has a knee problem??
    Can you leave the link to that story? I’d be very interested in reading
    about that. I’ve not heard or seen anything about a problem with him at all!
    Facts please?! Thanks! Becky:) :) :) :)

  27. Becky says:

    Sceptor……..Wandy has a new agent, and I don’t think he’s gonna be
    “greedy”, nor do I think Pence and Bourn are. They need to be compensated
    for a very good season for the last two years! Bourn has TWO gold gloves,
    and Pence had a stellar second half. I’m not going to go over everything
    that goes on in an arbritation session, but these guys see other teams
    giving a raise to their players, and a LOT of them didn’t play as well as
    these three did. We will see, but I know how Tal Smith works. Becky:) :) :) :)

  28. Christian says:

    I think what you’ll hear scouts say about a guy like J.D. Martinez is that the reason he hit for so much power is likely that he was a more experienced hitter facing much younger competition in single A ball. They’ll tell you that guys who are just playing above their level often display more power because the pitchers’ location isn’t as good and they can just it fly a lot more easily.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s possible his power could translate to the higher levels, but so far the scouts have been right, he didn’t show much power when he first went to double A ball.

  29. Darin says:

    Becky,

    I apologize, it’s chronic tendinitis that JD and not arthritis that he has in his knees. Web articles can be easily found by using google.

  30. Steve says:

    Take a look at the chart of relative farm system value across the 30 teams:
    http://redsminorleagues.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/sickelsfarmrankings4.gif

  31. Becky says:

    Steve…..now THAT’S a pretty ugly picture:( :(
    Who puts this crap together????????? GEEZ!!

  32. Lisa Gray says:

    darin,

    i’ve heard all kinds of young players compared to someone famous and basically, it’s all well and good until they actually face some competition. i would bet that i’ve heard 2 dozen guys compared to strawberry and not a one of em ever turned out anything like him.
    i know that if a guy throws 99, everyone oooohs and aaaaaahs, but i remember the colt griffins and the matt andersons all too well.
    skill set is nice, but i want to see how it is used.
    and i most certainly DID try to find any info about JD martinez having knee arthritis and came up with nothing – seeing as how he doesn’t have it…

    christian,

    those self same scouts didn’t think that chris johnson could develop any power and wouldn’t succeed above AA at best. so we’ll hafta see. if he is clank-like with the glove, then he won’t be up here for at least 2 years, seeing as how bogusevic can at least field well

  33. Lisa Gray says:

    steve

    i think sickels is dead right. unfortunately.

  34. Darin says:

    *sigh

    Lisa,

    Here, see paragraph 5.

    http://blogs.chron.com/unofficialscorer/2010/06/gone_farmin_whats_next_for_slu.html

    Also see here, Prospect #8

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/top-10-prospects-the-houston-astros/

    So, mixed reports. Is it tendinitis or is it arthritis? That I don’t know, but it’s not like I was making it up. This is common knowledge that anyone following Astros prospects already knows.

    Now, you’ve heard 2 dozen guys compared to Daryl Strawberry when they were 16? That’s crazy, and probably a huge exaggeration on your part and would love for you to name 3 guys you’ve heard in published reports had the chance to be Strawberry. I say this, because in scouts terms Strawberry was special. He was THE prototypical 5 tool player. He could hit, hit for power, field, throw and run. Strawberry was special and his tools were off the charts. Professional scouts know this and don’t just throw his name around.

    The problem here is, yes lots of kids are hyped in the minors based on tools and don’t even make it to the big leagues. Then there are guys that completely rake in the minors and fall flat in the big leagues. There’s a guy that hit.316/.407/.608 with 38 HRs and 124 RBIs in AA back in the day. These are numbers that dwarf anything JD Martinez has done. This guy also could field, throw and run the bases. So based on your calculations, he should be an all-star. But alas, his name is Jason Lane and he hasn’t taken a big league swing in 3 years. So it works both ways. Even if a guy rakes in the minors, it doesn’t mean he’s a legit prospect. So forgive me, if I tend to side with professional scouts and writers than a blogger.

  35. zagger says:

    Sickels indicates Astros have one B+ pitcher and one B- pitcher. Two questions: Is that over the entire farm system…every team? And, who are they?

    Great discussion. Thanks to all.

  36. Darin says:

    Zagger,

    I’d assume:
    B+ = Lyles
    B- = Folty

    And yes, that is the rankings of each team’s entire minor league system.

