HOUSTON -- The Astros released their Minor League rosters on Wednesday, and their talent level is evident throughout all levels. Houston has the No. 1-ranked farm system in baseball, as ranked by MLB.com, and six of its clubs reached the playoffs a year ago.
Farm director Quinton McCracken said that the process of setting rosters is challenging. The organization has replenished the farm system over the past few years, beginning with former general manager Ed Wade and going full-tilt behind current GM Jeff Luhnow.
"We have a lot of deserving players we had to part ways with the past few years here, because the accumulation of talent that Jeff and Ed has stockpiled has really started to come to light here," McCracken said. "So it was a collective effort from scouting, our decision sciences and front-office staff to divvy up the talent in the proper places. As you see, we have depth now at each level. Good problems to have."
Six players on the Triple-A Oklahoma City roster are among the Astros' top prospects as ranked by MLB.com: George Springer (No. 3), first baseman Jon Singleton (4), pitcher Mike Foltynewicz (6), outfielder Domingo Santana (8), catcher Max Stassi (12) and pitcher Nick Tropeano (17).
Double-A Corpus Christi features No. 7-ranked prospect Delino DeShields Jr. and No. 18 Nolan Fontana, but high Class A Lancaster is where the talent is brimming. The past two No. 1 overall picks in the First-Year Player Draft -- shortstop Carlos Correa (2012) and pitcher Mark Appel (2013) -- will begin their seasons with the JetHawks.
Also on Lancaster's roster are pitchers Josh Hader (15), Kyle Smith (18), Lance McCullers Jr. (5) and Vincent Velasquez (9); catcher Roberto Pena; infielders Tony Kemp and Rio Ruiz (11); and outfielders Teoscar Hernandez (13) and Danry Vasquez (20).
Many of the prospects could end up playing at a level higher by year's end.
"Last year it was a unique situation, with some of the younger kids being here for the first time on a full-season club, so we were conservative with them and made sure they had their feet on proper ground, but that being said, each will be moved according to their own individual progress," McCracken said.
The Minor League season gets underway on Thursday.
Brian McTaggart is reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.