Baseball America Ranks 7 Houston Astro Prospects in Top 100
With thirty major league teams, each could expect to have 3 or 4 prospects ranked in the top 100. In 2016, Baseball America has ranked 7 Houston Astro prospects in their top 100. Four teams failed to place a prospect in the top 100, the Angels, Mariners, Marlins and Orioles. In 2015, the Astros had only 2 players in the top 100, Carlos Correa (No. 4) and Mark Appel (No. 31). Correa was promoted to the Astros in June and went on to become the AL Rookie of the year while Appel was traded to the Phillies after the season and has not yet appeared in the majors. He is not ranked in the Baseball America Top 100 in 2016.
The Astros organization had an exceptionally successful minor league season in 2015. Their top six minor league teams all made the playoffs and two (AAA Fresno and Rookie level Greenville) won their league championships. Astro minor league teams had the highest overall winning percentage of all major league farm systems. As a result, a number of minor leaguers progressed as prospects and all seven of the current players ranked in the top 100 were promoted during the season and are on the top 100 list for the first time.
The seven Astros on the 2016 list come from 3 different sources. The two infielders were college players, the two outfielders were drafted and signed after high school and the three pitchers were obtained in trades. The top Astros prospect is A.J. Reed (No.11), a slugging first baseman from the University of Kentucky who batted .340 and hit 34 home runs at the Class AA and High-A levels in 2015.
The next Astro player ranked is Francis Martes (No. 20), a pitcher received in a trade with the Florida Marlins. Martes, 20, compiled an 8-3 record across 3 levels in 2015 with a 95 mph fastball and a power curve. The third ranked prospect is shortstop, Alex Bregman (No. 42), the Astros top draft choice in 2015 from LSU who batted .294 across two Class A levels last year. Next are the two outfielders, Kyle Tucker (No. 61) and Daz Cameron (No. 74). Both turned 19 in January and broke in at the Rookie League level last year. Tucker, the brother of Preston Tucker of the Astros, has some power potential and Cameron’s strong suit is speed. They should play at low Class A this year.
The final two Astro prospects on the top 100 list are pitchers Joe Musgrove, 23, and David Paulino, 22. Both pitched across 3 levels in 2015 with positive results. Musgrove, obtained in a trade with Toronto, was voted the Astros minor league pitcher of the year in 2015, with a 12-1 record and an ERA of 2.10. He works in the 90-93 mph range and issued only 8 bases on balls in 101 innings pitched. Paulino came to the Astros in a trade with Detroit and was 5-3 with an ERA of 2.98. His fastball reaches 97-98.
Baseball America projects Reed and Musgrove to reach the majors in 2016 with Martes and Bregman to make it in 2017. Paulino is projected for 2018 and Tucker and Cameron in 2019.
General Manager, Jeff Luhnow, has made a few mistakes since he took over in 2011 (releasing J.D. Martinez and drafting Appel ahead of Kris Bryant, etc.) but he has done an excellent job with draft picks and trades in putting together a competitive major league team and rebuilding the farm system that should allow the team to be competitive for the foreseeable future. The early part of the rebuilding (2011-2013) was painful but it appears that it may be worth the wait.