Astros Turn Into Winners At Minor League Level

The Seattle Mariners are a sub. 500 team at the big league level, but in the minors, the M's were on top of the overall minor league standings. The Mariners' minor league teams won at a .550 clip this season, as Double-A Jackson, high Class A High Desert, low Class A Clinton, short-season Everett and the rookie-level Dominican Summer League club were all playoff teams.

But if you dig into the standings a little deeper, there is an even more notable nugget. If you look at just the domestic leagues, the Houston Astros led all organizations in winning percentage. The Astros' U.S. clubs had a .546 winning percentage this year, just ahead of the Colorado Rockies. If you include Dominican and Venezuelan clubs, the Astros finished fourth in the organization standings.

That's notable because over the past five years, the Astros have easily had the least successful farm system in baseball. Houston finished last in organization standings in 2011, 29th in 2010, last in 2009, last in 2008 and 26th in 2007. No other team has come close to matching the Astros' recent run of futility.

While minor league winning percentage is not easy analogue for future major league success, the Astros' lack of minor league talent was glaring. And it had a significant effect on their player development, as players were often forced to play a level or two above where they should be playing, simply because there was no other option.

With the improved talent that has come from better drafts as well as a series of trades that have brought in large numbers of prospects, this year the Astros suddenly became a winner at the minor league level.

The high Class A Lancaster JetHawks won their first-ever California League title, and the short-season Tri-City Valley Cats lost in the New York-Penn League finals. The Astros' Double-A Corpus Christi affiliate lost in the first round of the Texas League playoffs.

The JetHawks' title is the first full-season minor league title for an Astros' affiiate since the Round Rock Express won the Pacific Coast League crown in 2006. The Valley Cats were the Astros' most recent minor league champ at any level, as they won the New York-Penn League crown in 2010.

Houston still has to demonstrate that its rebuilt minor league system will turn into big league success, but after many years of futility, there is a sign of hope.

2012 OVERALL MINOR LEAGUE ORGANIZATION STANDINGS
RANK TEAM WON LOST PCT
1 Seattle Mariners 496 406 .550
2 Colorado Rockies 428 357 .545
3 Los Angeles Dodgers 404 359 .529
4 Houston Astros 439 394 .527
5 Texas Rangers 401 363 .525
6 New York Yankees 432 400 .519
7 Toronto Blue Jays 427 395 .519
8 Minnesota Twins 391 365 .517
9 New York Mets 432 406 .516
10 Pittsburgh Pirates 431 406 .515
11 San Francisco Giants 394 372 .514
12 Philadelphia Phillies 423 404 .511
13 Boston Red Sox 392 375 .511
14 Washington Nationals 391 377 .509
15 Arizona Diamondbacks 428 414 .508
16 St. Louis Cardinals 420 408 .507
17 Cleveland Indians 387 378 .506
18 Miami Marlins 383 376 .505
19 Kansas City Royals 415 413 .501
20 Chicago White Sox 381 389 .495
21 Tampa Bay Rays 438 462 .487
22 Oakland Athletics 369 389 .487
23 Detroit Tigers 393 432 .476
24 Chicago Cubs 387 435 .471
25 Atlanta Braves 350 397 .469
26 Los Angeles Angels 352 407 .464
27 Cincinnati Reds 351 410 .461
28 Baltimore Orioles 353 416 .459
29 Milwaukee Brewers 342 412 .454
30 San Diego Padres 345 421 .450

And here are the results with the Dominican Summer League and Venezuela League standings filtered out.

2012 DOMESTIC MINOR LEAGUE ORGANIZATION STANDINGS
RANK TEAM WON LOST PCT
1 Houston Astros 417 347 .546
2 Colorado Rockies 386 329 .540
3 New York Yankees 366 326 .529
4 Seattle Mariners 402 359 .528
5 Los Angeles Dodgers 366 327 .528
6 Minnesota Twins 360 326 .525
7 Toronto Blue Jays 397 360 .524
8 Miami Marlins 361 328 .524
9 Texas Rangers 359 335 .517
10 Tampa Bay Rays 391 368 .515
11 New York Mets 355 343 .509
12 Cleveland Indians 352 343 .506
13 San Francisco Giants 352 344 .506
14 Washington Nationals 353 345 .506
15 Pittsburgh Pirates 387 380 .505
16 Boston Red Sox 351 346 .504
17 Chicago White Sox 353 348 .504
18 St. Louis Cardinals 386 384 .501
19 Arizona Diamondbacks 385 387 .499
20 Philadelphia Phillies 343 346 .498
21 Oakland Athletics 343 348 .496
22 Kansas City Royals 374 386 .492
23 Detroit Tigers 333 358 .482
24 Chicago Cubs 321 362 .470
25 Atlanta Braves 315 368 .461
26 Milwaukee Brewers 316 373 .459
27 Baltimore Orioles 319 380 .456
28 San Diego Padres 317 379 .455
29 Cincinnati Reds 311 381 .449
30 Los Angeles Angels 312 383 .449

Minors | #Daily Dish #Postseason

Add a Comment

comments powered by Disqus