Results tagged ‘ George Springer ’

Astros camp extras

The Astros prospect package is live! Here’s my report from Spring Training, their new Top 20 list and Bernie Pleskoff’s look at how the system addresses short- and long-term needs.

For your viewing pleasure, the video piece from camp as well:


Some good extras from my conversations, especially with GM Jeff Luhnow. I had one Q&A left over from my chat with George Springer:

Everyone talks about all the prospects in the Astros system. As a group, are you excited collectively to get to the big leagues and help turn things around?

Springer: As players and kids, the dream is to play professional baseball at the highest peak, to get there. At the same time, you still have to have the utmost respect for the guys who are in the clubhouse now, who have gone through the struggles, who’ve had success and not had success, guys like Castro, Altuve. That’s something to honor. As a player, it shows how they’re able to handle failure, adversity and success at the same time. I think for kids who are coming up, that’s something to look up to.

Now, on to my conversation with Luhnow. We’ll start with continuing on what he was saying in the story about wanting to maintain a top level system.

Luhnow: [We hope] we can consistently maintain it in the top 10-15. Obviously, as you graduate players to the big leagues, you lose some of that. I think we’re well-positioned to do that because we have an interesting system. We’ve got players that are top prospects that are both pitchers and position players. We also have players that are spread throughout the life cycle. We’ve got really good players in rookie ball, A ball, Double-A, Triple-A. They’re not all going to show up all at one time and then we’re going to have a barren system after that.

The other thing I think we’re counting on is our second tier prospects, if you will, being good major league players. When I was in charge of the Draft and player development in  St. Louis, there were a lot of players that were considered second-tier prospects, like Daniel Descalso, Jon Jay, Allan Craig, Lance Lynn, even. None of these guys ever made the Top 100 prospects. They were good players, performers in the Minor Leagues. Ultimately, those are the guys that created a ton of value when it came to the 2011 World Series and the last couple of years. I think we’re seeing a bunch of guys like that, that are sleepers in our mind. Guys like Preston Tucker, Nolan Fontana, guys that aren’t sexy because they don’t wow you with blinding speed or awesome power, but consistent performers that are going to go out and do the job. Brady Rodgers, Andrew Thurman, guys like that, who we feel are a big part of our system right now.

One of the biggest changes we’ve realized, in doing the Top 20, is how much more talent there is at 11-20. It used to be hard to come up with 20 guys, now players are being left off who are pretty good.

Luhnow: The depth is important to us. There are going to be injuries, there are going to be poor performances. That’s just part of the nature of what happens in baseball. Also, some guys are going to step up and surprise. Jonathan Meyer is a perfect example. He’s re-establishing himself. This is a big year for him. He’s either going to make himself into a Major League player or drop off people’s radar. Even those guys not on any list (he mentioned Jio Mier as one) still have the chance to bounce back. That’ll be fun to watch this year.

We talked about camp standouts and while I went with Preston Tucker in the story, Luhnow had a lot of good things to say about Mike Foltynewicz impressing in camp as well.

Luhnow: [Major League pitching coach Brent] Strom doesn’t have a lot of history with him and then you see a guy throwing 100, who’s got that good delivery and good mentality, it’s easy to be impressed with a guy like that. I do think he has the chance to break through that last barrier and get to the big leagues and be a pretty dominant pitcher. We balance the speed to the big leagues with role in the big leagues. He could probably get there quickly as a reliever, but we really feel we want to continue to give him the chance to be a starter. So far his outings have been pretty impressive.

He’s starting to develop a repertoire that’s effective. His curveball, you used to see it at times, it’s now becoming more consistent. He has a changeup that we spent a lot of time last year trying to convince him to throw it. When you throw 100, you don’t really want to throw a changeup that much, but he’s doing it and he’s having more success with it. As he develops the repertoire, he’s going to realize in Triple-A and in the big leagues that you need a full repertoire to get guys out. It’s not just about throwing gas.

And, finally, my One More Guy:

It has to be the guy who I listed as the camp standout, Preston Tucker. I really like the Allen Craig comp Luhnow made in terms of them both having been college senior signs, later in the Draft, who just went out and hit. Craig hit his way to the big leagues and an All-Star appearance. Whether Tucker can reach those heights remains to be seen, but his .303/.373/.506 so far as a pro is certainly a very good start.

Who’s next: The outfielders

The final positional list went up on Monday, and it was a doozy. The Top 10 outfielders is jam-packed with talent and the second 10 is probably better than the top 10 at some other positions. As always, you can read the story or go right to the list.

