Houston Astros Top Three First Base Prospects For 2018
We continue our look at the top three prospects at each position moving to the second base position this week.
Top Three Prospects By Position:
1. Ryne Birk (AA)
Birk was the 13th round pick out of Texas A&M in 2016. In Birk’s junior year he hit .310 with 7 HR and 29 BB/34 K in 65 games. The lefty hit .293 in his first taste of professional baseball in 2016. This year Birk started out with Buies Creek and hit .274 with 8 HR, 47 RBI in 81 games. He was promoted to AA and hit just .246 but had 7 more homers, though he had just a .247 BABIP. This was Birk’s first full season and he finished with a .266 BA and 15 HR in 118 games. Overall he had a 111 wRC+ as a 22 year old between High-A and Double-A. He did a good job keeping the strikeouts down with a 17.2 K%.
2017 Stats: 118 G, .266 BA/.325 OBP/.430 SLG, 17 2B, 5 3B, 15 HR, 71 RBI, 6 SB, 36 BB/84 SO
2. Enmanuel Valdez (Rookie)
The Astros signed Valdez for $450,000 in 2015 out of the Dominican Republic. Scouts noted his line drive, contact approach at the plate and that showed this season. He had a solid debut in 2016 with a .784 OPS with 22 2B, 7 HR, 45 RBI and 42 BB/45 K in 76 games. The 18 year old made his stateside debut playing with GCL and Greeneville hitting a combined .217 with a .252 BABIP but had 23 BB/36 SO. Even with this lower BA he had a 106 wRC+. Valdez definitely has the highest potential of any of the second base prospects but he is still a long ways away.
2017 Stats: 45 G, .217 BA/.321 OBP/.395 SLG, 10 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 15 RBI, 4 SB, 23 BB/36 SO
3. Jack Mayfield (AAA)
The Astros signed Mayfield as an UDFA following the 2013 draft and he had defied the odds to this point. He bounced around the minors for a few years and had a very good 2015 but struggled in 2016. He responded in a big way in 2017 putting up his best pro season, though at 26 years old. Mayfield started the season with Corpus and .289 with 14 HR in 70 games. Mayfield was then promoted to AAA where he hit .273 with 6 HR. He played shorstop, second base, and third base for both squads. Overall he had a 121 wRC+ and showed solid power with the .500 SLG.
2017 Stats: 112 G, .283 BA/.327 OBP/.500 SLG, 28 2B, 20 HR, 67 RBI, 10 SB, 27 BB/87 SO
Rodrigo Ayarza (A+): Ayarza is an unknown in the system but put up some solid numbers this year between Low-A and High-A. Overall he hit .273 and showed off some power with the 20 doubles and 8 homers, despite the smaller frame (5’8″, 145 lbs). While he doesn’t walk much, he does a good job putting the bat on the ball.
**Photo Credit: Jayne Hansen**