In 2013 Houston will be part of the AL West so we will include them here. The Seattle Mariners continue to rebuild and this year it has started to pay off. They are tied with the Colorado Rockies for the most post season award winners. Can it compete against the resouces of both the Texas Rangers and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim? The Oakland Athletics continue to amaze, winning with young players and minimum budget. Houston will take awhile before they can compete in this division, but they have some position players who can play.
It may not be an advantage for Houston to compete in the AL West. Beside the two hour geographical difference, the Division they are leaving has only the Chicago Cubs to put up the resources of the Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers, though the St. Louis Cardinals attendance has been boosting their payroll. It may take them a few years before they are competetive in this division. Will fans stay glued past midnight to their televisions when Houston is on a west coast road trip? Most of their post season awards players are at the lower levels.
Marc Krauss OF AA - The Astros traded their third baseman Chris Johnson for Marc and slugger Bobby Borchering. Marc will need to hit for a little more power than he has shown (.293, 20, 87) if he is to overcome his defensive issues in left field. He lacks the speed to cover a lot of ground.
Austin Wates OF AA - A third round pick in 2010 Austin has hit .300 at every level he has played in his three year professional career. Wates has yet to show any power (.304, 7, 48) and his stolen base success rate was poor (17 for 28). He does have more speed than Krauss and could make it as a centerfielder, but lacks the rifle to play right.
Jonathan Singleton DH AA - Myworld expected a bigger guy but perhaps his thickness masks his 6′2″ frame. He has played some outfield to get his bat in the lineup, but his best position is first base. He hit .284, 21, 79 and drew a lot of walks (88). One of the hauls for Hunter Pence.
Jose Martinez Utl AA - The fact that his best position is second base and he is four years older than Jose Altuve does not give him much of a future in Houston. He did show some pop, hitting .304 with 13 homeruns and 75 RBIs. He was initially signed by the Cardinals out of Venezuela, a country the Astros used to own.
Jason Stoffel RP AA - Jason was acquired from the Giants for Jeff Keppinger, a hitter who feasts on lefthanders. Jason happens to be righthanded and picked up 27 saves with a 2.33 ERA. He has yet to get a start in his professional career.
George Springer OF Hi A - George was the Astros 2011 first round pick. He has the potential to be a five tool player. George was voted the best defensive outfielder in the California League and hit .316, 22, 82 with 28 stolen bases. If he wants to continue to hit for a high average he needs to lesson his whiffs (131).
Delino DeShields 2B Low A - Another first rounder, Delino was drafted in 2010. Like his dad, his forte is the stolen base. His 101 stolen base season got buried in the back pages of baseball blogs because of Billy Hamilton. He hit .298, 10, 52 and his 70 walks gave him an OPS of .401. This was quite an improvement from his .220 average the previous year in the South Atlantic League.
Mike Foltynewicz SP Low A - Mike was another first round pick in 2010, drafted after Delino. He was 14-4, 3.14 but lacks swing and miss stuff and walks over three hitters per nine innings. His best bet will be to make it in the back end of the Astros rotation. In 2010 he was rated as having the best fastball in the system but with improved depth he has now fallen far back in that departement.
Jean Batiste SS rookie - The Dominican had a nice year hitting .321, 6, 36 in the Appalachian League. Promoted to a full season league he hit .306 in minimal at bats. He will have to show more patience as he rises up the ladder. In his two years he has a 14/81 walk to whiff ratio.
Brian Blasik Utl rookie - An undrafted free agent, Brian hit .318, 1, 43. Those are a lot of RBIs for only one homerun.
Darwin Rivera 3B rookie - A Dominican signing Darwin hit .310, 4, 29.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
The Angels will rarely have a lot to work from with their free agent signings sacrificing draft picks. They had a nice haul in 2009 with their own free agents departing, Mike Trout being one of five first rounders or supplemental first rounders taken in the draft. With the current rules obtaining extra first round picks may not be so easy.
A.J. Schugel SP AA - A.J. was converted to pitcher after being a third baseman in high school and junior college. He is not a high velocity guy but gets outs (6-8, 2,89).
C.J. Cron 1B Hi A - He had some knee issues last year but still hit 13 homeruns in 34 games. He skipped Low A and went straight to the California League where he hit .293, 27, 127. Tremendous power without the strikeouts.
Taylor Lindsay 2B Hi A - The Angels also had five first round or supplemental picks in 2010 and Taylor was one of those supplementals. After hitting .362 last year in rookie ball he also skipped Low A and went straight to the California League hitting .289, 9, 58.
Wade Hinkle 1B rookie - The late 2012 pick (27) impressed with his .338, 15, 57 and 1.029 OPS. He is only 6′0″ so he is not a big slugger but at 225 he carries some weight.
Wendell Soto SS rookie - A slow developing third round 2010 pick may have put himself on the prospect map with his .329, 4, 37 season. Prior to that his career average was below .250.
Joel Capote OF rookie - Another late 2012 pick (28) who shined in rookie ball hitting .335, 4, 33. He had more walks than stolen bases (35/33) but still needs to work on the stolen base (8 for 18).
Mike Snyder DH rookie - A late 2012 pick hit .332, 8, 59. He played third base for Orem.
Gabriel Perez SP rookie - Not big in the international market, Gabriel saw his first games in the States after toiling in the Dominican Summer League for three years. He went 8-1, 5.06 with a big offense hitting behind him to score him runs. He was not overpowering, giving up as many hits (80) as innings pitched (80)
The Athletics built up their minor league system by trading a number of veteran players and are still making a play for one of the wild card spots. The future looks bright for the Athletics. Despite their improved minor league system not a lot of respect in the all star voting except at the lower levels.
