A few Thursday scattershots while we wait for baseball to begin again.
If the Jose Altuve signing and last week’s Jarred Cosart start weren’t good enough news for you, here’s more.
Only a few years ago, the Astros didn’t have five players ranked in Baseball America’s Top 100. Now, they have five in the 2013 mid-season Top 50. But it is of interest to note that a few players from the 2012 draft are ranked ahead of the Astros #1 pick, Carlos Correa. Two pitchers and a catcher chosen after Correa are already in the majors.
In its recently released rankings, BA points to some negatives in some of the Astros’ prospects, but overall, the skills demonstrate plenty of hope for Astros’ fans desperate for good news on the way to a seemingly third straight 100-loss season.
Correa “doesn’t run all that well”, George Springer “gets caught on his front foot at times” and Lance McCullers’ changeup “has a long ways to go”. Still, the upside his sky high, BA notes.
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Further good news: The fact that college pitchers Kevin Gausman (Orioles) and Michael Wacha (Cardinals) are already in the majors bodes well for this year’s top three picks of the Astros. In addition to top pick Mark Appel, #40 pick Andrew Thurman and #74 Kent Emmanuel also experienced college pitchers.
Is it reasonable to expect that one or more of these pitchers will be close to major-league ready by this time next year?
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Earlier in the season, I suggested that the success of the 2013 season didn’t necessarily hinge on how many games the Astros won or lost. Yes, the team should target an improvement over last year’s 55-107 record, but the benchmark barometer for the long-term reconstruction project was elsewhere.
If you recall, Bo Porter and Jeff Luhnow identified Altuve as the “only everyday player” when the season started. Success would come, I wrote, if the Astros could find even 2-3 other players during this season to play “everyday” with Altuve.
With 68 games to go in the season — and this may sound odd — the Astros aren’t that far off. If you include starting pitchers in those “2-3 players”, the pool from which that prediction could be satisfied is significant. Here’s the group of players who could establish themselves between now and October and enter 2014 “alongside” Altuve as the foundation of the team:
- Jordan Lyles.
- Jason Castro.
- Brett Wallace. Can he keep up the pace since his last call up?
- George Springer. He should get at least 100 ABs in Houston to make his case.
- Jarred Cosart. 8-10 starts could put him close to a shoo-in for 2014 rotation.
- Matt Dominguez. Still the odds-on candidate at 3B, but needs to make his move.
Who do you see as the 2-3 players in the best position to establish themselves in the second half as an “everyday” player (pitcher or position player)?