MLB.com named three players who appeared in a Hooks uniform in 2012 to its Top 100 Prospects list for 2013. The site ranked first baseman Jonathan Singleton (No. 27), outfielder George Springer (No. 57) and right-handed pitcher Jarred Cosart (No. 89) among baseball's best young players. Shortstop Carlos Correa (No. 30), expected to start the season at Class-A Quad Cities, also made the list.
The Astros acquired Cosart and Singleton in the trade that sent outfielder Hunter Pence to Philadelphia at the deadline in 2011, while they selected Correa and Springer in the first rounds of each of the last two drafts.
Singleton spent all of last season in Corpus Christi, hitting .284 with 21 home runs and 79 RBI in 131 games en route to earning Texas League post-season all-star honors. The top first base prospect in baseball also played in the All-Star Futures Game in which he went 3-for-4 with two runs score and one run batted in.
MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo wrote, "big and strong, (Singleton) has bat speed and leverage to hit for average and power." After violating baseball's drug policy, the 21-year-old from California will participate in spring training before serving a 50-game suspension to start the 2013 season.
The Astros' 2011 first-round pick, George Springer, started the 2012 campaign at Advanced-A Lancaster before he earned a late-season promotion to Corpus Christi. Across two levels he combined to hit .302 with 24 home runs, 87 RBI and 32 stolen bases, while he ranked second in the California League with 137 hits at the time of his promotion.
"His speed is legit and he should continue to be a threat on the basepaths and a well above-average defensive center fielder, though he has the arm for right field," wrote Mayo. Springer was named Lancaster's Defensive Player of the Month for July.
Jared Cosart has reached the highest level of the four Astros prospects named, pitching in six games at Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2012. After he went 5-5 with a 3.52 ERA in 15 starts with the Hooks, Cosart earned a promotion and went 1-2 with a 2.60 ERA for the RedHawks. The right-hander from League City was a Texas League Mid-Season All-Star.
Cosart is the top pitching prospect in the Houston system and projects well in the big leagues, if not as a starter, then as a force at the back end of the bullpen. "With his power stuff, Cosart should miss more bats, something that should come as he learns to command his fastball and curve better," Mayo wrote.
Houston drafted Correa out of the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy with the first overall pick in last June's draft and the shortstop will start the 2013 campaign at just 18 years old. He struggled at the start of his career, hitting .232 in 39 games with the Gulf Coast Astros, before excelling at Rookie-Level Greeneville to the tune of a .371 batting average over 11 games.
His bat has not yet caught up with his glove, but Mayo gushed about Correa's defensive prowess. "Even if he's just an average hitter, with his other tools, that makes him an elite shortstop in the future," Mayo wrote.