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Houston Astros Top 20 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review

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Houston Astros Top 20 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review

This list was originally published December 30, 2008. This is a REVIEW of the PRE-SEASON list for 2009, not a revision of that list. This is a REVIEW of the old list. I'm not doing new grades or lists until I start working on the 2010 book.

1) Jason Castro, C, Grade B: Hitting .300/.365/.396 since being promoted to the Texas League. Controlling the strike zone well, glove will play, power development is still uncertain.

2) Brian Bogusevic, OF, Grade B: Hitting .273/.347/.369 with 19 steals in 22 attempts for Triple-A Round Rock. Speed and athleticism are impressive, power development is questionable.

3) Bud Norris, RHP, Grade B-: 2.63 ERA with 112/53 K/BB in 120 innings for Round Rock, is 3-2, 5.86 with a 27/15 K/BB in 28 major league innings, five starts. Still has control problems but has shown flashes of overcoming them.

4) Jordan Lyles, RHP, Grade B-: 3.23 ERA with 155/38 K/BB in 134 innings for Class A Lexington, 123 hits. A very successful season and still just 18 years old.

5) Ross Seaton, RHP, Grade B-: 3.31 ERA With 83/36 K/BB in 131 innings for Lexington, 133 hits. Like Lyles, he's had a good year though his components are less impressive.

6) Felipe Paulino, RHP, Grade C+: 6.82 ERA with 56/22 K/BB in 63 major league innings, 87 hits. Has shown decent control but has been too hittable. Will get more chances.

7) Drew Sutton, 2B, Grade C+: Traded to Cincinnati, hit .262/.382/.453 in Triple-A, is hitting .163 in 24 major league games. I think he can be a good bench player with more adjustment time.

8) Chris Johnson, 3B, Grade C+: Hitting .274/.313/.468 in 93 games for Round Rock, with 19 walks and 82 strikeouts in 340 at-bats. Some scouts still see him as a possible breakout guy but the numbers have never been super impressive.

9) Sam Gervacio, RHP, Grade C+: 4.82 ERA with 58/21 K/BB in 52 innings for Round Rock, 43 hits. Has looked good in brief major league action, can be a nice relief arm I think.

10) Chia-Jen-Lo, RHP, Grade C+: 3.00 ERA with 29/17 K/BB in 30 innings for Double-A Corpus Christi, 24 hits. Decent performance, needs better command, heading to the Arizona Fall League.

11) Collin DeLome, OF, Grade C: Hitting .259/.328/.475 with 15 steals in 22 attempts, 34 walks, 124 strikeouts for Round Rock. Has power and speed tools, but contact is a big problem.

12) Sergio Perez, RHP, Grade C: 4.52 ERA with 64/54 K/BB in 131 innings for Corpus Christi, 154 hits. K/IP and hit rate are very unattractive. I think he would be better in the pen.

13) Polin Trinidad, LHP, Grade C: 2.91 ERA with 53/10 K/BB in 83 innings in Double-A, 4.63 ERA with 40/19 K/BB in 68 innings in Triple-A. He throws strikes but doesn't dominate.

14) T.J. Steele, OF, Grade C: Hitting .345/.385/.562 in 50 games for Class A Lancaster, nine walks and 40 strikeouts in 194 at-bats. Plate discipline is unimpressive but he has some power.

15) J.B. Shuck, OF, Grade C: Hitting .317/.392/.414 with 18 steals in 26 attempts for Lancaster, 59 walks, 50 strikeouts in 514 at-bats. I love the walks/low strikeout combination, but we need to see if he can hit outside of this environment.

16) Jay Austin, OF, Grade C: Hitting .261/.317/.355 with 23 steals in 36 attempts for Lexington. Toolsy, fast, raw.

17) Federico Hernandez, C, Grade C: Hitting .233/.270/.339 for Lexington. Good defensive reputation, but not going to hit much.

18) Leandro Cespedes, RHP, Grade C: 4.86 ERA with 99/47 K/BB in 113 innings for Lancaster, 133 hits. OK numbers given context, but Double-A will be a challenge.

19) Phil Disher, 1B, Grade C: Hit .156/.264/.266 in 39 games for Lexington, on the disabled list since late May.

20) Tim Torres, SS, Grade C: I thought he could be a sleeper, but he got released. Signed with the Marlins, hitting .267/.348/.371 for Class A Jupiter. Too old at 25 to be hitting like that at this level.

The Astros entered the season with a very weak system, still feeling the fallout from poor drafts, but the more impressive 2008 draft is paying dividends. The '09 class took some high ceiling high school risks and we'll have to see how they pan out, but they got a winner by going against consensus with Lyles in '08. Ownership at least looks like they are willing to spend a bit of money again developing the system after being too penurious earlier in the decade..