We are just a few days away from pitchers & catchers reporting for Spring Training. Several Astros players have already arrived in Kissimmee and are getting ready for it to begin. Here is my list of the top five former Greeneville Astros I will be watching this spring.
Jordan Lyles - He has been named the #1 prospect in the system by everybody and his brother. He reached AAA last year as a teen and is now going to Major League Spring Training.
What I am watching for: How does he handle facing big league hitters in spring games? How does he handle the increased attention that comes with being with the big club? How quickly will he be reassigned to AAA?
Fernando Abad - The big lefty dominated the Dominican Winter League this season, after spending 22 innings on the field in the bigs last fall. He has been talked about as a lefty specialist out of the pen and a 5th starter for the Astros this year.
What I am watching for: How is his sharpness? He was wild in his last start in the Dominican (4 walks and 2 wild pitches). He should be ahead of most other players because of the time in winter ball. How is he used first? Bullpen or starter? Can he keep the ball in the park? That has been a problem at times for him in the past.
Carlos Quevado - The 21 year old lefty from Venezuela only got ten innings in the liga parralela (minor league winter ball) because the Astros had him on the "fatigued list." He had outstanding control in Tri Cities last year, only walking 8 out of 328 batters faced.
What I am watching for: Who will he break camp with? I am expecting him to be in Lex. How will he adjust to better competition and a full season?
Mike Foltynewicz - Last year's top drafted pitcher was one of the top three Astros prospects on almost every list.
What I am watching for: Will he be in Lex this year? How is his velocity on his fast ball? How does he handled to older, better competition?
Pat Urckfitz- The underdog NDFA lefty, who rocks the rec-specs, moved back to the pen for the Arizona Fall League after starting 12 games in Lancaster in 2010. The result of his good work was the he got a chance to play in the AFL Rising Stars game.
What I am watching for: Will he be a starter or reliever in AA this year? How will his arm hold up a year after throwing twice as many pitches as he ever had in a pro season before?
Here are a few other former Greeneville Astro pitchers to keep an eye on as the season progresses:
Jorge De Leon - Short stop turned closer should get a shot in Lexington this year.
Luis Cruz - With his return from surgery a year behind him, can he build on his solid year in Lexington last year.
RJ Alaniz - Will he break camp with Lexington or get another year in extended spring?
Brad Dydalewicz - Can he bounce back from a rough season last year?
Kyle Greenwalt - Can he build off of his strong AFL performance as he moves to AA?
Ross Seaton - Was his bad season a product of Lancaster? How will he handle AA?
Arcenio Leon - Made a big jump from Lex to Corpus Christi last year. Can he cut down on the walks?
Henry Villar - Made the bigs late in the season after performing well at AA. Will he be in AAA or the Astros pen this spring?