The Astros Top 20 Prospects In Transition
[Note: Post was revised to reflect that Jonathan Mayo will be updating his prospect list prior to the end of the 2012 season.]
A look at Jonathan Mayo’s current Top 20 Prospect list for the Astros is very revealing. When the season first started, there were two names on the list that came into the Astros organization via spring trades made by new GM Jeff Luhnow — LHP Kevin Chapman at #14 and RHP Kyle Weiland at #15. As of today, there are a total of seven names on the list that were added under Luhnow’s watch. And that doesn’t include the 2012 draft picks.
The other five players that Luhnow has added into the Top 20 are 3B Matt Dominquez at #4, RHP Joe Musgrove at #7, RHP Asher Wojciechowski at #11, LHP Rob Rasmussen at #13 and C Carlos Perez at #15. These inclusions have pushed Chapman and Weiland down to 19th and 20th, and pushed five other players off the list completely.
When Mayo revises his Top 20 prospects prior to the end of the 2012 season, look for some of the 2012 draft picks to make the list. It is almost certain that SS Carlos Correa, RHP Lance McCullers, and 3B Rio Ruiz will all make the list. And don’t count out the likes of SS Nolan Fontana, OF Andrew Aplin, OF Brett Phillips, OF Preston Tucker or even darkhorse candidates like RHP Aaron West and 2B Austin Elkins and others.
Is Jeff Luhnow poised, then, to completely dominate the Top 20 prospects? No, he is not. The top three since the beginning of the season, 1B Jon Singleton, RHP Jarred Cosart and OF George Springer, remain the top three. All three are having good seasons and all three will remain at or toward the top of the revised list barring any unforeseen circumstances. RHP Mike Foltynewicz at #6, 2B Delino DeShields, Jr. at #10 and RF Domingo Santana at #12 have had great seasons as they are coming of age and should remain on the list. SS Jonathan Villar, the current #5, recently broke his hand but should remain after a reasonably good season at AA Corpus Christi for the still raw 21-year old. Others from the pre-Luhnow regime that may make a push to get on the list include RHP Jason Stoffel, RHP Vincent Velasquez and RHP Adrian Houser while others try to prove they still belong.
So what exactly is my point, you may ask? When Jonathan Mayo puts pen to paper (or more accurately, keyboard to computer) in compiling his revised list of the Astros Top 20 Prospects, he will include a cross-section of prospects from earlier draft classes that are coming of age, such as Foltynewicz and DeShields. He will include prospects obtained in trades prior to this season, such as Singleton and Cosart. He will include 1st round draft picks, such as Springer and Correa. He will include lower round 2012 picks, such as McCullers and Ruiz. He will include players obtained in trades this season, such as Dominguez and Wojciechowski.
What he won’t include for the first time in a long time are any fringy prospects toward the bottom of the list. For the first time in a while, Mayo will have to really work to identify the 20 best prospects in the Astros system, and he won’t have to include any borderline names to round it off. The Astros Top 20 list will be a list that would instill pride in any organization. The infusion of talent into the system by Jeff Luhnow has complemented the talent he inherited, and has sewn the seeds of real depth in the Astros farm system. And that, my friends, has been a long time coming.