Some Good News From The Astros Farm

For everyone who's disappointed about the Astros farm system's production or the drafting of Delino DeShields, Jr. last season, Project Prospect has some encouraging news.

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The minor league analysis site run by Adam Foster recently posted a list of the top 10 teenage performers in the minor leagues. DDJ ranked in the top 10 in both extra-base hits and steals while Ruben Alaniz was in the top 10 for strikeouts.

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DDJ was in some elite company, too, being just one XBH behind Rangers stud prospect Jurickson Profar. 2010 No. 1 overall pick Bryce Harper is nine XBH's ahead of DDJ, but the Astros young second baseman is three off of third place on the list for power numbers. He's also five steals away from the lead there and has one more than Harper. His slash line isn't pretty, since he's hitting just .231, but his on-base percentage is quite a bit higher than the batting average. He needs to be more successful when he does attempt to steal, but overall, DDJ is having a fine season.

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As for Alaniz, he's fifth in strikeouts with 37, which trails leader Tyler Skaggs' 64, but is nine more than former Dodgers first-round pick Zach Lee. Alaniz, 19, wasn't even drafted by the team, signing as an undrafted free agent after a swine flu scare severely curtailed his senior season. Alaniz has a high ERA at 5.01, but he's only walked eight in 32 1/3 innings and has been hurt by a lot of home runs. After pitching out of the bullpen most of the year, he's been slotted into the rotation for four starts, including a 10-strikeout performance in 5 1/3 innings on May 13.

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It may not be much, but two more bright spots in the system adds to the growing depth down there. Hopefully, it's enough to convince a good GM to take over this team soon.

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