Baseball America published its Top 100 prospects list today. The Astros have two guys listed: Jordan Lyles at 42 and short stop Jonathan Villar at 94. Lyles Best Tool is listed as his changeup, which BA rates as a 70 on a 0-80 scouting scale. Similarly, Villar's best skill is his speed, which was also rated at 70.â†µ
There are a couple of ways to read this. Most people will look at Lyles' relative low rank and see that as a negative about the Astros system. After all, Lyles is two spots behind Brett Lawrie, who highlighted the Shaun Marcum deal this winter. He was considered the top player in the Brewers system before that, but Milwaukee also had one of the weakest farm systems in the league. Basically, it's not really encouraging.â†µ
However, the reason Lyles isn't ranked higher is based on his velocity. There are too many people who think he can't throw hard and, as such, won't miss enough bats to be a top of the rotation guy. I think that's crazy to believe at this point. We don't know what Lyles is throwing. We don't know if the Astros organizationally wanted him to slack off on his velocity to worry about his control. We don't know how he'll perform at even Triple-A yet.â†µ
But, that's how BA ranks players. They go on scouting consensus. That's why guys like Deck McGwire, Christian Colon and Josh Sale (all 2010 draftees who have yet to show much in the minors) are suddenly in the Top 100. You have to be toolsy and a consensus guy to make their list. The players the Astros draft are not that. It doesn't mean they won't be just as good or have just as many prospects bust. It just means that they most likely won't be ranked highly unless they start putting up silly numbers in the minors.