Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Astros Minor League Depth - Left Fielders

As Spring Training approaches, I've been looking at the Astros minor league depth, position by position. Today, we look at the left fielders in the organization who had the best seasons in 2012.

Austin Wates - Corpus Christi June 2012
Photo by Jayne Hansen

The embedded chart shows left fielders in the organization ranked from high to low in terms of OPS. I have noted their current age, the last level at which they played and, if they spent significant time at multiple positions, that information is included as well. I am not including players such as J.D. Martinez and Fernando Martinez who spent substantial time on the major league roster in 2012.

Marc Krauss leads the list in terms of OPS. He simply dominated in his brief time at Corpus Christi after coming into the organization in the Chris Johnson trade with two doubles, five home runs and 16 RBI in only seven games. He was promptly promoted to Oklahoma City where he struggled at the end of a long season.

After a disappointing injury-beset first season in 2011, Brandon Meredith showed us what he can do when healthy. The power that we had hoped for when he was drafted in the sixth round in 2011 was on full display. I am eager to see what he can do in a full 140 game season in 2013.

Austin Wates just continued to do what he's always done -- hit. He inched up in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging over his 2011 numbers, erasing any doubts that his Lancaster numbers wouldn't translate to Corpus Christi. Now, he just needs to stay healthy in 2013.

Grant Hogue missed large chunks of the season due to injury but what he accomplished in 43 games, including 27 stolen bases, was remarkable. Chris Epps was one of the players to fill in for the injured when he was called up from Lexington to Lancaster and had a solid season both offensively and defensively.

Telvin Nash may have hit 29 home runs, but he also struck out 198 times and only drove in 75 runs. That is not a formula for long-term success as better and better pitchers exploit the holes in his swing. He will need to make adjustments in 2013 in order to continue his progress in the system. If he can make those adjustments, he could very well be a very effective DH.

Terrell Joyce had a good solid debut season offensively, but he will need to work on his defense in order to become a better all-around prospect.

There are a few other left fielders that I will be keeping an eye on in 2013. Dan Gulbransen showed promise in his first season, displaying some good power potential. He will simply need to be more consistent at the plate. If Wallace Gonzalez can cut down on the strikeouts in 2013, he could have a breakthrough year. Marc Wik is pretty much an unknown quantity for me, but it is my understanding that the 21st round draft pick was not even close to being 100% healthy in 2012. And finally, I am looking for Jordan Scott to regain his 2011 mojo at the plate and have a good season.

Coming Wednesday: Center Fielders

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