#1 Carlos Correa (SS) - The 18-year-old phenom, the second youngest player in the Midwest League, led the league in OPS (.872), finished second in OBP (.405) and came in third with a .320 batting average. Defensively, he led the MWL shortstops in fielding percentage (.973). The Astros are moving Correa to the outfield, where he hasn't played since high school. Interesting, considering he is the best shortstop in the organization and how well George Springer is playing in center-field.
AH SCOUTING REPORT: Plus tools across the board, well above average arm and above average glove. A stud with All-Star potential, if he can keep his head on right. There isn't a sense of urgency within the GM's office to rush Correa to the Show.
MAJOR LEAGUE ETA: Early 2015 OVR - 7.5 Untouchable
#2 George Springer (CF) - Springer came close to bumping Correa out of the #1 spot. Last season he was the first minor league player since Grant Desme in 2009, to hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases in the same season, finishing the season hitting 37 homers and 45 stolen bases, between Double A Corpus Christi and Triple A Oklahoma City. The "Texas League Player of the Year", finished among the top five players in all the minors in runs (106), total bases (295), HR (37), RBI (108), SLG (.600) and OPS (1.010).
AH SCOUTING REPORT: Plus power, speed and defense with above average arm and is developing as a hitter. ahead of schedule. Projected as a potential 30/30 player, with 20/20 being a given.
MAJOR LEAGUE ETA: Mid 2015 OVR - 7.0 Untouchable
#3 Mark Appel (RHP) - The Astros 2013 first-round-draft pick, out of Stanford, had a very strong pro-debut. He posted a record of 3-1 with a 3.79 ERA, 33 K's and 9 walks across 38 combined innings between Class A Short Season Tri-City and Class A Quad Cities. August the 25th, he gave up just one earned run against Burlington and picked up the 5-1 victory, that clinched the playoff berth for the Quad Cities River Bandits.
AH SCOUTING REPORT: His fast ball is his best pitch with plus-plus potential, with a deadly slider that could be his go to pitch and a good changeup that is slightly above average. Projected as a #2 or #3 starter.
MAJOR LEAGUE ETA: Mid 2015 OVR 7.0
#4 Jon Singleton (1B) - Ranked by MLB.com as the top first base prospect in all of baseball, Singleton finished last season with his first stint at Triple A, where he hit 13 doubles and six home runs with 31 RBI in 73 games. He had a remarkable .402 on-base percentage over the last 32 games of the regular season.
AH SCOUTING REPORT: Some concerns about his drug abuse suspension, attitude and approach to the game overall, Plus Plus power, average hitter at best at the plate, his lack of speed, defense and a below average arm will limit him to playing 1B (platoon) and DH.
MAJOR LEAGUE ETA: Mid 2014 OVR 7.0
#5 Mike Foltynewicz (RHP) - It's hard to ignore Mike's 6-foot-4 frame, even harder his stuff and the numbers he posted last season. He went 6-3 with a 3.06 ERA and 124 strikeouts in 129.1 innings between the two levels. He posted a 2.87 ERA with the Hooks and earned Midseason and Postseason All-Star honors in the Texas League. The Texas League managers and coaches claimed that Foltynewicz had the "Best Pitching Prospect" with the "Best Fastball" and "Best Breaking Pitch" in Baseball's America's Best Tools Survey.. Stock is rising.
AH SCOUTING REPORT: Plus Plus fastball that can touch 100 MPH, he needs to work on his control and secondary pitches. Projected as a late inning reliever, maybe even a setup man or closer.
MAJOR LEAGUE ETA: 2015 OVR 7.0
#6 Lance McCullers (RHP) - The 20-year-old right-hander, the Astros first-round supplemental pick, 41st overall, pitched very well in his first professional season. The "2012 Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year", went 6-5 with a 3.18 ERA and ranked third in the Midwest League with 117 strike outs before getting shut down for the season after his August 15th start.
