Houston Astros Top Three Center Field Prospects For 2017
This week we continue the top three prospects at each position with a look at the center field position. The outfield position is tough to rank since the Astros move so many of the outfield prospects around. For the purpose of this list, I will stick to the guys who have played primarily center field. The Astros system is very deep at the outfield positions.
1. Kyle Tucker (A+)
Most Astros fans knew the name “Tucker” prior to the 2015 draft thanks to Kyle’s older brother Preston. Kyle was the #5 overall pick in 2015 and he had a season to justify it. Coming out of the draft, Tucker was seen as one of the purest high school hitters available. He made his full season debut to open the year with Quad Cities. He didn’t have much around him but still managed to hit .276 with 6 HR, 56 RBI and surprising many with 31 stolen bases. He played the majority of his games this season in center field, a good sight to see as he hasn’t been relegated to the corners. He earned a promotion to Lancaster where he dominated hitting .339 with 3 HR, 13 RBI in 16 games helping Lancaster to the playoffs. Tucker’s calling card is his bat and, unlike most these days, he does a good job making contact. He also has some pop (with more to be expected) and solid speed. He will be just 20 in 2017 and should see time in Corpus.
2016 Stats: 117 G, .285 BA/.360 OBP/.438 SLG, 25 2B, 7 3B, 9 HR, 69 RBI, 32 SB, 50 BB/81 SO
2. Derek Fisher (AAA)
Fisher was drafted by the Astros in the supplemental round (37th overall) in 2014. He has one of the highest ceilings in the Astros system with a solid power/speed combination. After posting a very good 2015, Fisher followed it up with a solid 2016 campaign making his way to AAA. He started the season with Corpus Christi where he hit .266 with 13 HR, 57 BB in the first 81 games. He struggled a bit in July but eventually earned a promotion to AAA where he turned it up. In 27 AAA games Fisher hit .290 with 5 HR and 17 RBI. He finished with 21 HR and 28 SB while posting a .367 OBP between AA/AAA. While the average was a bit low, the .367 OBP and 21 HR/28 SB is nice to see. If he can make progress making contact we may see him in Houston in 2017.
2016 Stats: 129 G, .255 BA/.367 OBP/.448 SLG, 21 2B, 4 3B, 21 HR, 76 RBI, 28 SB, 83 BB/154 SO
3. Daz Cameron (A)
Cameron, the son of former big leaguer Mike Cameron, was the 37th overall pick in 2015. He showed off his tools in his first season stealing 24 bases in 51 games. Cameron started the 2017 season with Quad Cities but struggled early hitting just .143 in 21 games. He eventually joined Tri-City where he started to turn it around hitting .278 in 19 games. Unfortunately, he season ended after being hit by a pitch breaking his left index finger. At this point, most of Cameron’s ranking is justified on projections. He is well built at 6’2″ and 185 lbs. He has very good speed but is a good center field defender due to his reads and reactions. He also projects to have at least average power.
2016 Stats: 40 G, .212 BA/.287 OBP/.321 SLG, 5 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 20 RBI, 12 SB, 14 BB/59 SO
Jason Martin (A+) – Ranking the top three is tough, and I feel odd leaving Martin out. Martin was drafted in the 13th round of the 2013 draft and has steadily moved through the system. After spending the first couple seasons in rookie ball he hit .270 with 8 HR for Quad Cities in 2015. In 2016 Martin had a very good season hitting .270 with 23 HR, 75 RBI, and 20 SB in 110 games for Lancaster. Some are split on what outfield position he will play but in 2016 he played primarily center field. He is another power/speed combo and should play start the season with Corpus Christi in 2017.
Gilberto Celestino (Rookie) – Astros signed Celestino for $2.25M in 2015. Celestino was seen as one of the most polished prospects available with elite athleticism and instincts in center field. He has above average speed and a strong ability to hit for average and power. In his first taste of professional ball he started out playing for the DSL Astros where he hit .279 with .388 OBP and 25 BB/23 SO in 38 games. He also had 14 extra base hits in those 38 games. He got moved up to GCL Astros where he .200, though in just 18 games. He could start the 2017 season with Quad Cities.
Stephen Wrenn (A) – Wrenn was just drafted in 2016 but had a very good showing this season. He was seen as a very high potential pick but fell a bit due to an eye injury that hurt his season. He has legit 70 speed and is a solid defender. With Tri-City he hit .282 with 9 HR, 27 RBI, 8 SB in 36 games showing off his tools. Wrenn was then promoted to Quad Cities he finished hitting .236 with 3 HR and 12 RBI in 35 games. He has a chance to be another power/speed guy in the Astros system.
As you can tell just from reading this, the Astros system is stacked at the center field position. They have a good mix of high ceiling guys as well as guys with reasonable floors. The left field and right field positions are stacked as well. Guarantee the system will be pushing some outfielders up to the Astros in the coming years.
Top Three Prospects By Position
**Photo Credit: Ross Way Photography**