The Houston Astros have been the worst team in Major League Baseball the past three seasons. Their minor league system, though, is stocked with elite talent.
The Astros are ranked as the top minor league system in baseball and have six players listed among Baseball America’s top 100 prospects, including three RedHawks.
“This is real exciting time, not only for these kids but instructors in the system,” said RedHawks interim manager Tom Lawless. “We have kids who probably will be major leaguers whether it’s with us or someone else. We have a basket full of talented players. It’s a great time to be part of this organization.”
The top prospect with the RedHawks is outfielder George Springer, who was a finalist for 2013 Minor League Player of the Year. While splitting time between Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Oklahoma City, Springer hit .303 with 37 homers and 45 stolen bases last season.
Springer is the Astros’ No. 2 prospect. Additional top 20 prospects on OKC’s roster include: flame-throwing right-hander Mike Foltynewicz (No. 4), first baseman Jon Singleton (No. 7), outfielder Domingo Santana (No. 8), catcher Max Stassi (No. 12) and pitchers Nick Tropeano (No. 18) and Jake Buchanan (No. 20).
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Springer said. “The goal for all of us is to get better every day and at some point hopefully we’re fortunate to go up (to the majors).”
The Astros have lost 111, 107 and 106 games the past three seasons, but their minor league affiliates have owned the best win-loss record the past two seasons.
“It’s unbelievable how much talent we have in the system,” said Stassi, who slammed 32 homers with a .333 on-base percentage the past two seasons. “We have talent at nearly every position and some great front-line starting pitching. It should help when we hopefully get to the big leagues together.”
Springer, Singleton and Foltynewicz are projected to join the Astros this season, possibly as early as May.
“They just have to continue to develop their skills,” Lawless said. “The big thing is to go out and compete day in and day out and refine things so that when they get to the big leagues they’re ready to contribute right away.”
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Astros top 20 prospects
(on RedHawks roster)
Rank, Pos., Player
2. OF George Springer
4. P Mike Foltynewicz
7. 1B Jon Singleton
8. OF Domingo Santana
12. C Max Stassi
18. P Nick Tropeano
20. P Jake Buchanan
Baseball America Top 100
Rank, pos. player (class)
7. SS Carlos Correa (Class A)
18. OF George Springer (Triple-A)
39. P Mark Appel (Class A)
59. P Mike Foltynewicz (Triple-A)
77. P Lance McCullers Jr. (Class A)
82. 1B Jon Singleton (Triple-A)