AH SCOUTING REPORT: He has plus-plus fast balls and one of the best sliders in the system. A changeup in the early development stages. Some concern about his delivery and mechanics. Here at AH, McCullers is projected to pitch out of the bullpen and is two years from the show. Stock is neutral.
MAJOR LEAGUE ETA: 2016 OVR 6.5
#7 Vincent Velasquez (RHP) - Another pitcher that is seeing his stock rising after the 2010 second round pick finished tied-2nd in the Midwest League with 123 strikeouts while leading the league in strikeouts per 9.0 innings (10.06). He went 9-4 with a 3.19 ERA in 25 innings for Quad Cities and was the team's "Pitcher of the Month" in April.
AH SCOUTING REPORT: A plus fast ball in the 90-95 range, with a plus changeup, needs to work on the breaking ball. He's already had his Tommy John surgery, something that seems to be a requirement if you want to pitch at the Major League level. His stock is rising and will continue to rise if he can develop at least an average breaking ball.
MAJOR LEAGUE ETA: Mid-2015 OVR 6.0
#8 Delino DeShields (2B) - Fans got a little nervous last season with DeShields, when the 2012 Astros "Minor League Player of the Year", got off to a slow start. He hit just .250 in April. After July, DeShields got hot and stayed hot the rest of the season, ranking 3rd among all Class A hitters with a .359 batting average. He finished the 2013 season, showing up on the CAL League leaderboards with a .317 batting average, 100 runs, 25 doubles, 14 triples, 5 homers, 51 stolen bases and a .405 on-base percentage. In 2012 he became the first player in the modern era in minor league ball to hit over 10 home runs and steal a 100 bases.
AH SCOUTING REPORT: His stock has dipped ever so slightly, because of some concern about his lapses in concentration, attitude and work ethic. It's gotten so bad, that he's fallen off of some industry "Top Prospect Rankings", including; ESPN.com, Baseball America & Baseball Prospectus, but the numbers he posted this past season, were good enough to keep him on this list. Prefer actual performance over potential. His speed is his greatest asset, power his weakest one, his other tools are borderline average.
MAJOR LEAGUE ETA: Late 2015 OVR 6.0 Potential Trade Bargaining Chip
#9 Josh Hader (LHP) - The Astros acquired this lanky 6-foot-3 left-hander last season at the trade deadline as part of the deal that sent RHP Bud Norris to the Orioles. He was on the mound to clinch the Midwest Championship title for Quad Cities. At crunch time, Hader allowed just one run in 14 innings pitched in the postseason. He has four pitches in his arsenal, a border line plus fastball (that jumped 3-4 MPH after his first pro season), a curve, slider and changeup. His has a sidewinder type of delivery that reminds a lot of people of major league pitcher Chris Sale. Hader may have the highest ceiling among left-handers in the Astros organization.
AH SCOUTING REPORT: Other than here at Hardball, Hader doesn't show up in any other "Top Ten" rankings that we are aware of, but the kid has put on some much needed weight last year and added a couple of miles-per-hour on his fastball. His secondary pitches are in the development stage. His has command of all his pitches.. He's typically projected at being a #3 or #4 starter. Even money is on him developing into a solid #3 starter.
MAJOR LEAGUE ETA: 2015 OVR 6.0
#10 Rio Ruiz (3B) - The Astros 2012 fourth round draft pick, is a plus defender with a strong accurate arm, with plus power potential. He got his A-game on in the second half of last season at Quad Cities, when the left-handed hitting third baseman hit .298 with 19 doubles, 8 home runs, 33 RBIs, (old school guys still think, BA, HR & RBI first), with an OPS of .894, in those 41 games. Here, his defense is ranked as serviceable, borderline average, as such he could see some time at DH and maybe even a move to first base.
AH SCOUTING REPORT: Ruiz has plus potential in both power and hitting as well as an above average arm. His glove and footwork at third needs work.
MAJOR LEAGUE ETA: 2016 OVR 5.5
On the bubble; Asher Wojciechowski (RHP), Andrew Thurman (RHP), Domingo Santana (OF), David Martinez (RHP), Kevin Chapman (LHP)