The Houston Astros have been playing much better this spring compared to years past. They currently have a record of 9-8 and are two wins shy of their total last year playing in 18 less games.
Now rarely does a great spring training record correlate to a good regular season, but it is good to see the team producing some positive results. They have a number of young players who have stepped up and are making some noise.
Unfortunately, the farm system has been awful, and some of the players on this list have played with the major league club at one time or another. Here are the top 10 players who are turning heads.
Most Astros fans know who J.D. Martinez is, but the rest of the MLB community may not. Martinez was called up straight from Double A after the Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn trades and played pretty well.
This spring he has been tattooing the ball, hitting .393, with one home run and 12 RBI in 28 at-bats. He is in line to have a breakout year this year.
J.B. Shuck is another player Astros fans will remember from last year, but he really played well this spring. His versatility to play all three outfield spots and his ability to get on base at a high rate was probably one of the reasons that Jason Bourgeois was traded last week.
George Springer unfortunately was part of the Astros first round of cuts, but he left an impression on the team in his short time with them. He had a game-winning RBI double against the Yankees last week and finished the spring with three hits in eight at-bats.
The first-round pick from 2011 will probably have a full year down in the minor league system and be competing for a spot on the Astros roster next year.
With Carlos Lee taking over full time at first base, Brett Wallace will be making a move back to his original position, third base. He is competing for the starting spot with the next prospect and has made the transition pretty well this spring.
Last year Wallace had a strong spring, then struggled when the games started to matter. Once again this spring he is playing well, and it will be interesting to see if everything will click for Brett Wallace this year.
Every year fans hope this is the year for Chris Johnson, and this year he faces real competition for the starting job at the hot corner. This is what he may have needed because he is having one of his best springs in his career.
He has 11 hits in 30 at-bats but that doesn't tell the whole story as seven of those 11 hits are of the extra base hit variety. I don't see anyone winning the job full time, and see a platoon forming between Chris Johnson and Brett Wallace.
Like George Springer, Paul Clemens was recently cut as the Astros trim down their roster, but he did enough to make a statement this spring.
In five innings pitched, he struck out six and gave up only two hits. He also converted his only save opportunity. Clemens is much closer to the big leagues than Springer, and depending on how the season plays out, Clemens could get some time at the major league level.
Jonathan Singleton was sent down to the minor league camp at the same time as Paul Clemens, but the 20-year-old definitely impressed some people.
He had the chance to play in nine games, collecting four hits in 10 at-bats. He will most likely end up at the Double A level this season. He was ranked by Baseball America as the 34th-best prospect in the minor league system and hopefully is on track to be a future star for the Astros.
Before the start of spring training, some fans may have forgotten about Jason Castro. Mainly because he didn't play much at all last year before blowing out his knee in spring training. Well, he is back this year and may have the most impressive performance so far.
His defensive ability was never an issue, and it doesn't look like it will be. His critics seemed to question his ability at the plate. While it is a small sample size and it is Spring Training, Castro has looked much more comfortable at the plate.
Through nine games he is hitting .364 with four RBI however his plate discipline is still a work in progress. In his 22 at-bats, he only has two walks but six strikeouts.