Houston Astros, MLB

MLB rumors: 5 prospects who can help the Astros in 2019

The Houston Astros have been great at developing prospects in recent years, and these five are the next looking to leave their mark on the organization this season.

The Houston Astros have become a model organization at developing young prospects in Major League Baseball. Led by general manager Jeff Luhnow, the team went from three straight 100-loss seasons to World Series champions in just three seasons due to the club’s revolutionary approach to analytics.

That approach has paid off in a big way. In the past few years, the team has drafted George Springer, Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman. They haven’t always succeeded with their picks (Brady Aiken and Mark Appel come to mind), but when they do the results have been spectacular, leading to back-to-back AL West titles.

The players currently on the big-league club aren’t the only ones that the Astros are counting on, however. The front office’s talent for identifying and developing prospects has continued, and these five players are the next generation of Astros to continue that legacy as soon as this season.

5. Myles Straw

It’s no secret what Myles Straw can bring to the Astros. His strength is speed, and plenty of it. The 24-year-old stole 70 bases in the minors last year while hitting .291. He led the Pacific Coast League with 35 steals despite spending just half the season there and was second in the Texas League. Straw’s speed allowed him to reach the majors last year, where he stole two bases in nine games for the Astros. He was brought on as a pinch runner twice in the ALDS against Cleveland and stole a base there, too.

Straw’s speed, though, comes with a downside. He has almost no power at the plate. In 411 career games in the minors, he hit only four home runs. Last year in 598 plate appearances split between AA and AAA he hit just one. He did hit a home run in his brief stint in the big leagues, though.

Straw is also an outstanding defensive center fielder, his speed allowing him to cover distance quickly. So it’s come as a surprise to him that the Astros are trying to convert him to shortstop this season. “It was a little shocking,” Straw told The Athletic. “I definitely get where they’re coming from, especially with the depth we have in the outfield. It makes me more valuable as a player, so I’m for it. If it’s going to help me develop, get me to where I need to be, I’m willing to do anything.”

A 12th round pick in 2015, Straw can play the same role with the Astros this year as he did in 2018: A late-inning defensive replacement and a pinch-runner who’s a threat to steal every time he’s on base.

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