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2010 Houston Astros Top 20 Pre-Season Prospects in Review

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Chris Johnson of the Houston Astros shatters his bat as he singles to right field against the Atlanta Braves at Minute Maid Park on August 10 2010 in Houston Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Chris Johnson of the Houston Astros shatters his bat as he singles to right field against the Atlanta Braves at Minute Maid Park on August 10 2010 in Houston Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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2010 Houston Astros Top 20 Prospects in Review

Here is a review of the 2010 Astros prospect list, originally published January 12, 2010. THIS IS A REVIEW OF THE OLD LIST AND PRE-SEASON GRADES. THIS IS NOT A NEW LIST.  The 2011 list and new grades won't be ready until the season is over and I start writing the book.

1) Jason Castro, C, Grade B+:  .265/.365/.355 for Triple-A Round Rock, .195/.269/.280 in the majors. He will get more chances.

2) Jordan Lyles, RHP, Grade B+:  3.12 ERA, 115/35 K/BB in 127 innings for Double-A Corpus Christi, 133 hits. Promoted to Triple-A this month, did well in his first start but lost, got killed in his second but got a no-decision. Such is baseball. He's only 19 and in Triple-A.

3) Jiovanni Mier, SS, Grade B:  .225/.309/.296 for Low-A Lexington. Has drawn some walks, stolen 12 bases, but has also made 31 errors and not shown nearly the pop he demonstrated last year in rookie ball. Still interesting due to youth and athleticism, but yet another example that rookie ball stats (and scouting reports) have to be taken with a grain of salt.

4) Sammy Gervacio, RHP, Grade B-:  Just 10 innings for Round Rock and 3.2 in the majors, his season ruined by a sore shoulder.

5) Chia-Jen Lo, RHP, Grade B-:  Just 15 innings for Corpus Christi, although they weren't bad, three runs allowed, 13 strikeouts.  Torn ulnar collateral ligament.

6) Tanner Bushue, RHP, Grade B-:  4.28 ERA, 101/42 K/BB in 116 innings for Lexington, 111 hits. Not horrible, not terrific, but shows some promise. Main problem is homers and high fly ball rate.

7) T.J. Steele, OF, Grade C+:  .228/.259/.315 for CC, undone by horrid plate discipline (10 walks, 67 strikeouts in 241 at-bats) and contact problems. Out with a hand injury.

8) Jay Austin, OF, Grade C+:  .271/.325/.427 with 51 steals for Lancaster. Love the speed, although he needs to improve his success rate. Power is starting to show up, home/road splits are fairly even, just turned 20 this month.

9) Jon Gaston, OF, Grade C+:  .252/.317/.399 for CC, 10 homers, 12 steals, mediocre plate discipline. Slow start, .233/.309/.349 in the first half, .280/.328/.472 in the second.

10) Ross Seaton, RHP, Grade C+:  6.17 ERA for Lancaster, 71/41 K/BB in 128 innings, 167 hits. Incredible home/road split: 8.82 ERA with 29/19 K/BB and 89 hits in 51 innings at home, 4.42 ERA with 42/22 K/BB in 77 innings on the road, 78 hits. Road stats are more his genuine talent level I'd say.

11) Matt Nevarez, RHP, Grade C+:  4.11 ERA for CC, 27/38 K/BB in 31 innings, 26 hits. He has good stuff but the walk rate is horrific.

12) Fernando Abad, LHP, Grade C+:  2.35 ERA with 42/8 K/BB in 46 innings between CC and Round Rock, 53 hits.  He's hittable but I like the guy for some reason.

13) Juri Perez, RHP, Grade C+:  Just 6.1 innings for the GCL Astros, six hits, four runs, four walks. Sample too small to mean anything.

14) Chris Johnson, 3B, Grade C:  .329/.362/.570 in 38 games for Round Rock, .357/.384/.546 in 53 games for the Astros, albeit with a 9:40 BB:K.  Here is the thing with Chris Johnson. I saw him play Double-A and Triple-A in '08 and '09, and while he had bat speed, his approach was poor, both in person and on paper. His BB/K is still lousy this year (18/63 overall) but there he is with the gaudy numbers. I think it is a fluke and that he's really a .250-.270 hitter, but I could be wrong. Other analysts have seen him as a breakout guy even when I was skeptical.

15) Polin Trinidad, LHP, Grade C: 5.04 ERA, 78/32 K/BB in 123 innings between RR and CC, 155 hits. Good control, but stuff may be a bit short.

16) Collin DeLome, OF, Grade C:  .235/.287/.460 for RR, 14 homers, 15 walks, 82 strikeouts in 272 at-bats. The power is real and he has some speed, but his contact problems and lack of patience hold him back.

17) Brain Bogusevic, OF, Grade C:  .289/.374/.432 for RR, 60 walks, 22 steals in 23 attempts. Looks to me like he could be a really nice fourth outfielder.

18) Enrique Hernandez, INF, Grade C:  .280/.316/.389 for Tri-City in the New York-Penn League. Turns 19 next week. Hasn't done anything to stand out yet, but quite young.

19) Brad Dydalewicz, LHP, Grade C:  Command collapse, 9.64 ERA with 49/57 K/BB in 75 innings between Lancaster and Lexington, 96 hits. Still young at 20 but everything went bad here.

20) J.D. Martinez, OF, Grade C:  Hit .362/.433/.598 for Lexington in 88 games, then jumped to CC and continued bashing at .336/.400/.483. Overall: .356/.424/.569, 18 homers, 37 doubles, 44 walks, 81 strikeouts in 464 at-bats. I had him rated as a sleeper in the book and he's definitely woken up. He's got decent physical tools and it is hard to believe he lasted until the 20th round last year.

Mixed results. Castro couldn't hit in the majors but will get more chances. Lyles has been strong, but injury attrition and command problems have dropped the stock of several pitchers. Martinez looks like a real steal right now. I still don't quite trust Johnson, but maybe I'm stubborn there.