Houston Astros: The Top 10 Prospects in Their Minor-League System

Brandon CroceAnalyst IAugust 29, 2011

Houston Astros: The Top 10 Prospects in Their Minor-League System

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    The Astros have called up a number of prospects over the course of the season including starting pitcher Jordan Lyles, second baseman Jose Altuve, outfielder J.D. Martinez and third baseman Jimmy Paredes. Even with all the recent call-ups the Astros farm system is actually stronger now than when the 2011 season started.

    By trading away outfielders Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn, the Astros were able to bring back a number of quality prospects. With all the movement that has taken place, I thought it was probably a good time to re-evaluate the Astros farm system and who their top prospects are. This is the top 10 prospects currently in the Astros organization as I see it.

10. Domingo Santana

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    Domingo Santana completed the Hunter Pence trade and has been on fire since joining the Astros organization. In 11 games he has hit four home runs, 15 RBI and a .356 batting average.

    This is pretty impressive considering he is only 19 years of age, but I think what is even more impressive is that he is already 6'5" and 200 pounds.

    He will need to work on making more contact as he has struck out 130 times already this season in 395 at bats, but if he develops some plate discipline, he could be a nice find for the Astros. 

9. Ariel Ovando

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    Outfielder Ariel Ovando is the youngest player in the Astros organization at 17 years of age but has a lot of potential which make him one of the top prospects.

    He is currently playing in the Rookie League for the Greeneville Astros, and through 42 games is hitting only .241 but does have 30 RBI. I expect by gaining a little bit more experience in the minors, Ovando will develop into the player many see in him.

8. Mike Foltynewicz

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    Mike Foltynewicz has struggled a bit since being drafted in the first round of the 2010 draft by the Astros. This year he is 5-11 with an ERA of 4.88 for the Lexington Legends.

    Fans should not worry about the stat line too much as he is still young at 19 years of age and does have the tools to be successful, already throwing a fastball in the mid 90s. 

7. Delino DeShields Jr.

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    Delino DeShields Jr. was the other first-round pick last year for the Astros. DeShields has amazing speed and will be an asset at the top of the order one day.

    So far this season he has 29 stolen bases through 112 games but only has a batting average of .225. This is due to his high strikeout total (111), and he will need to work on his plate discipline if he wants to move up this list.

6. Paul Clemens

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    Paul Clemens came over from the Atlanta Braves in the Michael Bourn trade and jumps all the way up to sixth on this list.

    He has spent the 2011 season at the Double A level going 8-6 with a 3.35 ERA between the two organizations but has really turned it on since joining the Astros. In five starts, he is 2-1 with a 2.35 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 30.2 innings pitched. 

5. Jonathan Villar

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    Shortstop Jonathan Villar came over to the Astros last season in the Roy Oswalt trade. Villar has struggled a bit at the plate this season hitting only .235 and striking out 114 times. The reason he is this high is because he has the tools to be a very good defensive player.

    He also has shown good speed on the basepaths with 45 stolen bases last season and already 31 this year. He is still young at 20 years old and has time to work on his approach at his plate.

4. Brett Oberholtzer

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    If you couldn't guess from the picture, Brett Oberholtzer came over from the Atlanta Braves in the Michael Bourn trade. He is a talented left-handed pitcher and has had pretty good success over his minor league career.

    The 22-year-old is 26-22 over his four year career with an ERA of 3.38, and his numbers have stayed pretty much in line with his career stats this year at the Double A level. Obie uses three pitches to beat hitters, a fastball in the high 80s/low 90s, a changeup and a solid slider, and I think will most likely be with the Astros in 2012.

3. George Springer

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    I don't know if this speaks more about how bad the farm system is or how good this next prospect is when your organization's third best prospect still hasn't taken a professional at-bat. This is the case for the Astros' first-round pick this year, outfielder George Springer.

    Springer is older than most first year players at 21 years of age, but he also is a rare prospect in that he is a five tool player who played four years of college ball. The future is very bright for this player, and I think he will be up at the major league level sooner rather than later. 

2. Jarred Cosart

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    Jarred Cosart was the second best prospect in the Phillies farm system before he was traded to the Astros in the Hunter Pence trade. Nothing has changed now that he is with Houston as he end up in the two spot on this list.

    He has had five starts for the Astros this season for Class AA Corpus Christi going 0-1 with a 2.96 ERA. He has seen his strikeouts drop from 9.7 K/9 last year to 6.6 at the Class A level with the Phillies to 4.3 so far with the Astros. I am not too worried about this decline yet, and as long as he can stay healthy, he will be with the Astros in the near future.

1. Jonathan Singleton

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    Like it seems with all the other prospects recently acquired by the Astros this season, Jonathan Singleton is off to a fast start with his new organization.

    In 27 games with the Lancaster Jethawks, he is hitting .343 with four home runs and 13 RBI. Singelton was considered the top prospect for the Phillies, and there is no reason to change that thinking now that he is on the Astros.

    Singleton does have some injury concern, but if he is able to stay healthy, he has the potential to be a star one day.