Updated Top 10 Prospects (2016): Houston Astros: New Names Emerge After Ken Giles Trade

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

For most teams seeing the long line of prospects heading to the Majors, topped by Carlos Correa, and others being dealt (like in yesterday’s Ken Giles trade) would leave their farm system barren.  Of course when you’ve been losing for so long you’ve had ample opportunities to stock pile as much young talent as possible.  There are still some impressive names on the horizon, including a few who could arrive as soon as 2016, so let’s take a look:

1) Alex Bregman – Shortstop
ETA – 2017
Grade – A

The second overall selection in 2015, Bregman was widely viewed as one of the Top 4-5 players in the draft.  He split time between two different levels of Single-A compiling a .294/.366/.415 slash over 272 AB.  While seeing him generate some extra base hits (13 doubles, 4 triples, 4 home runs) and stolen bases (13 SB) are impressive, it’s his strikeout rate that gets our attention the most:

  • Single-A (112 AB) – 9.8%
  • High-A (160 AB) – 9.6%

It’ll be interesting to see where he fits into the Astros long-term plans, with Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve both young and establishing themselves as fixtures in the middle of the infield.  That said, the 21-year old (he will turn 22 just before Opening Day) has the makeup of a potential .300/20/20 player so the Astros are going to find a way to fit them all into the lineup.  Let’s chalk this up to a good problem to have.

2) A.J. Reed – First Baseman
ETA – 2016
Grade – B+ (borderline A-)

We all know that power is at a premium and Reed brings it to the table, having slugged 34 HR over 523 AB last season.  He reached Double-A last season and while Astros’ first baseman have had problems with strikeouts Reed shows a significantly better approach at the plate:

  • High-A (318 AB) – 19.0%
  • Double-A (205 AB) – 20.7%

He also posted walk rates of 15.3% and 11.4%.  While his averages did come courtesy of some luck (BABIP of .385 & .383), his makeup profiles as a .280+ hitter thanks to the power.  With the likes of Chris Carter and Jon Singleton struggling to emerge, it’s just a matter of time.  Obviously the fact that he’s a pure 1B/DH could be seen as a knock against him, but the Astros have a need at the position and Reed should arrive shortly.

3) Kyle Tucker – Outfielder
ETA – 2019
Grade – B+

Selected fifth overall in 2015, Tucker is the younger brother of current Houston outfielder Preston Tucker.  Like fellow first round pick Alex Bregman, Kyle showed a good approach at the plate (29 K over 232 AB), something we all know that the Astros need to improve at the big league level.  At 18-years old (he’ll turn 19 in January) and standing at 6’4”, there’s reason to believe that he will grow into his power as he ages and matures.  Couple the approach, power potential and ability to steal bases (18 in his professional debut) and he’s certainly going to be a player to watch closely.

4) Michael Feliz – Right-Handed Pitcher
ETA – Already Arrived
Grade – B (borderline B+)

There is no question about the stuff Feliz brings to the table, it’s more about whether he ultimately makes it as a starting pitcher or settles into a bullpen role.  Over 78.2 IP at Double-A he showed his full potential, with an 8.01 K/9 and 2.29 BB/9 over 78.2 IP, and over his minor league career he owns a 1.12 GO/AO.  He throws hard, it’s just a matter of how he continues to develop.

5) Derek Fisher – Outfielder
ETA – 2017
Grade – B

Over 495 AB between High-A and Double-A he hit .275 with 22 HR and 31 SB.  What more do we really need to know?  Yes he did strikeout 132 times, which is something that needs to be watched, including 95 K over 344 AB at Double-A, but the power and speed combination he’s shown since being the 37th overall selection in 2014 simply can’t be ignored (even if he profiles more of a .260ish type hitter).  Some will point towards him ultimately needing to be a leftfielder as a knock against him, but that’s just being picky.

6) Daz Cameron – Outfielder
ETA – 2019
Grade – B (borderline B+)

Cameron is the son of former big leaguer Mike Cameron and at one time was in the discussion as a potential Top 5 pick.  Ultimately he was selected 37th overall and struggled a bit in his first professional season, hitting .251 with no power (4 doubles, 3 triples, 0 home runs over 175 AB).  There’s no question that there’s upside and speed (24 SB in ’15), but he also doesn’t have the ceiling of others in the system.  It’ll be interesting to see how he produces in his first full season.

The Rest:
7) Francis Martes – Right-Handed Pitcher
8) Joe Musgrave – Right-Handed Pitcher
9) J.D. Davis – Third Baseman
10) David Paulino – Right-Handed Pitcher

Grading System (still in development):
Grade A – Elite Prospects (aka potential future perennial All-Stars)
Grade B – Above Average Prospects (aka above average Major Leaguers, could develop into a potential All-Star)
Grade C – Average Prospects (aka solid, though unspectacular)
Grade D – Nothing More Than Roster Filler
Grade F – Move On

Make sure to check out all of our Top 10 Prospect Lists:

AL EastAL CentralAL West
Baltimore OriolesChicago White SoxHouston Astros
Boston Red SoxCleveland IndiansLos Angeles Angels
New York YankeesDetroit TigersOakland A's
Tampa Bay RaysKansas City RoyalsSeattle Mariners
Toronto Blue JaysMinnesota TwinsTexas Rangers
NL EastNL CentralNL West
Atlanta BravesChicago CubsArizona Diamondbacks
Miami MarlinsCincinnati RedsColorado Rockies
New York MetsMilwaukee BrewersLos Angeles Dodgers
Philadelphia PhilliesPittsburgh PiratesSan Diego Padres
Washington NationalsSt. Louis CardinalsSan Francisco Giants

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