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Another Minor League Check-In: How About Austin Wates?

Many of the Astros prospects at high-A Lancaster are crushing the ball. You may have heard of Jose Altuve's exploits already. But one that isn't really doing much with the bat yet is third-rounder Austin Wates. Wates is hitting just .267/.339/.381 so far, and while that doesn't sound too bad, you have to keep in mind that everyone at Lancaster crushes the ball. It's one of the biggest hitters parks in the minors. The Astros won't even send their good pitching prospects to it for fear of ruining their confidence. Not to worry though, because John Sickels thinks Wates will eventually break out:

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Houston Astros prospect Austin Wates was drafted in the third round last June from Virginia Tech. Although he's not quite on the same level as Gose or Fuentes, he is a good athlete in his own right with above average speed, strength, and enough range to play center field. Wates has solid command of the strike zone and has a 12/14 BB/K in 118 plate appearances for High-A Lancaster this year, but his swing doesn't translate his wiry strength to power effectively, and scouts don't see a ton of power in his bat. He's hitting .267/.339/.381 so far, not too impressive, though he has a strong track record with wooden bats in the past and the sample is small. He's swiped six bases in eight attempts, and I think he's capable of hitting much better than he's done so far at Lancaster.

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So there you have it, Wates will eventually be the heir to Michael Bourn! ...Maybe. Well, it's not out of the picture yet. That's the important thing.

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