A look into the future of the Houston Astros organization.
A fan favorite, with his violent swing and goofy-looking mannerism, Pence broke into the league in 2007 as a wide-eyed rookie and never looked back, finishing the year with a .322 average to go along with 69 RBI and 27 HRs. He finished second to Ryan Braun in the Rookie of the Year voting.
Recently hitting less for average and more for power, the addition of Jeff Bagwell as hitting coach should only help Pence. At the ripe young age of 27, Pence should continue to shine in a lineup lacking real star power.
No shocker here.
The Houston native-speedster was the lone Astro taking part in this year's Midsummer Classic in Anaheim.
Obtained in a trade sending Brad Lidge to Philly, Bourn has been near the top of the stolen base leader boards ever since. After a shaky first year at the plate, Bourn worked hard on his hitting in the offseason and it showed, as he was named the team's MVP by then-manager, Cecil Cooper.
His tremendous speed is not only apparent on the basepaths, but in the outfield as well, as he should be a Gold Glove candidate for years to come.
The Astros' second-round pick in 2008, currently playing in High A, is a very intriguing prospect.
A player in a Michael Bourn-like mold, Austin is just as speedy, while hitting for more power. But his inability to hit for average is a problem to go along with being pop-up prone.
He needs to get the ball on the ground more often to utilize his speed. A very raw player right now, look for Austin to be a streaky player in left field.
The former fourth-round pick was recently called up from Round Rock to be the everyday third basemen, as a result of Pedro Feliz's poor showing at the plate.
Johnson is already off to a hot start, hitting .343 with four HRs. Don't expect him to win a batting title, but it wouldn't be astounding if he were to hit .300 with 15-20 HRs each year.
Despite young Tommy Manzella beginning the year as the Astros shortstop, expect the first-round draft pick Mier to push him aside for the job.
Mier is one of the best defensive shortstops in the minor leagues, with outstanding footwork and a strong arm. He will likely win a Gold Glove at the Major League-level.
Mier is still a work in progress at the plate. He is currently a .223 hitter in the minors with below-average power, but is mechanically sound at the plate. With his quick hands and a bit more development, Mier may hit around .300.
Delino DeShields, Jr.:
The eighth overall pick in the 2010 Draft, DeShields is a converted outfielder, as he will play second base for the Astros.
One of the fastest players out there, DeShields is smart on the basepaths and should wreak havoc. Despite his small frame, he is a very consistent hitter, but his power will only allow him to hit for about 10 HRs a year.
A young player at the age of 17, he should have time to develop in the minors to become a perennial All-Star in the MLB.
The former Arizona State standout has been involved in trades with Matt Holliday, Roy Halladay, and Roy Oswalt—not a bad bunch.
After the Yankees acquired Lance Berkman in a trade, Wallace became the heir apparent at first base. A solid hitter with sound mechanics, he should be able to hit around .300 with 20-30 HRs.
The 10th overall pick in the 2008 Draft, Castro has put up good numbers in the minors, hitting a memorable home run in the Futures Game.
The recent call-up is spectacular behind the plate, with good footwork and a plus arm. Castro gives Houston a much-needed bat, as he is a high-contact hitter with average power.
Jordan Lyles: The gem of the Astros' minor league system. Has a mid-90s fastball, a hard breaking two-seamer, an above-average curveball, and an average changeup. Lyles throws each pitch with pinpoint accuracy as a result of nearly flawless mechanics.
J.A. Happ: Acquired in the trade for Roy Oswalt, Happ has big shoes to fill. A finesse pitcher, Happ creates plenty of deception and movement with each of his pitches. He has a mid-90s fastball with plenty of movement, a changeup, and a sharp breaking slider. While he is not overpowering, he uses each of his pitches to his advantage to keep hitters off balance.
Ross Seaton: A young, tall, but very raw pitcher. Has an above-average fastball with a lot of movement, a slurve, and a rarely thrown changeup. Not a very mechanically sound pitcher, but seems to find the strike zone.
Chia-Jen Lo: The first Taiwanese player in Astros' history. Is a starter in AA, but is likely projected as a closer because of his tendency to wear down toward the end of games. Has a low to mid 90s fastball, an average 70s curveball, and a good splitter.
Mark Melancon: Acquired in the trade for Lance Berkman, should be a solid reliever out of the 'pen. Sports a high-90s fastball to go along with a devastating 12-6 curveball and an average changeup.