The Houston BlueClaws

lakewoodastrosMaybe you’ll be getting an Astros hat in a few years. Four of the Astros top six prospects per Baseball America are former BlueClaws, which makes sense as the teams have made big deadline deals in each of the past two seasons.

Here is the full story from Baseball America.

1. Jonathan Singleton (2010): Singleton joined the BlueClaws and promptly homered in his first at bat (which is the May 13th nugget on your BlueClaws calendar), and would go on to hit 14 last year as Lakewood won the SAL title. This year, he hit a combined 13 HRs as a 19 year-old between Clearwater and Lancaster (where he also hit .333 after the July 29th trade). BA says he is the best 1B prospect in the minors and could be a .300-30 HR guy in the big leagues.

2. Jarred Cosart (2010): Cosart’s 2010 with the BlueClaws was interrupted due to a late-June injury but not before he went 7-3 and fanned 77 in 71 innings. This year, he went 9-8, 3.92 with Clearwater and got to play in the Futures Game that he missed the year before due to the injury. After the trade, he went straight to Double-A with Houston at 21 and went 1-2, 4.71. He and Singleton will probably be reunited there this year.

4. Jonathan Villar (2010): Villar hit .272 with 38 steals with Lakewood last year before being traded in the Roy Oswalt trade (on Goonies Night). This year, he hit .238 split between Lcancaster and AA Corpus Christi. BA calls him the second toolsiest shortstop in the minors.

6. Domingo Santana (2010-11): Santana played half of last year with Lakewood and then was here this year through August 16th, when he was named as the player-to-be-named later in the Pence trade. With Lakewood, he hit seven HRs in 350 ABs and hit .269 this year. After the deal he went to Lexington where in 68 at bats, he hit 5 HRs and .382! Lancaster, their Hi-A spot, is considered the best hitters park in the minors.

Josh Zeid, with Lakewood in 2010 and also in the Pence trade this summer, wasn’t listed here but is likely in the 11-20 spot. The Prospect Handbook, which comes out in January, goes 30 deep per team.

Our pal Eric Jarinko, the media guru for Greenville, Tweeted a link to this article last night about the limits on draft spending in the new CBA and how it could impact teams trying to sign players “over slot” late in the draft. This article focused on Greenville OF Brandon Jacobs, who had a scholarship to play football at Auburn, but his case isn’t unique. Domonic Brown had a scholarship to play football at Miami before signing with the Phillies in 2006.

From the article (Providence Journal):

According to the collective bargaining agreement unveiled at a joint press conference in New York on Tuesday, teams will be penalized severely if the aggregate money they pay draft picks — their “signing bonus pool” — exceeds their assigned value.

A team that exceeds the pool by up to 5 percent will be taxed 75 percent of the overage. A team that exceeds the pool by 5-10 percent will be taxed 75 percent of the overage and lose a first-round pick. A team that exceeds the pool by 10-15 percent will be taxed 100 percent of the overage and lose a first- and second-round pick. A team that exceeds the pool by 15 percent or more will be taxed 100 percent of the overage and lose first-round picks in back-to-back drafts.

The new agreement will not, in any way, limit the amount of money teams can pay individual players. But every dollar spent on a tough-to-sign player will take away from the dollars available to sign other tough-to-sign players, effectively limiting the amount of talent each team can draft.

It will be worth following during the next draft and sign cycle – from June through mid-August.

We’ll have an interview with new BC manager Mickey Morandini later today.

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