5 Houston Astros Prospects You Must Watch During Spring Training
Houston Astros Prospects to Watch During Spring Training
The Houston Astros are in really good shape. By 'good shape', I don't mean they are extremely fit -- I mean they are in good hands, with general manager Jeff Luhnow, and that they are in a position to be an elite team in a few years. Now, one might ask how a team that is coming off a third straight 100-loss season, including 111 losses in 2013, is in good shape. With 100-loss seasons comes first-overall draft picks, and the Astros don't waste their draft picks.
Luhnow is a very smart baseball mind. A large portion of the 2013 St. Louis Cardinals' roster was drafted by Luhnow when he was in the Cardinals' organization. He is trying to build the Astros into the Cardinals -- a team that is great at the MLB level, while also having a deep and talented farm system.
Since taking over as general manager of the Astros in December of 2011, Luhnow has done an excellent job of rebuilding his organization, starting from the bottom (the minor leagues) to the top. Luhnow recognized that the quickest way to rebuild an organization was to simply lose as many games as possible at the MLB level, as a result of trading away virtually any big-league player with any value to get prospects.
The Astros still aren't going to be a very good team in 2013, but they are certainly getting closer. Luhnow traded under-achieving pitcher Jordan Lyles and outfielder Brandon Barnes to the Colorado Rockies for centerfielder Dexter Fowler. That may have been one of the most lopsided trades in recent history, in favor of the Astros. Luhnow has also rebuilt the Astros' bullpen this offseason, adding three veteran arms that should be able to keep the team competitive.
Astros fans will soon get a chance to see a few of Luhnow's prized prospects, as the Astros have invited several prospects to 2014 Spring Training. To find out five big-time prospects for Astros fans to watch in Spring Training, continue reading the following slideshow.
Jonathan Singleton was acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies in the Hunter Pence trade a few seasons ago. Singleton has a career .280/.386/.457 triple-slash line in the minor leagues. While he doesn't bring the type of power that one would expect from a first baseman, he does tend to draw enough walks to make him a valuable offensive player.
First of all, I'm not going to pretend that I know how to pronounce this man's name. I usually assume a name is pronounced how it is spelled, but I highly doubt that is true in this case. But anyway, Mike Foltynewicz is a tall right-handed pitcher that features the best fastball in the Astros' farm system according to Baseball America. Foltynewicz has a career 3.74 ERA in the minor leagues while having 3.80 BB/9 and 7.36 K/9.
The owner of the best slider in the Astros farm system, Mark Appel is a tall, lanky right-handed hurler that was drafted first overall in the 2013 MLB Draft. Appel was drafted twice before, in 2009 and 2012, before finally being drafted and signing with a team in 2013. In his first minor league season, Appel pitched to a 3.79 ERA with 2.13 BB/9 and 7.82 K/9 in just 38 innings.
According to Baseball America, George Springer is the best power hitter and the best defensive outfielder in the Astros' system. At 24 years old, Springer is likely going to see a lot of time at the MLB level in 2013. Springer has raked in the minor leagues, hitting for a .299/.394/.558 career triple-slash line.
Carlos Correa, 19, is the best hitter for average in the Astros' system, and he is also the best defensive infielder and has the best infield arm. Correa is full of tools. In two minor league seasons, between three levels, the shortstop has hit .302/.377/.447. Correa was drafted first overall in the 2012 MLB Draft.