February 5, 2013
An Expensive Lowrie
Carter moves on to organization no. 4 in search of a real shot in the majors. He's out of options now, so the Astros must like him enough to pencil him in for a spot on the opening day roster. The book on Carter is the same as always: he combines big-time raw power with big-time contact issues. He's not a good defender at first base and could serve as the Astros' designated hitter, depending on what they think about Carlos Pena's glove. (Speaking of which, Pena and Carter should be the odds-on favorites to lead all first baseman/DH pairs in strikeouts.) Carter is the kind of player a non-competitive Houston team should be playing: Flawed but perhaps not fatally so. If nothing else, he should be an upgrade over Rule 5 pick Nate Freiman, who now seems unlikely to last beyond spring training. —R.J. Anderson
Aside from Carter, the Astros added two prospects with the potential to impact the major-league roster this year. Peacock is the most highly regarded player heading to the Astros and was also considered one of the most highly regarded prospects in last winter’s Gio Gonzalez trade between Oakland and Washington.
Peacock earns higher marks for his broad arsenal and solid overall abilities than he does for some standout tool. When he was right in 2012, Peacock showed a fastball that can sit in the 91-93 mph range and touch 95 when he really needs the extra velocity. His fastball gets a little true at times and as a result his control and command must be in the plus range to remain effective.
Peacock backs up his fastball with a quality curveball and solid changeup. The curveball is the preferred pitch among scouts, showing occasional bite and the ability to be a reliable second pitch. Peacock is in the final stretch of his developmental arc and is nearly ready for a role in a big-league rotation.
Stassi’s 2013 big-league arrival is a little more tenuous thanks to a rash of injuries throughout his career. He has played only 115 games at High-A over the last two seasons but has hit at a .257/.331/.430 clip over that span. He has a little thump in his bat and a good plan at the plate, giving him two attributes that should play at the highest level. Even if he hits .250 against advanced pitching, he should still chip in a decent OBP and 10-15 home runs.
Where Stassi really stands out is behind the plate. He is considered a quality defender with above-average catch-and-throw skills and a strong arm. His receiving ability has improved dramatically since turning pro and he earns high praise from scouts and coaches for his ability to work with his pitchers. Stassi’s defense is advanced enough that if he can stay on the field and continue to show some promise with the bat, he could race to the big leagues; particularly with an organization that plans to run some combination of Jason Castro, Carlos Corporan, Jason Jamarillo, and Chris Wallace behind the plate. —Mark Anderson