The Under 27 Houston Astros
Sometimes my mind wanders to random questions. Today's random question is:
How good would a team of Astros organizational players be if one were limited to a team of players younger than Jake Meyers who turns 27 next month?
The first concept was players 27 or less but I made the arbitrary and unfair decision to exclude Jake. You will see why in a minute. This has been brewing in my mind since watching the Hooks play here in San Antonio. A lot of the top prospects with the highest ceilings are on the Hooks.
I compiled a list of Astros prospects from MLBpipeline.com, BaseballAmerica.com, and AstrosFuture.com. I would highly recommend the Astros Future site and I expect they could tell me where I get this wrong.
I have this sorted on the players that show up on the most lists with the best rankings. I have taken Hunter Brown and Yainer Diaz off the prospect list for all rankings. This ends up with 36 players on the total list. There are 22 position players and 14 pitchers.
You will notice that the top six prospects are position players and five of those are outfielders.
In the organization there are 11 players under 27 who have major league experience.
So, if we take the best of the younger than Meyers Astros and the most MLB ready prospects what would that look like for 2023? When trying to assemble the best team to compete today, I have used the wRC+ projected for 2023 as the tie braker. I also made sure to take all positions covered with starters and backups.
Here are my 2023 under 27 Astros position players with the batting order and positions for each:
This a fascinating group. Gilbert (CF), Dirden (LF), Loperfido (2B), and Wagner (3B) all slot in to start on this team. Both Lee (C) and Diaz (1B) start with Diaz getting some starts at catcher.
Barber and Leon are the primary OF bench with Leon also backing up 2B. Berryhill backs up 1B and is a third catcher. Kessinger is the new Hensley backing up the IF spots.
Notice all of the LEFTY bats!
If one allocates the PA per what I have shown with the projected wRC+, this team would be projected to a 100 wRC+ (15th in MLB). The actual 2023 Astros currently have a 94 wRC+.
Wait a minute.
THIS team of young players that are on the Astros, Sugar Land, AND Corpus Christi would project to be better hitting today than the ACTUAL Astros have been this year.
That is crazy and speaks to the strength of the position players in the Astros system. Remember that when demanding the Astros upgrade the batting with trades and free agents.
Since only 14 of the top prospects are pitchers, the picture for the pitching looks quite different. Can the Astros continue to develop pitchers seemingly out of the blue? We shall see.
Here are my 2023 under 27 Astros pitchers with their roles:
The Astros pitching staff is decimated when you remove every pitcher older than 27. Only Javier, Brown, Garcia (despite injury I set at 140 IP), and Abreu are the only pitchers with MLB experience.
I set this lineup based in FIP. I included Whitley only because if I didn't, I know people would ask. You might expect to see Dubin, France, Gage, Blanco, and Muchinski on this team. All are too old.
There are a lot of marginal pitchers here. The top prospects Tamarez, Gordon, Arrighetti, and Melendez are all younger and MIGHT be ready in 2024 but not really in 2023.
Notice of the 22 pitchers projected here only two are lefties. Remember that when it is MLB draft time.
If one allocates the innings per what I have shown with the projected FIP, this team would be projected to a 4.56 FIP (23rd in MLB). The actual 2023 Astros currently have a 3.71 FIP. The fact that THIS group of pitchers would project to have a better FIP than eight current teams in the MLB says more about the state of pitching in the MLB that it does this group.
With an average pitching and lower third pitching this team is probably winning 65 to 73 games this year. That would have been a nice season in 2013 when the Astros were in the let the kids play mode.
Let me know what you think.
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