Jose Altuve during the 2011 Futures Game
The 2011 MLB All-Star Game has wrapped up in favor of the National League. Therefore, one of 16 National League teams will be rewarded with home-field advantage during the upcoming World Series.
The Houston Astros will not be one of these 16 teams—this year anyways. However, do not despair. There is still plenty to applaud.
There is Hunter Pence's run in the aforementioned All-Star Game. He also showed off some arm in gunning down Jose Bautista at the plate.
There are also some minor league players who have been performing well this season and have earned the right to be named to the 2011 mid-season Houston Astros Minor League All-Star Team.
This is not a top prospect list. The players at each position are not necessarily Houston's best prospect at their position.
Chris Wallace has spent the majority of the 2011 season—his first full season—with the Lexington Legends in A ball. He was recently called up to AA Corpus Christi, accumulating 50 at-bats there.
Thus far this season, he has hit .284 with a .358 on-base percentage and .538 slugging percentage. He's bashed 17 home runs and an additional 20 extra-base-hits.
Wallace has an impressive XBH% (extra-base-hit percentage—defined as the number of extra-base hits divided by the overall number of hits) of 44.5.
The one lackluster statistic of Wallace's involves his plate discipline. His BB:K ratio is 1:3, it would be ideal to see a ratio under 1:2.
However, this is Wallace's first full season as a professional, and he should become more patient with more experience. He has otherwise been terrific, showing very good power.
Kody Hinze will be 24 by the end of July, but he spent the first half of the season tearing up high A Lancaster. He batted .311 with a .445 OBP and a .606 slugging percentage.
Hinze has blasted 23 home runs and 20 doubles, with a XBH% of 45.7. Hinze has a BB:K ratio close to 1:1; he has walked only five less times then he has struck out.
Kody was recently called up to AA Corpus Christi, where he'll face his largest test. It is there where it will be determined if he is a serious prospect for the Astros—since even Jon Gaston can mash a bunch of home runs in Lancaster and the California League.
Jose Altuve at the 2011 Futures Game
Jose Altuve has had the best season of any Astros prospect thus far. He has split his time between high A Lancaster and AA Corpus Christi.
In 352 at-bats, Altuve has put up a triple-slash-line (AVG/OBP/SLG) of .389/.427/.585. He's also hit nine home runs with 41 total XBHs.
He does not seem to strike out or walk too often, as he has 26 walks and 40 strikeouts on the season. Jose Altuve has some speed and is a capable base-runner. He's stolen 24 bases in 38 attempts.
On a prospecting level, Baseball America has cited Altuve's greatest attribute to be his defense...and he is mashing like this at the AA level at the age of 21...very exciting prospect.
Yes, Paredes is listed as a second baseman and yes, he profiles best as a second baseman in the majors. However, there are not any worthy third basemen and Paredes has been playing third since Altuve was called up to Corpus Christi.
Paredes was considered to be very raw entering the 2011 season, and his placement in AA was thought by some to be a stretch. Paredes has taken to it well ,though.
He has batted .283 thus far with a .317 on-base percentage and .432 slugging percentage. Paredes has shown some pop, hitting eight home runs.
He has a decent XBH% of 31.4. Paredes' rawness shows up in his BB:K ratio, a very poor 1:4 (15 BBs to 69 Ks). Paredes has very good speed and has 26 stolen bases in 35 attempts.
Wikoff is the third consecutive Corpus Christi infielder to be named an Astros Minor League All-Star. Like the previous two, he is also listed as a second baseman. However, Wikoff has been used as a utility player and has seen as much time at shortstop as he has at second base.
Houston does have two highly touted shortstop prospects in Jiovanni Mier and Jonathan Villar, but both have had disappointing seasons thus far.
Despite only receiving 185 at-bats, Wikoff has hit .341 with a .417 on-base percentage and .378 slugging percentage. He's hit only one home run and has only five extra-base-hits total.
He does however, have a very impressive BB:K ratio which is above 1:1. He has actually walked seven more times than he has struck out.
As Altuve continues to surge through Houston's organization, Wikoff should see increased playing time (Altuve will be moving on from AA soon, alleviating the logjam at second base in Corpus Christi).
J.D. Martinez broke out in 2010. In 2011 he reported to AA Corpus Christi and has continued to put up outstanding offensive numbers. He has hit .332 with a .412 on-base percentage and .511 slugging percentage.
He has hit nine home runs and 28 total extra-base-hits, which is good for an acceptable XBH% of 32.2. Martinez also shows good plate discipline, sporting a BB:K ratio very close to 1:1.
Austin Wates is currently engaged in his first full season as a pro, playing in high A Lancaster. He has put up a triple-slash-line of .314/.369/.427 thus far. He has hit five home runs and only 25 of his 111 hits have gone for extra bases.
His BB:K ratio is a hair shy of 1:2, which is all right, seeing it is his first full season. Wates has stolen 15 bases in 21 attempts.
Jacob Goebbert is an under-the-radar prospect who has performed well in 2011, playing at both high A Lancaster and AA Corpus Christi.
He's batted .293 with a .360 on-base percentage and .462 slugging percentage. He has hit 10 home runs and an additional 20 extra-base hits. His BB:K rate is just below 1:2.
Jordan Lyles was Houston's top prospect before graduating to the major league team.
Dallas Keuchel has been impressive for AA Corpus Christi. He has an ERA of 2.80 in 103 innings pitched. He does not strike out too many batters, but he does not give up too many hits or walks, either.
Xavier Cedeno has possibly had the most impressive season among Astros pitching prospects. In 103.2 IP for AA Corpus Christi, Cedeno has tallied an ERA of 3.82. He's struck out 101 batters while walking 40 and giving up only 94 hits.
Jake Buchanan has made his full-season debut with high A Lancaster, traditionally a hitter's league. He has survived however, posting a 3.95 ERA in 107 innings pitched. He has struck out 70 batters while walking 25.
Carlos Quevedo has pitched 99 innings with the South Atlantic League's Lexington Legends. His ERA is 4.45. He has struck out 68 batters, while walking only eight. He has however, allowed 122 hits.
Wesley Wright has made 27 appearances in 2011, all but three of them have been in relief for AAA Oklahoma City—he is the AAA affiliate's only representative. He has pitched 45.1 innings in all. His ERA is 2.78, he has struck out 40 batters while walking 21 and giving up 37 hits.