I know the title is somewhat misleading, and I wanted to clarify that the Astros don't currently have any prospects worthy of such high praise. However, with the recent news of 19 year old Mike Trout's call-up in Los Angeles, it got me thinking about some potential situations with the following Astros minor leaguers...
Most fans and followers of the Houston farm system know about Jose Altuve, the starting second baseman for the Corpus Christi Hooks (AA). Altuve has been mashing minor league pitching since he was signed in 2006 as an non-drafted free agent. He is currently batting .351 with the Hooks, and he hit .408 earlier this season with the Astros High-A affiliate, the Lancaster Jethawks. Altuve, still only 21 years old, has shown a nice power-speed combo with his game, but he's often criticized for his short stature (listed at 5'7). With Houston's current lack of 2B talent on the major league club, I think Altuve has a real shot at succeeding there in the future. With that being said, the front office is being careful with his situation in risk of prematurely calling him up.
Prediction: Keppinger gets traded, Angel Sanchez holds down 2B for a little while, and Altuve is a September call-up when the rosters expand. Why not give the little guy a chance?
J.D. Martinez is the starting left fielder for the Corpus Christi squad, and he was drafted back in 2009. Martinez is batting .333 right now with nine homers, and he's also in the midst of a nice ten game stretch (.436 with 5 home runs). He has shown decent power in the last couple of years, but I think he's going to be a solid doubles hitter that hits for a high average. He also seems to draw walks at a good rate, and his patience at the plate could pay major dividends down the road. Rated as the sixth-best prospect in the Houston minor league system, Martinez could be Carlos Lee's replacement in the long run.
Prediction: No one will take Carlos Lee off our hands, Martinez is another September call-up to the big leagues.
Aside from those two Double-A hitters, I don't foresee any shocking developments with the rest of the Astros prospects. J.B. Shuck (AAA) could be the guy that gets called up to play left field instead of Martinez, and Luis Durango might be someone else to keep an eye on.
Given that this season has quickly spiraled into a lost cause, the front office would provide a glimpse to the future by bringing up some of these young guys. We'll just have to wait and see because the July 31st trade deadline could be very telling in determining some of these potential call-ups.