Appel, Correa at front of Astros' wave of prospects

Several talented, young players to be in camp

Appel, Correa at front of Astros' wave of prospects

HOUSTON -- Several of the Astros' top prospects made their Major League debuts last year, including outfielders George Springer and Domingo Santana, first baseman Jon Singleton and pitcher Mike Foltynewicz, who's since been traded to the Braves.

The club still has more youngsters on the way, and several of their up-and-comers will be in Major League camp this spring. Some, such as pitcher Mark Appel and shortstop Carlos Correa, will be in camp for a second time, while others will be getting their first taste of big league camp.

Appel looks ahead to 2015

RHP Mark Appel: This will be Appel's second year in camp, but he was sidelined nearly all of camp last year after undergoing an appendectomy. Appel went 1-2 with a 3.69 ERA in seven games (six starts) in Double-A Corpus Christi last season after posting a 9.74 ERA in 12 starts at Class A Advanced Lancaster. In the Arizona Fall League, he pitched well with a 2.61 ERA, 24/8 K/BB ratio and .167 opponents' average in 31 innings.

Correa is ranked No. 3 prospect

SS Carlos Correa: Correa, a former No. 1 overall pick, could have been fighting for an Opening Day roster spot had he not broken his ankle halfway through last season. Prior to getting hurt last season at Lancaster, he was hitting .325 with six homers and 56 RBIs in 56 games, with an on-base percentage of .417 and an OPS of .921. He could be primed for a September callup.

RHP Vincent Velasquez: Velasquez combined to post a 7-5 record and a 3.52 ERA in 18 games (13 starts) with Lancaster and the GCL Astros last year, striking out 91 in 64 innings. He also pitched in the Arizona Fall League, making five appearances (four starts) for the AFL Champion Salt River Rafters. Velasquez was originally a second-round pick by Houston in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.

Fontana's three-run tater

SS Nolan Fontana:  Like Correa, Fontana's 2014 season was cut short because of an injury, breaking his finger in June. He hit .262 with 21 doubles, 26 RBIs, 61 walks and a .418 on-base percentage in 66 games at Corpus Christi last season. A Texas League All-Star middle infielder, Fontana owns a career .427 OBP in 219 Minor League games. He was originally the Astros' second-round pick out of Florida in the 2012 Draft.

RHP Michael Feliz:  The hard-throwing Feliz was added to the 40-man roster after going 8-6 in 25 appearances (19 starts) with Class A Quad Cities in 2014 with a 4.03 ERA and 111 strikeouts in 102 2/3 innings. Feliz, who was originally signed by the Astros as a non-drafted free agent in 2010, participated in the 2014 All-Star Futures Game as a member of the World Team.

RHP Brady Rodgers:  Rodgers posted a 4.55 ERA in 27 games (18 starts) at the Triple-A and Double-A levels last season and led the Texas League in strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.58) and walks per nine innings (1.42). Rodgers was a third-round pick of the June 2012 Draft.

Top Prospects: Moran, HOU

IF Colin Moran:  Moran, acquired in a July trade with Miami, combined to hit .296 with 27 doubles, seven homers and 55 RBIs in 117 games between Corpus Christi and Class A Advanced Jupiter last season. Moran was originally the fifth player taken in the first round of the June 2013 Draft.

OF Preston Tucker:  Tucker split his second full professional season between Triple-A and Double-A, combining to hit .282 with 35 doubles, 24 homers, 94 RBIs and an .834 OPS in 138 games. He led all Astros Minor Leaguers in home runs and RBIs and became the first Astros Minor Leaguer since Jason Lane (2000-01) to record consecutive 30-double, 20-homer, 90-RBI seasons.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for 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.