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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Top 10 Prospect Guide

I recently was asked by the Director of Media Relations of the Lancaster Jet Hawks to write a guide to the top 10 Astros minor league prospects for inclusion in the club's game program. The following is the list I submitted. Buy a program and check it out again if you are at Clear Channel Field during the first third of the season.

THE TOP 10 PROSPECTS IN THE ASTROS ORGANIZATION
#10 Felipe Paulino RHP Round Rock(AAA)

Paulino, 25 was near the top of the franchise’s prospect list after an impressive 2007 season, which included a few big league starts in a September call-up. However, the Dominican Republic native missed the entire 2008 campaign with arm issues, which have set his development back several steps. He joined the big league club in camp this spring, but the health of his arm for a whole season is still in question.

Farmstros Fact: Paulino was the starter and winning pitcher in the final game of Craig Biggio’s career.

#9 Polin Trinidad LHP Corpus Christi(AA)

Trinidad has a good fastball and slider. The Astros signed the 25-year old out of the Dominican Republic in 2002. He split 2008 between Salem(High A) and Corpus Christi(AA). He made a total of 28 starts(18, AA; 10, High A). For the season he pitched 169 innings with a 3.14 ERA.

Farmstros Fact: Trinidad was the pitcher of the month for Salem in April and Corpus Christi in June last season.

#8 Collin DeLome OF Lancaster(High A)

DeLome, 23 was selected in the 5th Round of the 2007 draft out of Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, within 100 miles of Minute Maid Park. DeLome showed some pop with 22 home runs in 453 at bats between Low A, Lexington and High A, Salem last season. He has some speed(14 stolen bases) and the club needs him to hit for more average in 2009(.252 in 2008).

Farmstros Fact: DeLome was the highest pick that the Astros signed from the 2007 draft class.

#7 Drew Sutton IF Round Rock(AAA)

Repeating class AA suited Sutton well in 2008. The 25 year-old led the Hooks in many offensive categories, earning himself a spot on Houston’s 40-man roster for this season. Sutton batted .317 with 39 doubles, 20 home runs and 69 RBI. The switch-hitter was selected in the 15th round of the 2004 draft.

Farmstros Fact: Sutton was Corpus Christi’s MVP in 2008.

#6 Jordan Lyles RHP Lexington(Low A)

The Astros selected Lyles 38th overall in the 2008 draft. His selection came on the day he graduated from Hartsville High School in South Carolina. The 18-year old made 13 starts with a 3.99 ERA at rookie level Greeneville last summer before an end of season call-up to Tri-City of the NewYork-Penn League.

Farmstros Fact: Lyles was a two-sport star and as a wide receiver set school records with 81 catches, 1568 yards, and 23 touchdowns his senior year.

#5 Brian Bogusevic OF Round Rock(AAA)

Bogusevic, 25 made the switch from pitching prospect to outfield prospect look simple last summer. Three years after being selected in the first round of the 2005 draft, he moved from the mound to the Corpus Christi outfield, where proceeded to bat .371 with eight stolen bases in 42 games. The left-handed hitter continued the transition in the Arizona Fall League, where he batted .338 in 74 at bats.

Farmstros Fact: Bogusevic played for Tulane in the 2005 College World Series.

#4 Chris Johnson 3B Round Rock(AAA)

Johnson, 26 is the anticipated third baseman of the future for Houston. He put up solid offensive numbers for AA Corpus Christi in 2008. He hit .324 with 24 doubles, 12 home runs and 58 RBI before being called up for 30 games at AAA. His defense is big league ready and waiting for his bat to prove itself.

Farmstros Fact: Johnson’s father is the manager of Boston’s AAA team in Pawtucket.

#3 Ross Seaton RHP Lexington(Low A)

The Astros picked Seaton out of Second Baptist Academy in Houston in the third round of the 2008 draft. Seaton, 19 only pitched in three professional games last summer. However, in his senior year of high school, he struck out 110 batters in 68 innings posting a 1.34 ERA.

Farmstros Fact: Seaton planned to play college baseball at Tulane before signing with the Astros.

#2 Bud Norris RHP Round Rock(AAA)

Norris, 24 has moved rapidly through the Astros’ system since being selected in the 6th Round of the 2006 draft out of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. The Greenbrae, CA native started 19 games for Corpus Christi in 2008, striking out 84 in 80 innings. Norris’ lack of a third strong pitch has led to speculation that he will be a bullpen prospect rather than a starter long term.

Farmstros Fact: Norris nickname originated when as a young child he copied his father’s drink order of Budweiser at the dinner table.

#1 Jason Castro C Lancaster(High A)

Castro, the 10th pick in the 2008 draft got right to work as a professional last summer. He batted .275 in 39 games for Tri-City and then batted .333 in 78 at bats in the Hawaii winter league. Out of Stanford, the left-handed hitter is already being projected as the Astros catcher of the future.

Farmstros Fact: Castro was selected by Boston in the 2005 draft, but opted to go to Stanford.

2 comments:

Kelsey said...

I find it a little disconcerting that most of the Astros' "prospects" are 25-26 years old. The reason why I'm concerned is due to the fact that most of these players don't have a whole lot of potential increase in skill left.Except maybe Bogsevic, who hasn't been a hitter in a couple of years. Polin Trinadad really wouldn't be a prospect in about any other organization. Also, I think you should have had Jay Austin on this list. What is your take on the age of these prospects? I'm not trying to be Debbie Downer, because I believe Bobby Heck is turning things around, but we have a long way to go.

farmstros said...

The age of these players is definitely an issue,and part of why the system is rated so low. To be honest, I rate Trinidad a bit higher than most. I'm sure why, I would like to see him succeed. Austin is highly rated. I think Baseball America has him 9th in the system. He struggled in rookie ball, so I am looking forward to seeing him in 2009. He could move up the ladder quickly. Hopefully, youngsters like Austin, Lyles, Seaton can bring down the age of the farm soon.