Nos. 11-15 in the outfield department is a very strong list, perhaps with only the RHP 11-15 list coming close to competing. Here it is:

Jorge Soler, Cubs
Brian Goodwin, Nationals
Rymer Liriano, Padres
George Springer, Astros
David Dahl, Rockies

I think the names speak for themselves. The next set of names shows you just how talent-laded the position is. Without giving it all away (you have to check out the Top 100 list tomorrow and all the team lists, after all!), names like Gregory Polanco, Courtney Hawkins and Jake Marisnick are not too far behind.

Looking forward to seeing/hearing/reading everyone’s reaction to the Top 100 tomorrow. Be sure to tune in to MLB Network or MLB.com at 9 p.m. ET. And we’ll be live tweeting during the show, using #mlbpipeline. We’ve got some great prospects lined up to participate: Taijuan Walker, Archie Bradley, Tyler Skaggs, Mike Zunino, Billy Hamilton, Mike Olt and Zack Wheeler (listed in no particular order). So be sure to join us there and interact with some of the game’s top prospects. And if you’re not doing so already, follow @MLBPipeline for all of your prospect info!

At some point tomorrow, I’ll be back with a scorecard of sorts of how all 30 teams fared in regards to placement on the Top 10 by position lists. Does it lead to any conlcusions? Not necessarily, but I always like to add more fodder for debate.

AFL Reports: A’s and Reds

The Oakland A’s AFL report focuses on Grant Green. The video report looks at Green, James Simmons and Max Stassi.

I haven’t posted the Reds’ AFL video report on here. This might surprise you, but it talks about Billy Hamilton, along with Didi Gregorius and Donald Lutz.

 

And here are your Stars of the Day for Friday and Saturday:

 

Friday: Astros prospect George Springer had a perfect day, going 3-for-3 with  a pair of homers and two walks. He went 20-30 during the regular season and after a homer on Monday, he has four homers and five steals this fall.

Saturday: I don’t often give a Star to a pitcher who gives up a run, but I’ll make an exception here. Robbie Erlin of the Padres gave up a run on five hits over four innings, but he didn’t walk anyone and he struck out eight. He’s now second in the AFL in strikeouts with 25.

AFL Report: Astros and a Yankee Star

The Houston Astros are up next, with intrepid reporter Brian McTaggart writing about new manager Bo Porter’s visit to his prospects in the AFL.

As always, here’s the video report, focusing on Jonathan Singleton, George Springer and Jarred Cosart.

Now, a look at Tuesday’s Star of the Day:

The Yankees’ Slade Heathcott hasn’t had the easiest path as a professional. No. 5 on the New York’s Top 20, the former first-rounder has had some issues on and off the field. Injuries have really hampered him (2 shoulder surgeries) and his career high in at-bats is just 351. So he’s really trying to make up for some lost time with Scottsdale this fall. He certainly did that on Tuesday, going 4-for-5 with a double, two triples and five RBIs. He’s hitting .275/.408/.400 over 11 AFL games (40 ABs). He’s really enjoyed hitting from the leadoff spot, with a .471 average in four games. And yes, he was in that slot on Tuesday.

AFL Star of the Day, Vol. 4 and 5

Hey all –

We’ll cover two days with one post, as long as there aren’t any objections.

First, for Friday’s action:

I’m declaring it a draw, an all-UConn day. There was shortstop Nick Ahmed of the Braves. The 2011 second round pick out of UConn went 3-for-3 with a double, two runs scored and four RBIs. He’s gone 5-for-9 in two AFL games to date after a solid first full season in the Carolina League that saw him steal 40 bases.

Then there’s the Astros’ George Springer. A 2011 first-round pick (No. 11 overall) also drove in four runs with a homer and a triple, going 2-for-3 with three runs scored. Springer was  a California League All-Star, putting up some big numbers, albeit in Lancaster (22 HR, 28 SB, .557 SLG). He earned a promotion up to Double-A, where he struggled a bit.

Ahmed, in case you were curious, is No. 10 on the Braves’ Top 20 Prospects list. Springer is No. 3 on the Astros’ Top 20 and No. 48 overall.

Now on to Saturday’s action:

 

It’s tempting to go with Mike Zunino of the Mariners. After all, how often does a catcher hit two triples in one game. But the real Start of the Day has to be Brock Kjeldgaard of the Brewers. The outfielder hit two homers and drove in three runs.  Kjeldgaard clearly has some pop — he hit 24 homers in 2011 — but took a step back in 2012. Could he be righting the ship in Arizona? He’s 4-for-7 with three homers and 4 RBIs in two games.

 

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