With names like Carlos Correa, Jonathan Singleton, George Springer and Mark Appel in the mix, the Astros already had one of the deepest prospect pools in the game today. They added another name Monday morning.
Houston acquired outfielder Danry Vasquez and a player to be named later from the Tigers in exchange for right-handed reliever Jose Veras in a move motivated by Detroit's need for bullpen help.
"We are excited to get an outfield prospect of Danry's caliber," Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said via a statement. "He adds to an already formidable group of prospects at the A ball level. Jose will be missed as a team leader both on and off the field."
Vasquez was ranked as the Tigers' No. 4 prospect by MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo before the trade. The 19-year-old owned a .281/.333/.390 slash line with five homers, five triple, 16 doubles and 39 RBIs in 96 games for Class A West Michigan this season -- his second tour through the Midwest League.
The Tigers, who signed the outfielder for $1.2 million out of Venezuela in 2010, started him in Class A ball as an 18-year-old last season, and the aggressive move did not immediately pay off, although that can certainly be chalked up to a challenge that the teenager didn't necessarily have to pass. He batted .162 with a dismal .440 OPS in 29 games with the Whitecaps in 2012 before being sent down to Class A Short-Season Connecticut.
Vasquez thrived in the New York-Penn League, where he led the circuit with 90 hits over 72 games and finished seventh with a .311 average. He carried that success into an improved second campaign with West Michigan this season, where he was still one of just 14 teenaged position players in the Midwest League.
His bat is what will carry him through the upper levels of the Minors and potentially to the game's biggest stage. Although calling Vasquez "very raw," Mayo notes that he has a future 60 hit tool, whereas that number stands at just 30 for now. The power tool also has room to grow -- Mayo thinks Vasquez could be a player that "runs into 12-15 homers annually" -- while his defense and baserunning are average at best.
"Danry has a natural knack for hitting," West Michigan hitting coach Scott Dwyer told MiLB.com in May. "It's something he really has a passion for. As a 19-year-old, he's maturing into a fine young hitter in the sense that he really likes to work at it. It's exciting to watch. He's so young. You don't know what the future holds for him. It's exciting to see him grow within our organization. He's one of those types of guys who can go to the plate, and you don't know what's going to happen."
But after Monday's trade, Dwyer will only have the chance to see his former pupil grow from afar, as Vasquez joins the Astros organization. The outfielder is likely to head to a Class A Quad Cities squad that already includes back-to-back No. 1 overall picks Correa and Appel along with Astros No. 5 prospect Lance McCullers. He has been installed as the No. 16 prospect in the Houston system, a sign of the club's organizational depth.