Keith Law: Houston Astros

videoThursday is Opening Day for the minor leagues, and final rosters have been appearing online over the last 24 hours. Christopher Crawford has compiled lists showing where the top 10 prospects in each organization have been assigned, and here I'll highlight six rosters in particular that are loaded with top prospects or other guys I'd gladly travel to go watch.

Wilmington Blue Rocks (Kansas City Royals, high Class A)

Top 100 prospects: SS Raul Mondesi Jr., RHP Miguel Almonte
Former top 100 guys: OF Bubba Starling
First-round picks: IF Hunter Dozier (2013), LHP Sean Manaea (2013), Starling (2011)
Other prospects of note: RHP Aroni Nina, C Zane Evans, C Cam Gallagher, RHP Christian Binford

I may be biased, but the team in my own backyard might just be the most loaded roster in all of minor league baseball.

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With the help of Christopher Crawford of MLB Draft Insider, we have compiled the minor league assignments for all prospects in Keith Law's organizational top 10 rankings.

Due to injuries and late assignments, some minor league rosters are not yet official. In those instances, we took our best guess as to where those prospects will be assigned to begin the year.

Note: Players with an asterisk have been traded since the top-10 lists came out, and they are listed with their assignment for their new club.

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Yu DarvishAP Photo/Darron CummingsThe AL leader in strikeout rate last year, Yu Darvish is an AL Cy Young frontrunner.
Keith Law offers up his win-loss predictions for all 30 teams and winners for the six major postseason awards. Furthermore, explanations for each team are included, along with notes on key players or possible impact call-ups. Award predictions follow the division picks.

AL East

It's hard to pick against a Boston Red Sox team that returns so many of the players who helped them win the World Series last year, losing Stephen Drew but replacing him with one of the majors' best rookies in Xander Bogaerts.

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FoltynewiczAP Photo/Alex BrandonMike Foltynewicz has elite stuff, but his delivery needs refinement.

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- A few scouting notes from Wednesday's Detroit Tigers-Houston Astros Grapefruit League matchup, which featured a number of my top 100 prospects.

• The standout prospect for Houston was Mike Foltynewicz -- my No. 70 prospect -- who hit 99 mph several times in his first inning of work and was 94-99 over the two innings, pairing his fastball with a 78-83 mph curveball that ranged from just below average to plus.

Foltynewicz has the two pitches and size to start, clearly, but he was altering his arm slot pitch by pitch, dropping down for most of his fastballs, resulting in something akin to a flat two-seamer, lifting his slot to three-quarters so he can get on top of the breaking ball.

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Now that the 2014 preseason top prospect package is complete, here are links to all of the rankings, videos, podcasts and chat wraps.

Top 100 prospects Insider
Index | Prospects No. 1-50 | Prospects 51-00
10 who just missed
Top 20 impact prospects for 2014

Top 10 prospects by team Insider
AL East | AL Central | AL West
NL East | NL Central | NL West
Astros No. 1 in farm system rankings

Videos Video
Why Buxton is the No. 1 prospect
AL breakout prospects | NL breakout prospects
Twins, Pirates just behind Astros in farm rankings

Podcast Listen
Discussing the top 100 rankings
Xander Bogaerts and Mets GM Sandy Alderson

Chat wraps
Keith Law
Astros GM Jeff Luhnow
Byron Buxton
Addison Russell

Top 20 impact prospects for 2014 

February, 11, 2014
Feb 11
Nick CastellanosBrian D. Kersey/Getty ImagesThe path is clear for Nick Castellanos to get at-bats and improve Detroit's defense.
My top 100 prospects ranking from late January focused on long-term career value, which meant the list included many teenaged prospects who easily could be five years from producing any positive value for a major league team. If we're looking just at this upcoming season, however, the rankings are very different, and I've produced my ranking of the top 20 impact prospects for 2014.

After those 20, I've listed a number of other players who could come up this season and be above replacement-level if they get the chance.

I do not rank players with experience in a foreign major league as prospects, though those players are still officially considered rookies in MLB when they debut here.

If I included them on my rankings, Masahiro Tanaka and Jose Abreu would be 1-2 on this list;

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Feldman provides innings Astros need 

December, 6, 2013
Scott Feldman is probably a fourth starter in a good rotation, a third in some others. But for the Houston Astros, who return just two of the five members of their 2013 Opening Day rotation, neither of whom -- Brad Peacock and Lucas Harrell -- is a lock to remain a starter all year in 2014, he's their de facto No. 1 after agreeing to a three-year deal reportedly worth $30 million.

Feldman offers the team the capacity to soak up some innings that their young, developing starters won't be able to handle, with nobody else as much as even money to get to 200 innings.

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Astros-Rockies trade a real surprise 

December, 3, 2013
The Houston Astros-Colorado Rockies trade might be the one move of the crazy past 48 hours that truly came out of nowhere for me. I knew Dexter Fowler was available, but didn't think Houston was a suitor and thought the Rockies would get more for him.

Those preconceived notions didn't quite match the market reality, though. Instead, the Astros get something of an upside play for the short term, while the Rockies save money and get a back-end starter candidate who'll have to make a big adjustment to handle Coors Field.

For the Astros, trading for Fowler is a gamble on a player with star-caliber tools who has never taken that last developmental step to get to that level, instead settling in as merely a good everyday player who might be closer to average had he spent the past few years at sea level.

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Details of the trade

Baltimore Orioles get: RHP Bud Norris

Houston Astros get: OF L.J. Hoes, LHP Josh Hader, competitive balance draft pick

The Orioles' acquisition of Bud Norris gives them needed starting pitching depth, especially with Jason Hammel going on the DL on Wednesday, but also could help bolster their right-handed relief corps, if everyone comes back healthy and available. The Astros get a 4A position player, who gets on base, and a lottery-ticket lefty with arm strength but a long ways to go.

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Breaking down the Jose Veras trade 

July, 29, 2013
In a trade that nets them reliever Jose Veras, the Tigers gained bullpen depth -- and perhaps a replacement closer -- while giving up two long-range prospects who weren't among their most valuable assets. The Astros, meanwhile, converted a one-year free agent signing into some more lottery tickets for their increasingly tumescent farm system.

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Teams that like to delay promoting top prospects until the point in the year when it's late enough to avoid giving the player a shot at Super 2 status in arbitration can breathe easily now, as we're well past that date, as shown by recent and imminent call-ups of four prospects -- Wil Myers, Zack Wheeler, Mike Zunino and Gerrit Cole -- who appeared on my top 25 update in late May.

With Myers and Wheeler debuting Tuesday night, here are my thoughts on those four guys as well as three others we might see in the majors in the next month or so.

Zack Wheeler, RHP | New York Mets

Although expectations have been set sky-high by the remarkable stuff shown by Matt Harvey, Wheeler, once the superior prospect in my opinion, has a decent gap to close just to catch up to his fellow Met.

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