Heading into the outfield to wrap up our position players in our What to Watch For series. Notice that there are only three names listed from before 2009. Again the years they played in Greeneville, highest level and age on opening day will be in parenthesis.
Jay Austin (2008 - High A - 21) -Starting his 5th pro season at 21 years of age, Austin's status isn't that different from last year. Is this the year he lives up to expectations? Can he build off his solid AFL performance with a solid year in AA? Can we remember that he is still just 21 and be patient?
Brandon Barnes (2005,06 - AAA - 25)
- Based on his time with the G-Stros, Barnes has exceeded expectations. He was very raw and never hit above .220 in his two years in Greeneville. But he has shown improvement each year. How will he fair in big league camp this spring? Can he continue to improve in 2012 or has he reached his peak?
Emilio King (2010- Low A - 22) - King had a reputation as a stellar outfielder but the bat was the question heading into 2011. He answered those questions with a .293 average in Lexington with nine HR and 24 doubles. Will he secure 14 or more outfield assist for the third year in a row? Will his offensive numbers continue to rise? Can he make it to AA before the year is out?
J. D. Martinez (2009 - MLB - 24) - His rapid assent to the majors finds him as the projected starting LF for the Astros this year. Will he be a superb sophomore or suffer a sophomore slump? Could he be the first former G-Stro to make an all star team?
Ariel Ovando (2011 - Rookie - 18) - Ovando didn't make a huge splash in his debut season but he did show improvement. He showed signs of the tools that excited folks prior to his signing through out the year but he just wasn't consistent. Will he be back in Greeneville for year #2? Has he improved on tracking balls better in RF? Will we be able to see more of the diamond and less of the rough by the end of the year?
Jordan Scott (2011 - Low A - 20) - Scott had a break out year in Greeneville, tying the team record for hits with 83, and battling for the league hitting title. What does this year hold? Can he build on last year's success and put up solid numbers in full season ball? Can he improve his routes in LF?
Others to watch:
Grant Hogue (2009 - Low A - 24) - Will he break camp with the AA Hooks?
Bryce Lane (2010 - High A - 22)- Lane returned to earth in 2011 after his strong finish to 2010. Will 2012 see him rebound?
Jordan Parraz (2004 - AAA - 27) - Will
he get a chance to play in a big league game this year? After being in 5
organizations in his career, how long will he be with the Braves?
Garen Wright (2011 - Rookie -21) - Injuries cut his third season short. He still showed improved numbers in limited action. Will 2012 find him in Tri Cities? Will this be the year he breaks out?
Projected placement of those still in the Astros organization:
Oklahoma City (AAA)
Corpus Christi (AA)
Lancaster (Hi A)
Lexington (Lo A)
Extended Spring training