  37. Lisa Gray says:

    cmon darin,

    i didn’t just fall offn no turnip truck. i know who darryl strawberry was/is. i know all about the life and times of jason lane – the astros wasted him – left him in the minors way too long, left him on the bench way too long – and he was overcooked by the time he got any sort of chance – and even then, for some reason, he failed.

    i know that scouts see all kinds of people who have all kinds of tools. i know that some people throw harder, run faster, move more quickly. i know that unfortunately, few develop strike zone judgement. i know that guys can’t be taught to run faster.

    but a lot of the scouts’ talk, in my opinion, is what they think a player COULD turn into, based on tools. best case scenario. you and i know we could both go back through years of the top 2 draft rounds and find plenty of guys who were the next “darryl strawberry” or “the next tom seaver” who went nowhere, even though they weren’t injured. we can also find plenty of guys who were 20 and in ten years and the chance to be 30, but turned into mike piazza.

    i don’t pretend that i have more/better info than the scouts do on any player. i’m not that arrogant. i just want to see evidence of tools being used well.

  38. Bruce says:

    OK, here is my prediction for 2011.

    National League MVP = Lance Berkman

  39. Becky says:

    Lisa…….if I ever get to meet you, I’m buying dinner!! :) :) :) :) :) :)

  40. zagger says:

    “Lisa…….if I ever get to meet you, I’m buying dinner!!”

    Hey Sistahs! Don’t leave me out. I’ll buy both your dinners with pleasure!

    And, I’ll bring the talking stick. lolol

  41. Lisa Gray says:

    bruce,

    i’d love it. but it sure would hurt

    becky and zagger,

    luuuuuvvvv youse grrrrrls!!!!!!

  42. Bruce says:

    From Rotoworld:

    “Lance Berkman has lost 20 pounds this offseason.

    He also says he’s getting in the best shape of his life and has reduced his body fat from 19.5 percent to 12 percent. Normally, this is the type of story to ignore, but Berkman is a special case because St. Louis has him penciled in as an everyday right fielder next season. The veteran hasn’t played the outfield since 2007 and hasn’t been a regular outfielder since 2004. “If I have a repeat of last year I’m probably out of the game,” Berkman says. “While that doesn’t really bother me, I feel like God has given me a gift to play the game, and I want to take full advantage of that. I don’t want to see it end because I’m not in the best possible shape. If my skills have eroded, fine. That happens to everybody. But I don’t want it to be because I didn’t put in the best possible effort forth to be in great shape.”

  43. Bruce says:

    If I was a gamblin’ man, I’d be taking some TLR fliers next time I was in Vegas.

  44. sceptor says:

    Why didn’t berkman do that with the astros?

  45. Becky says:

    sceptor……because he became complacent, and thought his career in Houston
    was signed, sealed and delivered. When Ed Wade said “no thanks, we’re moving
    on” Lance was shocked. Now that his first base job is taken by a rookie, and
    the only place for him in St. Louis is in left field, he HAD to lose the weight.
    I’m gonna miss that guy like crazy, and I hope he hits a home run EVERY time
    he faces Astros pitching, just to watch Ed Wade squirm in his seat!! Becky :) :) :)

  46. Christian says:

    I don’t by any means think Chris Johnson has proven he’s for real yet; but actually, some scouts did like CJ a lot. It was more a situation where there were conflicting points of view about him.

  47. Lisa Gray says:

    until last year, berkman’s size was fine for playing 1B and doing well – he actually was fine until he injured his calf in 09 and Cooper kept sending him out there. he SHOULD have slimmed down a bit last year to take some weight off his knees. but he HAD to really do something different to play the OF – which shouldn’t be so hard on his knees.

    and yeah, i think he WAS complacent, especially with mclane telling him and oswalt about how they would be astros lifers like biggio and bagwell. sometimes people need a wakeup call

  48. Lisa Gray says:

    christian,

    well, SOME scouts had to like CJ – he was taken in the 4th round. but the astros player development people, i hear tell, didn’t think real too much of him. i mean, ed wade was convinced that he had to go pay the corpse of pedro feliz 5 mill last year because CJ wasn’t for real

    and who knows if he’s for real? he is a little too swing happy, and he’ll have some serious adjustments to make this year. i’m rooting for the guy. astros minor leaguers haven’t done real too well, or been given much of any chance to prove themselves – at least since pence came up

  49. Bruce says:

    Rasmus – Pujols – Holliday – Berkman

    Wainwright – Carpenter – Westbrook – Garcia