Baseball America has released their selections for the top 10 prospects in the Houston Astros’ minor league system.
The Astros have had their share of highs and lows over the last several years. They spent most of this past decade playing second fiddle to the St. Louis Cardinals. They have had many good players come up through their system and make contributions–most famously the killer B’s of Berkman, Biggio and Bagwell. Roy Oswalt has been the cornerstone of the Astros for the last several years being complemented by the likes of Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and up and coming pitcher Wandy Rodriguez. The Astros, however, had the oldest roster in the major leagues last year and decided against rebuilding the team by trading away starting talent even though rumors swirled around them trading Roy Oswalt. I have to give Owner Drayton McLane and GM Ed Wade credit for keeping fan favorites around even though logic says to ship them out to greener pastures. The Astros have been an extremely loyal team, having many players that have played their entire careers with them. But, is that really helping their cause?
The Astros have not had much success in developing minor league talent. Since 1998, Brad Lidge and Chris Burke are the only #1 draft picks that have made it to the major league level. There is room for hope though. Catching prospect Jason Castro is showing real promise and looks to be the first #1 pick to make the majors since Chris Burke did in 2001. Castro has a good glove and can hit for average. The Astros will need to see more improvement out of their prospects for things to not continue they way they have. Brian McTaggart of MLB.com quotes Drayton McLane as saying “We’re going to have to work to see who’s out there and what our needs are. We’re not like we were when we signed Carlos Lee three years ago [to a six-year, $100-million contract] or when we signed free agents in the past. We’re just going to have to evaluate what’s on the market, what our needs are and how the economy is looking.”
The Astros have been on the fence for a while now and need to figure out which direction they are taking the team. The current strategy of half-hearted free agent signings and poor minor league development just isn’t going to cut it.
Baseball America’s Top Ten List of Astros Prospects
- Jason Castro, c
- Jiovanni Mier, ss
- Jordan Lyles, rhp
- Sammy Gervacio, rhp
- Chia-Jen Lo, rhp
- Ross Seaton, rhp
- Tanner Bushue, rhp
- Jay Austin, of
- Jon Gaston, of
- T.J. Steele, of