Houston Astros 2011 Minor League Review
Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America:
2011 (26) | 2010 (30) | 2009 (30) | 2008 (29) | 2007 (22) | 2006 (20) | 2005 (22) | 2004 (29)
2011 Affiliate Records
MLB: [56-106] NL Central
AAA: [68-75] Pacific Coast League – Oklahoma City
AA: [50-90] Texas League – Corpus Christi
A+: [55-85] California League – Lancaster
A: [59-79] South Atlantic League – Lexington
A(ss): [33-42] New York Penn League – Tri-City
R: [25-43] Appalachian League – Greenville
The Run Down
Having revamped their amateur scouting department in 2008, Houston finally seems to be on a better track with their farm system. After the previous administration yielded miserable draft class after miserable draft class, it appears that Scouting Director Bobby Heck has rejuvenated their Minor Leagues with four consecutive nice drafts. Now, this is all very good news for the real life Astros and their fans. For us in fantasyland, however, Houston’s farm system is too youthful to generate much excitement in 2012. Due to their extraordinary lack of genuine big league talent, the Astros graduated an unusually high number of prospects, leaving the heights of their farm system a bit depleted. I’d love to discuss some of their most exciting prospects (DeShields, Wates, Mier, Fotynewicz, to name a few), but they’re simply too far from fantasy relevance to be included just yet.
Arizona Fall League Players – Salt River Rafters
Jose Altuve (2B); J.D. Martinez (OF); Jimmy Paredes (3B); Brian Bogusevic (OF); Carlos Corporan (C); Jordan Lyles (RHP); Aneury Rodriguez (RHP); Henry Sosa (RHP); Enerio Del Rosario (RHP); Fernando Rodriguez (RHP)
Players of Interest
Jake Goebbert | OF:
Goebbert spent most of 2011 at Corpus Christi where he slashed .305/.368/.456 with 27 XBH in 304 PA, including 5 HR. After promotion to Oklahoma City, he posted .283/.345/.415, while maintaining a similar XBH rate (10 XBH / 106 PA). With nice plate coverage, few strikeouts, and developing power, Goebbert is a young lefty who could work his way into the Houston’s 2012 outfield.
J.B. Shuck | OF:
Shuck appeared in 37 games for the big club in 2011 and he has a shot at a roster spot out of camp in 2012 due in large part to his outstanding plate discipline. He has okay speed (21 SB, 11 CS at AAA), he doesn’t hit for power, and his defense is replacement level. But Shuck’s on-base skills (.398 OBP at AAA, .359 OBP at MLB) are an asset at the big league level and could warrant regular playing time in the Houston outfield.
David Carpenter | RHP – RP:
Using him often in September, the Astros showed some faith in Carpenter. In return, Carpenter showed promise with decent numbers: 2.93 ERA in 27.2 IP, with 29 K’s and one save. The right-handed relief pitcher was converted from catcher to pitcher by Saint Louis in 2008 (the Cardinals like to do this and it sort of seems to work – see Jason Motte). Carpenter is a fastball/slider guy, with a heater that touches 96 and a slider in the mid-80s. For the time being, he’s behind a few guys, but he could get a chance at saves during some point in 2012.
Juan Abreu | RHP – RP:
Acquired from Atlanta in the Michael Bourne trade, Abreu showed filthy stuff during a limited stint with the Astros in 2011. The righty brings his fastball upwards of 96 and changes speeds with a curveball in the low-80s. He’ll sprinkle in a few changeups, too. It’s difficult to ignore that kind of velocity, making Abreu a relief arm to keep an eye on in 2012.
Jonathan Singleton | 1B:
Singleton joined the Houston system via Philadelphia after the Hunter Pence trade. Perhaps something clicked for the 20-year-old first baseman following the trade, as he slashed .282/.385/.411 with Philadelphia’s high A affiliate in the Florida State League, versus .333/.405/.512 at Houston’s high A club in the California League. Another post-trade stat to note is Singleton’s .448 BABIP at Lancaster – the dude was murdering the ball. He likely won’t arrive until 2013, but look for more exciting Minor League numbers from Singleton in 2012, as it seems he figured something out at the tail end of his first full pro season.
Adam Bailey | OF:
Bailey played at three levels in 2011, spending the bulk of the season at low A and finishing up with stints at A+ and at AA. The 23-year-old lefty was able to move up the ladder thanks to nice numbers at every stop, including a slash line of .323/.333/.495 at Corpus Christi and an overall HR total of 24. Bailey isn’t a touted prospect, but his 2011 numbers and his rapid advancement through the Houston system should speak volumes about the Astros’ thoughts on the outfielder. Their opening day outfield is wide open at this point, and with a good showing at spring training I don’t consider it a tremendous leap to think that Bailey could be included.
Luis Durango | OF:
Houston claimed Durango in June after San Diego placed the speedy switch-hitter on waivers. Durango can fly. There’s no doubt about that. While the rest of his skill set remains very raw, Durango’s speed could earn him a starting role in Minute Maid Park’s expansive centerfield. If he can improve his plate discipline and occasionally find himself on base, he could be a threat to steal 20-30 in 2012.