Father of the blog, Chip Bailey sent me a note with the following link and a suggestion it might make a good subject to for my next post. It involves minor league rankings.
As you will notice those rankings show the Astros as #27 (a tick up from a preseason #28) out of 30 in the major leagues when ranking the farm systems. They show Forrest Whitley (at #21) as our only top 100 prospect and then they say, “The Astros emptied out what once was a formidable farm system with graduations and trades that won them one World Series and two pennants, and Whitley’s third consecutive lost season isn’t helping matters.”
To this analysis, I say “Balderdash”. What is my proof? Well, let’s go to the following Top 30 prospects list, which is compiled by the same people who ranked the Astros as the 27th best team as far as prospects go.
Now this list includes the following players, who are still considered prospects even though they have played some MLB ball.
- #2 Jose Urquidy – Mr. Urquidy showed very well in his short appearance in 2019, including a terrific start and win in Game 4 of the World Series. He would have been in the rotation except for a likely COVID/injury set back.
- #4 Bryan Abreu – In a short stack of 12 innings Abreu has put up a 1.50 ERA. He was taken off the active roster when the team went down to 28 players mostly due to control issues, but if he can work through his control issues (see Valdez, Framber) he looks like a potential mighty arm for the Astros
- #5 Cristian Javier – With the arm problems the Astros had at the beginning of this season, they needed someone to stand up in the rotation. And that someone was Cristian Javier, who has grabbed a starting spot and not let go. He has been very solid (3-1, 3.77 ERA) and has only allowed a .191 Batting average against to this point in the season.
- #12 Brandon Bielak – Yes, the last time we saw this young man he was being hammered twice. But he did do some good things in his first four appearances and gave the Astros three important wins on the season.
- #13 Enoli Paredes – Paredes has been used 13 times this season, almost always in high leverage situations and he has been solid with a 1-1 record and 3.27 ERA. Like many of his compadres, he walks too many hitters, but he has MLB tools.
- #24 Taylor Jones – In sporadic usage, he has struggled a bit (.190 BA/ .608 OPS) but this is only in 21 ABs. But he has had a few decent moments too. Anyways, look where Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker were after 21 major league at bats.
- #28 Blake Taylor – Like Paredes, he has been used often and in very important situations. He has had a couple slip-ups but his 1-1 record including a save and a 1.15 ERA show the type of assistance he has been to the big club.
- #30 Nivaldo Rodriguez – Of the guys on the top 30 list that have played this year, Rodriquez (in only 4 innings) was the only one who looked totally overmatched.
Non-Top 30 prospects contributions
- Andre Scrubb – The 25-year-old was not on the prospects list likely due to age, but he has been very good (don’t look at his walks) since coming up. His curveball does not always find the zone, but when it does it rarely gets hit. In his 13 innings he has only given up one run (0.68 ERA) and has been brought in often and late for this team.
- Brandon Bailey – He showed well in five appearances and 7.2 IP (2.45 ERA) and fans are looking forward to seeing more from him in the future.
- Humberto Castellanos and Carlos Sanabria were not very effective in a handful of appearances, but they are still young, 22 and 23 years old respectively.
Of course, this does not even touch on those prospects yet to come, that folks like GoStros have pointed out to us on the blog. Players like Brett Conine, Jairo Solis and others.
My question to the mlb.com folks is this….if this team has the 27th best prospects in the sport, how could they be getting solid contributions from so many of those prospects at the major league level? No answer? I thought not.