Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Astros Minor League Depth - Left Field

[4/13/14 UPDATE: Brandon Meredith has been converted to first base.]

In my ongoing series covering the Astros minor league depth, this week we're looking at outfielders. I will be dividing them into center, left and right based on where they played the most games in 2013, but most of the players spent time at more than one position.  I am sorting their 2013 stats according to on-base percentage with those who finished the season at Advanced A or higher shown first and Low A or short season players below. Today, we cover left fielders. (Here is my post on center fielders from earlier in the week.) I did not include Michael Burgess as he is currently a free agent unsigned by the Astros or Ruben Sosa who I will include in my utility players category.

Brandon Meredith had an excellent season in Lancaster, putting up excellent on-base numbers and ranking in the top 10 in the Astros system in terms of runs scored, home runs, RBI, walks and slugging percentage. He was the sixth round pick by the Astros in 2011 and just turned 24 in December.

Brandon Meredith - May 2013
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Leo Heras' stats include his time in the Mexican League before he was signed by Houston in August. He only appeared in ten games with the Hooks after the signing. Baseball America's Prospect Handbook for 2014 has Heras debuting at #25 in the Astros system, citing his good defense and his ability to hit for average against both RHP and LHP as assets. He will be 24 in May.

Leo Heras - September 2013
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Austin Wates, drafted in the third round in 2010, gets an incomplete for the season. After starting the season in Corpus Christi and then receiving a quick promotion to Oklahoma City in early May, Wates was hit by a pitch and suffered a fractured forearm that shut him down for the season on May 24th. Wates did appear in the Puerto Rican Winter League during the off-season, giving him a chance to shake off the rust. His biggest strength, when healthy, is hitting consistently for good average.

Danry Vasquez probably has the highest profile of those at the lower levels of the system. He came to Houston in the July 2013 Jose Veras trade and went from the #7 prospect in the Tigers system last year to the #29 prospect in the Astros system this year (mostly due to the depth in the Astros system). Baseball America sees him as a good pure hitter with fringy defense. He just turned 20 in January and definitely held his own in the Low A Midwest League both before and after the trade.

Marc Wik led the entire Astros minor league system in on-base percentage (but for one player who only appeared in two games). The 21st round 2012 draft pick sometimes struggled in 2012 due to a shoulder injury, but fared much better offensively in 2013 when he repeated at Greeneville. I look for the 21-year old Wik to develop more power as he matures as a hitter. Defensively, Wik is a solid player and had the versatility to play at all three outfield positions in 2013. Wik's Greeneville teammate Edwin Gomez played half of his 34 games at DH.

Jordan Scott, a 14th round pick in 2010, is a very capable defender, but has been unable to distinguish himself offensively in his two full seasons playing in Low A Lexington and Quad Cities. What he does have is speed. The 22-year old ranked fourth in the Astros system with 25 stolen bases and managed seven triples for the season as well.

Jon Kemmer was drafted in the 21st round in 2013 and spent his first professional season with the Tri-City team. He was very good defensively but struggled somewhat at the plate in his inaugural season.

Alexander Melendez, an 18-year old from Puerto Rico, had a solid first season with the Dominican Summer League team. He will turn 19 in April.

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