Continuing with our review of the players who played for the Greeneville Astros this year, we move to the middle infielders.
Jonathan Merritt - (56 games at SS)- Merritt was signed as a free agent out of The University of Alabama - Birmingham. He was the starting shortstop in 56 of the Astros 66 games. Merritt, 22, committed 21 errors in 279 chances. He made a few spectacular plays and most of the routine ones. He did everything you would want from a short stop.
At the plate, he spent the majority of his time batting 1st (112 AB) or 2nd (77 AB) in the line up. He hit much better in the second slot (.299/.413/.519 rather than lead off (.223/.350/.366). He stole 12 bases in 17 attempts. He also showed decent pop with 20 extra base hits (9 doubles, 6 triples and 4 home runs).
Merritt did what you expect a NDFA to do. He played his position well, was a good teammate and provided some organizational depth.
Expectations for next year: Depending on organizational needs I could see him backing up Ben Orloff in Lexington or playing in Tri Cities.
Ricardo Garcia - (Games played by position: 2B - 41, DH - 4, 3B - 3, LF - 1, 1B - 1) The slight (5' 9" 142lbs) second baseman took on the utility role for the Astros this season when he wasn't playing second. He missed most of the 2009 season in the GCL and played only 8 games, all at 3B.
In the field, he didn't have the flare the G-Stros fans had become accustomed to from Jose Altuve, but he was solid. He made 10 errors in 213 chances. Some of the errors I saw were coming in on slowly hit balls.
At the plate, he didn't show that much that stood out. A sub .250 average and a OPS of .625 from a 21 year old in the Appy league isn't impressive.
Expectations for next year - He has one more year until he is a Minor League Free Agent. I expect if he makes it out of extended spring without being released, he will be assigned to Tri Cities.
Pedro Feliz - (Games played by position: 2B - 27) No not the guy we traded to the Cards but the 19 year old fellow. He split his games in 09 in the GCL between 2nd & 3rd. In 2010, he only played at 2nd but he played in less than half of the games.
In the field, he improved his numbers from 2009 at 2nd, making six errors in 125 chances. However, he still only showed a fielding percentage of .952.
At the plate, he showed very little. He hit .200 with striking out one out of every three at bats. The only promising number was he hit .100 higher on the road (.250) verses at home (.149).
Expectations for next year - He might get one more year in Greeneville due to him being just 20 when next year begins.
Summary: I saw nothing in this bunch that screamed prospect. However, one of the great things about Rookie ball is sometimes you can miss kids entirely. Albert Cartwright butchered the 2nd base position in 2007 as a 19 year old. He came back as a 20 year old and was better, especially at the plate. He finished 2010 in Corpus Christi. I would have never believed that in 2010.
The middle infield in the Astros organization is one of the deepest areas. With players like Sutil, Cartwright, Altuve, Mier, Villar, Paredes, & Hernandez already ahead of them. Plus adding Delino DeSheilds Jr. to the mix and having I don't see much hope for these guys getting much of a chance to make a big splash next year.