Astros' rebuilding off to tepid start

June, 21, 2010
6/21/10
2:53
PM ET
The Astros just called up two young players from Triple-A! It's a youth movement! Let the rebuilding begin!

As Aaron Gleeman points out, not so fast:
[Jason] Castro was the 10th overall pick in the 2008 draft, but was considered an "overdraft" immediately and has hit .287 with a modest 16 homers and .411 slugging percentage in 215 pro games. He has good on-base skills and should be a solid enough player, but Castro certainly doesn't project as a star, let alone someone whose arrival is capable of creating "a watershed moment in the franchise's future."

[Chris] Johnson has even less chance of developing into a building block-type player, because he's almost 26 years old and has hit .282 with a .321 on-base percentage and .459 slugging percentage in 172 games at Triple-A. He was off to a strong start there this season and giving him a chance to supplant the washed-up remains of Pedro Feliz at third base makes plenty of sense, but Johnson's upside is somewhere between role player and mediocre starter.

The Astros also called up outfielder Jason Bourgeois, who's fast but is 28 and until this spring had never played in the minors like anything more than a fifth outfielder.

This is mostly about Castro, the Astros' first draft pick during Ed Wade's tenure as general manager. Wade's reputation is due almost completely to drafting and development; he was running the Phillies when they drafted Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard. With the Astros' losses piling up, it must be at least moderately heartening to promote a 2008 draft pick to the majors and get him into the lineup.

But I think Gleeman's right, as Castro just doesn't qualify for the pantheon of great young catchers. His .411 career slugging percentage as a professional isn't impressive, but it's actually even less impressive than that; his slugging percentage above Class A is just .370. He's young and he's a catcher and there's probably some development potential there ... but if Jason Castro is the best prospect the Astros unveil this summer, the rebuilding process will be off to a slow start.

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