Wow, I think I might have inadvertently bummed out a few people with this post on Tuesday. That was most decidedly not my intention. I was just trying to help fans understand part of the reason the Astros bottomed out so badly in 2011. As far as I'm concerned, that is now ancient history as our farm system has been strengthened substantially by recent drafts, trades, waiver claims and free agent signings.
Those who have followed this blog for a while are probably sick of hearing this, but I will say it again. The Astros organization does not lack talent. The Astros organization lacks depth. The most obvious example of the depth issue is third base. The prior regime would not have put Jimmy Paredes at third base with virtually no experience at the position if there had been a viable alternative at the upper levels of the organization. That's not to say that Paredes isn't a very talented player, but his talents are more suited to the middle infield.
So, step away from that ledge please! In contrast to that dismal 2007 draft, I believe that there are still 14 players in the organization from the 2008 draft including Jason Castro, Jordan Lyles, J.B. Shuck and a number of high school drafted players like Ross Seaton who is still only 22. I also show 14 players from the 2009 draft, including J.D. Martinez, Dallas Keuchel, Jake Goebbert, Telvin Nash, Tanner Bushue and Jio Mier, among others. From 2010, I believe there are 26 players in the system with Chris Wallace, Jake Buchanan and Austin Wates having advanced the farthest. And the 2011 draft class is still virtually intact and just getting their feet wet, with George Springer having advanced the farthest.
That doesn't even count trade pieces Jarred Cosart, Jonathan Singleton, Kevin Chapman (and the PTBNL that has everyone speculating), Brett Oberholtzer, Paul Clemens, Josh Zeid, Henry Sosa, Juan Abreu, Jimmy Paredes, Jonthan Villar and others. Nor does it include Rule 5 picks or Latin American free agent signings or waiver claims.
A couple more years of good drafts and Latin American signings; smart trades and waiver claims; and effective development of existing talent will have the Astros farm system back in very good shape. The key is to never, ever, ever neglect the system again. No more win-now-at-all-costs attitude. Keep the faith. The worst is behind us and now the fun starts.