Limited Views: Position Players, Houston Astros (AAA)

Tyler White
Age: 26.8
Ht: 5'11"
Wt: 225

Role: 4

Comments: Tyler White deserves to be in the major leagues. Originally called up as a 1B, sent down, then briefly tested out at SS in August 2016, White has been working at his infield defense for several months straight and it's beginning to show. White has been working on agility drills after practice and has been putting extra reps in at middle infield positions.

In 2017 White has started at 3B and 2B far more often the 1B, he's lost about 20 lbs since 2016 and has been playing an entirely decent 2B. At the plate, White appears to be a classic nouveau flyball-adopter, but it seems to be working pretty well for him. With 19 HR in 2016 through July 24th, White has been making consistent hard contact and leveraging balls into the air with regularity. White's been keeping his shoulders up through the entirety of his swing. In 2016, White looked more like a hunched Evan Gattis at the plate with a crouch and a lean into the plate. In 2017, White looks more like Josh Donaldson, balanced and finishing back on even weight, elevating the ball with an aggressive swing and follow through. 

Ultimately it's hard not to appreciate the efforts White has made to better himself as a player. I think he'll find a way to stick on a major league roster when he gets a chance. I think he's made his bat a true value and he's improved his glove to the point that it's no hindrance on a team.

Derek Fisher
Age: 23.11
Ht: 6'3"
Wt: 205
Pos: LF/CF

Role: 5

Comments: Squared, upright stance and a learn into home plate during his load. Starts with hands low and close to his chest and with a smooth, barrel-tipping swing Fisher gets to 60 raw power with regularity, usually to the pull side. Gets an extreme load in his hips early on in swing. Calm presence in the box. Seems susceptible to low/away offspeed pitches given his swing and lack of physical plane-adjustment. Should be able to work around that area with approach at the plate.

Derek Fisher Game Swing

Did not see much fielding action but saw a 50 arm and enough above average speed to have decent CF range. See Fisher as some sort of everyday player, likely a corner OF with a solid glove, decent avg and good power in the bat. 

Tony Kemp
Age: 25.8
Ht: 5'6"
Wt: 165
Pos: LF/2B

Role: 4

Comments: Tony Kemp is just the quintessential utility man. He's got decent speed on the basepaths and in the field. He plays an above average 2B, corner OF, and can play at SS if needed. At the plate Kemp can vary looks between an ambush 1st pitch hitter or a leadoff hitter working the count, grinding out long ABs. He rarely, if ever, strikes out and prioritizes contact in his approach, sometimes leading to some odd-looking contact swings...

Tony Kemp Game Swing

The equation isn't too complicated with Kemp as he's got everything but power in his bat. Saw range and effort in the outfield in 2016, saw footwork and aggressive glove skills at 2B in 2017. Not quite enough game-changing speed to warrant a starting role with his lack of power. Role 4.

Preston Tucker
Age: 27.1
Ht: 6'0"
Wt: 215
Pos: RF

Role: 4

Comments: Tucker maintains tools even as the elder statesman of his AAA team at 27 years old. He's got a 60 arm and a collection of 50 tools otherwise. In 2017 especially, Tucker has cut down on his strikeouts, 17% down from 21% in '16 AAA. 

Tucker gives a mature AB, working counts and feeling out a pitcher's approach and stuff to collect hard contact. Saw multiple instances of deep-count patience with a calm and measured swing taken in the end. Has some issues seeing LHP and works to foul off hard stuff and sit soft in order to barrel up a lefty. 

There's not quite enough raw talent in the bat to stick at a ML corner OF spot, but Tucker has a bat and a glove that are at least ML average and should be a 4th OF on any team that wasn't as stacked as the 2017 Astros.

A.J. Reed
Age: 27.1
Ht: 6'0"
Wt: 215
Pos: RF

Role: 3

Comments: It may be the proximity and stark contrast Tyler White, but A.J. Reed exudes low effort and regression. Both overweight but polished hitting 2016 callups, Reed has gained weight and further limited his defensive abilities. Reed has power, maybe even more with anywhere from 280-300 lbs behind the bat now. However, Reed might be the slowest AAA position player since Jon Singleton. Reed does not look like he has any balance in the field or on the base paths as he needs to lean forward to keep his momentum moving forward while he runs.

At the plate, saw Reed struggle mightily w/ LHP, chasing breaking pitches away. It's a shorter swing than Reed used to have. Used to have more of a windup in the hands, needing to travel farther into the zone. That's barely a twitch now and it leaves a shorter path into the ball.

A.J. Reed Game Swing

Swing adjustments aside, Reed does not seem to adjust his approach during ABs or relative to the pitcher. It's a surprisingly quick body in the swing that doesn't show anywhere else. It's loose and fluid with little lower 1/2 needed to generate the HR power Reed threatens.

Ultimately there's power but it's an AL-only profile. There's not enough contact and variability in the bat to truly project a DH, so it's a Role 3 for me.