Astros MiLB Position Review: Center Field
Now that the season is over we will review each position in the minor league system during the 2019 season. This week we will look at the center field position. I will focusing on guys who played the majority of their games at this position.
Previous Position Reviews:
Barber was the Astros 4th round in this year’s draft out of Pleasant Valley HS in Chico, CA. The lefty outfielder played for GCL following the draft and had a solid start to his pro career. In 28 games he posted a .780 OPS with a 130 wRC+. He also drew 19 walks in the 28 games for a 16.0 BB%. He finished the year strong slashing .316/.435/.456 over the final 16 games. This was good for a 160 wRC+. Barber will definitely be one to watch next season as he hopefully debuts in full season ball.
2019 Stats: 28 G, .263 BA/.387 OBP/.394 SLG, 5 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 2 SB, 130 wRC+
Ferguson has been in the system a while after being drafted in the 19th round in 2015. He has been a solid performer for his minor league career slashing .293/.394/.452 in 465 minor league games. Ferguson was drafted by the Giants in the run 5 draft in late 2018 but was cut prior to the season starting, which meant he was returned to the Astros. In 2019 Ferguson played at the AAA level and finished with a .836 OPS and 110 wRC+ in 115 games. He does a little bit of everything and provides solid depth in case of injury.
2019 Stats: 115 G, .281 BA/.395 OBP/.440 SLG, 19 2B, 6 3B, 11 HR, 57 RBI, 27 SB, 110 wRC+
Stevenson started the season in the Blue Jays system but was traded to the Astros in the Derek Fisher deal. He started the year in High-A and slashed .298/.388/.393 in 90 games before the trade. After the trade he hit just .247 but had 19 BB/13 SO and had a great .390 OBP. Overall he had a 134 wRC+ with both teams and posted great walk rate (14.1%) and strikeout rate (13.3%). He doesn’t have a ton of power but draws walks and doesn’t strikeout. A skillset that can carry guys to the bigs, kind of like Robbie Grossman.
2019 Stats: 113 G, .288 BA/.388 OBP/.384 SLG, 15 2B, 5 3B, 5 HR, 59 RBI, 13 SB, 134 wRC+
Adolph was another guy acquired by the Astros this year. He came over with Luis Santana in the J.D. Davis deal. He has a nice skillset and put some of that on display. Adolph began the year in Quad Cities and slashed .223/.354/.403 (125 wRC+). While the BA was low, the OBP and power numbers were decent. He was promoted to High-A where he finished the season with a .666 OPS (104 wRC+). Overall it was a solid season, but hopefully he will take a step forward in 2020.
2019 Stats: 114 G, .228 BA/.357 OBP/.366 SLG, 20 2B, 6 3B, 7 HR, 40 RBI, 11 SB, 117 wRC+
THE REST OF THE PACK
Dawson was a second round pick in 2nd round in 2016 and has yet to live up to expectations. Dawson started the year in AA and hit just .212 with .723 OPS. He did show some power with 20 2B and 17 HR in 103 games, but also struck out 30.7% of the time. He was promoted to AAA at the end of the season where he hit just .147 in 10 games (1 wRC+). He will be 25 in 2020.
2019 Stats: 113 G, .207 BA/.313 OBP/.385 SLG, 20 2B, 2 3B, 17 HR, 50 RBI, 13 SB, 96 wRC+
Meyers was a 13th round pick back in 2017 and has had a solid minor league career to this point. Meyers was assigned to High-A to start the season and played welling posting a .764 OPS (122 wRC+) in 87 games before being promoted to AA. There he struggled a bit with just a .570 OPS in 24 games. Overall he had a 110 wRC+. He will be 24 in 2020 and it appears the Astros are dedicated at playing him in CF right now as he played 95 games in CF in 2019.
2019 Stats: 111 G, .249 BA/.329 OBP/.395 SLG, 28 2B, 4 3B, 9 HR, 47 RBI, 12 SB, 110 wRC+
McKenna was one of my favorites following his 4th round selection by the Astros in 2018. His production following the draft was great, but dealt with a few injuries. He was dealing with some injuries early in the year but finally got on the field consistently in June. Unfortunately, he really struggled in the power department. While he hit .252, he slugged just .303 with 9 XBH in 65 games (90 wRC+). He is still just 22 years old.
2019 Stats: 65 G, .252 BA/.327 OBP/.303 SLG, 7 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 20 RBI, 7 SB, 90 wRC+
As you can see from the list above, the Astros have great depth in center field. While there may not be an elite prospect at CF, there are quite a few guys who have been solid. Barber probably has the highest potential at this position and will be one to watch. Seeing how Adolph and Stevenson perform as they get acclimated in the Astros system will be nice too. This position will be fun to watch in 2020.
**Photo Credit: Tammy Tucker**