Houston Astros Top 25 Prospects Update

Now that we’re a little more than one month into the 2017 baseball calendar I wanted to provide an update on my Top 25 ranked Houston Astros prospects and how they’ve faired over the first 25-35 days of their season. You can see my Prospects1500 Houston Astros Top 50 list here.

  1. Francis Martes, RHP – (AAA) Martes started the season in AAA with designs on joining the major league rotation sooner rather than later. While the traditional statistics show that he has had a good start to the season, he has continually shown bouts of wildness. 12 BB and 12 K in 12.1IP. Martes is trending in the wrong direction over his three starts, but has plenty of time to turn it around. Small sample size and all.
  2. Kyle Tucker, OF(High A) Kyle Tucker has had a great start to the season. Still needs to improve pitch recognition (22 K in 79 AB), but slugging .582 with an OPS of .960 says that a call up to AA might be had very soon. I would be no later than June, if not before.
  3. David Paulino, RHP – (MLB) Paulino has yet to make his 2017 debut, being placed on the DL at the end of spring training.
  4. Forrest Whitley, RHP – (A) Two starts this season have led to 8IP and a 13:2 K to BB ratio. Has been just as good as advertised when taken in the first round last year.
  5. Derek Fisher, OF(A) Like a large number of the Astros prospects, Fisher strikes out at a high rate. But, like other Astros prospects, he gets on base and is showing power. Should see time in the majors later this season.
  6. Franklin Perez, RHP – (A+) One of the more impressive pitching prospects this season, Perez has dazzled this season. 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA and 14 K in 14.1 IP against only three walks.
  7. Daz Cameron, OF – (A) Started 2017 repeating where he started in 2016, Cameron has shown little improvement. Still just 20, there is plenty of time for Cameron to make a jump. He definitely needs to start to make an impression.
  8. James Hoyt, RHP – (AAA, MLB)  Locked in a battle with Jandel Gustave for the final bullpen spot, Hoyt ended up starting the season in AAA. Since being called up when Gustave hit the DL, Hoyt has impressed. 1 hit, 1 walk and 5 strikouts in 2.2 IP. The big club should have a tough decision when Gustave returns from the disabled list.
  9. Teoscar Hernandez, OF – (AAA, MLB) Average numbers in AAA to start the season, Hernandez was called up to replace Jake Marisnick when he was put on the DL. Unfortunately for Hernandez, he earned a DL stint of his own in his first game with the Astros. Will likely head back to AAA when his DL stint is over.
  10. J.D. Davis, 3B – (AA) Forced to start the season in AA due to the presence of Colin Moran, Davis has showed that he has nothing left to prove in Corpus. 5 HR and 13 RBI while slugging .483. Davis has recently started playing 1B in an effort to help get his bat up a level.
  11. Colin Moran, 3B – (AAA) Moran has never been a traditional power hitter, but has slugged .436 after 21 games. Without noticeable improvement, Moran will not be able to block J.D. Davis at 3B in Fresno.
  12. Miguelangel Sierra, SS – Ended last season in SS Tri-City. Likely to start the season there again this summer.
  13. Jonathan Arauz, SS – Suspended 50 games to start the season after testing positive for Methamphetamine.
  14. Anibal Sierra, SS – (A, High A) Started the season at A Quad Cities and “earned” a promotion to High A. Has carried a 30% K rate across two levels.
  15. Ronnie Dawson, OF – (A) Starting to show some of the reasons he was taken in the 2nd round a year ago. Has hit 4 HR and driven 14 so far this year. Has reduced his strikeout rate by almost 7% (27% in 2016 to 20% in 2017.
  16. Garrett Stubbs, C – (AA) After a short stint on the disabled list, Stubbs has been impressive. A .405 OBP and .891 OPS are putting to rest the doubts of his bat. Still no reason to think he won’t see AAA this season.
  17. Ramon Laureano, OF – (AA) The darling of the 2016 Astros minor league system, Laureano has fallen back to earth in 2017. The power stroke has almost disappeared, as has the ability to get on base. Unsure if Laureano is trying to press or if other things are present, but there is no doubt that the potential is there.                        
  18. Jandel Gustave, RHP – (MLB) Placed on the DL on April 19th, but didn’t show numbers worthy of staying on the big league roster (5.40 ERA, 7 BB and 2 K across 5.0 IP)
  19. Gilberto Celestino, OF – Has yet to begin his season. Slated to begin the season in the Gulf Coast League.
  20. Jason Martin, OF – (High A) Definitely showing the effects of no longer playing the altitude of the California League. Has shown a reduced walk rate (13% to 10%). Has yet to show the power that was evident in Lancaster.
  21. Brendan McCurry, RHP – (AAA) Suspended 50 games to start the season after testing positive for Methamphetamine.
  22. Brady Rodgers, RHP – (AAA) The 2016 minor league pitcher of the year has picked up right where he left off. 11 K in 16.1 IP,Rodgers sports a 2-0 record with a 1.10 ERA. Currently on the DL with elbow issues, the remainder of Rodgers season could be up in the air.
  23. Rogelio Armenteros, RHP – (AA) Has been very impressive so far in AA. Is still missing bates at a great rate (12.56 K/9). Still holds the title of fastest pitching riser in the system.
  24. Cionel Perez, LHP – (A) Recently made his Astros debut with less than stellar results. Gave up 7 ER in 2.2 IP. This is his first taste of major league baseball, so some adjustments is expected.
  25. Riley Ferrell, RHP – (High A, AA) Ferrell looks to be fully recovered from the shoulder surgery that ended his 2016 season prematurely. Threw 2 IP at High A and was promoted to AA. Overall Ferrell has thrown 10 IP striking out 11 and saving 2.

Other Notes:
Preseason #30 prospect Guadalupe Chavez decided to retire. No reason was given.
Article featured image of Ramon Laureano – courtesy Bill Mitchell, BaseballAmerica.com

6 Comments

  1. Martin took a ball to opposite field last week for a home run. Belted 3 no doubters in one game and you still questioning his power?

    • Take out those 3 “no doubters” and he has hit 4 HR in 160 AB. Over the course of a 500 at bat season, that’s 12 HR. His career AB per HR ratio is 35.46 to 1. Take out the California League inflation of 23 HR in 400 AB in 2016 and you’re looking at 61.44 to 1. That game was impressive, but in my opinion, he has not shown that he has definitive HR power. Speed? Yes. Line drive power? Yes. Could he turn those line drives and doubles into more HR as he continues to grow and develop? Of course. But as of this writing, I am not inclined to believe that he has legitimate HR power. As an Astros fan, however, I would love to be proven wrong.

  2. Don’t look now Brandon, but as of today, Martin is leading the Texas League in Slugging, 3rd overall in AA. 15 HR on the year.

    • If I didn’t know better, I would say you are the president of the Jason Martin fan club! While 15 HR is a good number, that slugging percentage is buoyed by the 28 doubles that Martin has. There was never an issue with Martin’s overall power potential, the key, as I said in my last reply, would be turning those 2B into more home runs. If Martin has turned the corner, then that is great. It looks like he is heading that way which is great news for the Astros.

      • You have a section for comment so I commented. Is it not ok to disagree with you? I have to be President a players fan club if I do? You take into account the winds in Lancaster, contributing that to his power. But you don’t take into consideration the winds in Corpus that knocks down balls in right. Don’t shoot the messenger, just a fact. What would be a HR elsewhere is sometimes a double for lefties.

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