Astros Top Prospects For 2018: No 20-11
With the regular season right around the corner, and the top prospects by each position completed, its time to update the top 30 prospects. Yesterday numbers 30-21 were released, which can be found here. Numbers 20-11 are below.
20. Drew Ferguson, OF
Current Level: AAA
Ferguson has flown under the radar during his Astros career, most likely due to draft position (19th round) and age (now 25) but he has produced at every level. In 2017 he started the season with Corpus Christi and hit .292 with 18 2B, 8 HR, 15 SB in 84 games, good for a 133 wRC+. He was promoted to AAA and hit just .223 but maintained solid walk and strikeout numbers. He has a little power and some speed so it will be interesting to see what he can do in the PCL. So far in his career, he has shown the ability to hit for average and show some pop. Ferguson also mentioned in this interview, that he has always been interested in analytics so the Astros were a great fit for him.
2017 Stats: 113 G, .275 BA/.369 OBP/.400 SLG, 25 2B, 9 HR, 41 RBI, 18 SB, 57 BB/98 K
19. Cristian Javier, RHP
Current Level: A
Javier is a bit of an unknown in the Astros system but he has been dominant over his brief career. His first year in the Astros system, 2015, he had a 2.13 ERA in the DSL. In 2016 between the GCL and Greeneville he had a 2.29 ERA. Javier started the season with Tri-City after a couple of outings with Buies Creek early on. He had 24 K in 16.2 innings with Tri-City earning him a promotion to Quad Cities where he posted a 2.39 ERA and 47 K in 37.2 innings. His stuff is good but has an advanced pitchability that allows him to dominate at the lower levels. Next year will be a big test for him as him moved to High-A and Double-A.
2017 Stats: 3-0, 2.25 ERA, 60.0 IP, 38 H, 15 ER, 27 BB, 80 K, 12.0 K/9
18. Garrett Stubbs, C
Current Level: AAA
Stubbs was drafted by the Astros out of USC in 2015. He was known as a great defender but has really made good strides with the bat all the way up to 2017. Stubbs put together a breakout 2016 season which saw him slash .304/.391/.469 with 10 HR, 15 SB in 84 games between A+/AA. Unfortunately, he didn’t hit as well in 2017. He started the 2017 season with Corpus and missed some time early with a hamstring injury. He came back strong in April but struggled to get his BA up in the following months. He still posted an exceptional walk to strikeout ratio despite the low BA in AA (32 BB/44 SO). He was eventually promoted to AAA where he finished out the season. Stubbs is 24 years old and will need a solid 2018 to put himself in a position for a callup.
2017 Stats: 98 G, .232 BA/.328 OBP/.321 SLG, 18 2B, 4 HR, 37 RBI, 43 BB/59 SO
17. Myles Straw, OF
Current Level: AA
Straw had somewhat of a breakout prospect in 2016 when he hit .374 in 68 games for Quad Cities (.358 overall). Straw started the 2017 season with Buies Creek and continued to swing the bat well hitting .295 with a .412 OBP in 114 games for BC. He posted a phenomenal 16.3 BB% and 13.1 K%. Straw is also one of the fastest runners in the Astros system and he showed it on the bases in 2017 stealing 36 bases for Buies Creek. He was promoted to AA and played in 13 games there hitting .239 with a .340 OBP. Overall he had 94 BB/79 SO and was 38/47 in SB in 127 games. He is good defensively and should be able to stick in center field with his mix of speed and defense.
2017 Stats: 127 G, .290 BA/.405 OBP/.360 SLG, 17 2B, 7 3B, 1 HR, 44 RBI, 38 SB, 94 BB/79 SO
16. Jairo Solis, RHP
Current Level: Rookie
Solid kind of popped up out of nowhere last season. He was signed by the Astros for $450,000 in 2016 out of Venezuela. He made his debut in the Dominican Summer League and had a 2.73 ERA with 8 BB/28 K in 26.1 IP. The Astros aggressively promoted him stateside at just 17 to GCL. There he pitched in 21 innings with a 3.00 ERA and 24 K. He was promoted again to Greeneville where he had a 1.93 ERA. Overall, he had a 2.64 ERA and 69 K in 61.1 innings at just 17 years old. Right now his fastball is around 93-94, touching 96, but could still see more velocity as he matures. He also has a slider that could be plus and is a very good athlete on the mound.