Dan Straily SP AA - Add in his 21 major league strikeouts and Dan has a 200 plus strikeout season. He showed excellent control in AA and AAA. Despite a strikeout rate of more than one per inning for his first three years in the minor leagues he did not make any prospect list.
Addison Russell SS rookie - The first round 2012 pick hit over .300 at all three levels, ending at Low A. He hit .415, 6, 29 to get the Arizona post season league accolades. Overall he hit .369 in 217 at bats. Voted the top prospect in Arizona League.
Renato Nunez DH rookie - The Venezuelan teenager hit .325, 4, 42 in Arizona League. The Athletics signed him for $2.2 million in 2010 and he appears to be earning his keep. He carries power potential.
Dakota Bacus SP rookie - A ninth round 2012 pick, Dakota went 3-0, 1.20 with seven saves in 18 appearances, one of them a start. The opposition hit him at a .119 clip.
Seattle has been one of the more prolific teams when signing international players. They are also in a rebuilding mode and appear to have some promising players percolating in the minor league system. Most of them appear to be a couple years away, but some should start seeing major league time in 2013. Despite all the international deals most of the players below were drafted.
Jesus Sucre C AA - Noted more for his defense, Jesus showed he can supply a little offense with a .271 average. He has very little power and a .634 OPS will limit him to a backup at best.
Brandon Maurer SP AA - Not to be confused with Brandon Morrow. This Brandon went 9-2, 3.20. He can hit the mid-90s with his fastball but does not miss many bats.
Carter Capps RP AA - Carter was rewarded with some major league time after his 1.20 ERA and 19 saves in AA. He struck out 13 hitters per nine innings with his high 90s fastball.
John Hicks C Hi A - Hit .312 with 15 homeruns, stealing 22 bases. He does not have great tools but he knows how to enhance them.
Leon Landry OF Hi A - Leon was acquired from the Dodgers for Brandon League, who was a disappointment for the Mariners after trading Brandon Morrow to acquire him. Leon hit for the cycle once he was acquired and overall hit .341 in the California League, hitting 34 doubles, 18 triples, 13 homeruns and stealing 27 bases.
Steve Proscia Utl Hi A - The third baseman slugged .567 with his 24 homeruns, driving in 94. Add in his 9 RBIs from AA and he had a 100 RBI season. He hit .333.
Roenis Elias SP Hi A - The 2010 Cuban defector had a nice first full season, getting in 26 starts for a 11-6, 3.76. The lefthander is supposed to have a pretty good curveball and at 24 needs to move quickly to be considered a prospect.
Mike Zunino C rookie - The third overall pick in 2012 hit .373, 10, 35, putting together a 1.210 OPS. This led to a promotion to AA where he hit .333 in over 50 at bats. The majors may not be far away.
Taylor Ard 1B/DH rookie - A seventh round 2012 pick, the third straight year he was drafted, Taylor hit 12 homeruns for a .853 OPS.
Patrick Kivlehan 3B rookie - His .301, 12, 52 numbers got him the MVP of the Northwest Leage. He also had a 19/93 walk to whiff ratio. An impressive 14 for 15 in stolen bases, especially for one who plays the hot corner.
Tyler Marlette C rookie - Had a solid .284 season with five homeruns, but with Mike Zunino ahead of him may not get an opportunity with the Mariners.
Dario Pizzano OF rookie - Dario hit a sizzling .356 with a .953 OPS in his first year of professional ball. Seems to be more suited for a corner outfield slot.
Tyler Pike SP rookie - The supplemental third round 2012 pick had an excellent professional debut going 2-1, 1.78 in eleven starts. He was voted the 18th best prospect in the Arizona League.
The Rangers have perhaps the best prospect for 2013 in the minor leagues in Jurickson Profar. Winning has dropped them down in the domestic draft so they have put an increased emphasis in the international market.
Mike Olt 3B AA - He may have to move to first base or an outfield corner with Adrian Beltre at third. Olt is ready for the majors with his .288, 28, 82 production in AA. He was voted the best power prospect in the Texas League.
Jurickson Profar SS AA - He will be the best prospect in baseball in 2013. The shortstop from Curacao hit .281, 14, 62 in AA. He may have to move to second base with Elvis Andrus at short, but many think Jurickson displays better defensive tools. He was voted the best defensive shortstop in the Texas League this year.
Engel Beltre OF AA - Currently playing for Spain in the qualifying round for the World Baseball Classic. Next year he could be playing for the Dominican Republic. Engel hit 17 triples in his third season in the Texas League, hitting .261 with 13 homeruns. His OPS went from .585 in 2011 to .727 in 2012. Voted the best defensive outfielder in 2012.
Barret Loux SP AA - A gift of the Diamondbacks, who drafted him with their first pick in 2010 but didn’t sign him and made him a free agent out of an injury concern. Barrett seemed healthy in AA going 14-1, 3.47 in 25 starts.
Ben Rowen RP Hi A - In his three years of minor league ball he has never had an ERA over 2.00. This year he was 5-0, 1.57 with 19 saves. He only walked three in 57 innings of work.
Royce Bolinger OF rookie - The 2012 sixth round pick did not show a lot of power with only one homerun, but he did hit .301.
Joey Gallo 3B rookie - He shows tremendous power with his .293, 18, 43 numbers. The first round supplemental pick was voted the MVP of the Arizona League and ranked as the third best prospect of the league.
Lewis Brinson OF rookie - The 2012 first round pick hit .283, 7, 42. He shows excellent speed with his seven triples and 14 stolen bases in 16 attempts. He did whiff 74 times in just 54 games. That needs to be cut back.
Alexander Claudio RP rookie - The Puerto Rican was 4-0, 1.79 in 14 appearances, three starts. Alexander had an impressive 5/54 walk to whiff ratio.