2017 Stats: 3-2, 2.64 ERA, 61.1 IP, 51 H, 21 BB, 69 K, 10.1 K/9
15. Gilberto Celestino, OF
Current Level: Rookie
The Astros signed Celestino for $2.5 million back in 2015 and was the #7 international prospect that year according to MLB. Celestino is very athletic and a good defender in CF. In 2017 he played for the Greeneville Astros and hit .262 but showed some of his offensive tools with 10 2B, 4 HR in 59 games. Baseball America rated Celestino’s arm as the best defensive arm in the Astros system. He has above average tools in his arm, speed, and glove (BP) and while he doesn’t have a ton of power, he still has room to grow. He will be 19 in 2018 and should start with Quad Cities.
2017 Stats: 59 G, .268 BA/.331 OBP/.379 SLG, 10 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 24 RBI, 10 SB, 22 BB/59 SO
14. Hector Perez, RHP
Current Level: A+
Perez was signed by the Astros in 2014 out of the Dominican Republic. He has good stuff but has yet to really harness it. He started the season with Quad Cities and had a 2.50 ERA with 24 K in 18 innings. Perez was promoted to Buies Creek where he had a 3.63 ERA in 89.1 innings with 104 K. Unfortunately that came with 67 walks, good for 6.8 BB/9. Perez has a power fastball sitting in the mid to upper 90s and a very good slider. He also has a curveball and changeup, though they aren’t dominant yet. Perez has the swing and miss stuff but will have to be more consistent throwing strikes as he moves up to higher levels.
2017 Stats: 7-6, 3.44 ERA, 107.1 IP, 78 H, 41 ER, 78 BB, 128 K, 10.7 K/9
13. Ronnie Dawson, OF
Current Level: A+
Dawson was a 2nd round pick out of Ohio State in 2016. After dominating his junior year in college many expected him to be a fast mover in the system. Unfortunately, his 2017 season started very slow hitting just .217 with 5 HR in the 61 first half games (89 wRC+). He really turned it up in the second half though hitting .330 with 11 2B, 9 HR in 55 second half games (169 wRC+) with Quad Cities before being promoted to A+. He finished the season hitting .327 in 13 High-A games and a combined 128 wRC+ overall. Overall he had a solid 10.5 BB% and added 18 stolen bases. It turned out to be a very good first full season for Dawson.
2017 Stats: 129 G, .278 BA/.363 OBP/.437 SLG, 26 2B, 5 3B, 14 HR, 67 RBI, 18 SB, 59 BB/110 SO
12. Joe Perez, 3B
Current Level: N/A
Joe Perez was the Astros 2nd round pick (53rd overall) in 2017. He was highly thought of as a starting pitcher but it was known he would need Tommy John surgery. However, the Astros drafted him as a third baseman. As an hitter, he possesses huge power and is a good enough athlete that he should stay at third. Perez did indeed have surgery right after signing with the Astros but he should be ready to roll in 2018. He was also drafted at just 17 years old, making him a year younger than the average high schooler, so he actually won’t lose any development time compared to the normal high school prospect.
2017 Stats: N/A
11. Corbin Martin, RHP
Current Level: A-
Martin was drafted out of Texas A&M. Martin was a very interesting pick as many scouts were torn on him and where he would go in the draft. He struggled with command at times leading some to think he will be a reliever. He pitched well as a starter for the Astros though this year posting a 2.20 ERA with 9 BB/43 K in 32.2 innings. He has a mid to high 90s fastball but dialed it down a bit as a starter. His curveball is a plus off-speed offering and is more of a power type curve. He also has a changeup that is still developing. He has the tools to be a starter, its just a matter of commanding his pitches. At this point, there is no reason to assume he is a reliever.
2017 Stats: 0-1, 2.20 ERA, 32.2 IP, 20 H, 9 BB, 43 K, 11.8 K/9
**Photo Credit: Richard Guill**