Houston Astros 2020 Top 50 Prospects

Forrest Whitley - photo credit Benjamin Rush, forloveofbaseball on Flickr

I think any and every Astros fan is ready for the 2020 season to start. After a tumultuous offseason that saw both the general manager and field manager be given their walking papers, it is time to start looking again at the product on the field. To that end, the Houston farm system has definitely regressed over the past 2-3 seasons. Trades to bring in the likes of Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and Zack Greinke, as well as the graduations of Kyle Tucker and Yordan Alvarez have depleted the minor leagues considerably and have left a left a big hole in the Houston system. There is a nice bunching at the top, but the fall off is quick and drastic. There are several players that have shown flashes and potential, but a good majority of them are still between 2-4 years away. While Houston is not at the bottom of the league in farm system rankings, they are inching closer that way.

As of this writing a full-time replacement for Jeff Luhnow has not yet been named, but according to several media sources it looks like the team is close to naming Dusty Baker new manager, replacing A.J. Hinch. The team on the field is a talented group that should work well with most managerial candidates, so the GM seat is the one to watch. As a result of the cheating scandal, there will be no 1st or 2nd round picks in 2020 or 2021. Houston needs a good scouting department and player development team to step up and find those “diamonds in the rough.” And the Astros faithful better hope that the group at the top of this list make good on their prospect potential. I love feedback and discussion so be sure to comment below or check in with me on Twitter @landonbrute. With that, let’s get to the Houston Astros 2020 Top 50.


Minor League Affiliates
AAA – Round Rock Express – Pacific Coast League
AA – Corpus Christi Hooks – Texas League
A+ – Fayetteville Woodpeckers – Carolina League
A – Quad Cities River Bandits – Midwest League
Short Season – Tri-City ValleyCats – NY-Penn League
Rookie – GCL Astros – Gulf Coast League

Prospects1500 Tiers:
Tier 1: Players with high expectations of both making the majors and playing at an All-Star level for a number of years
Tier 2: Players with an above average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 3: Players with an average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 4: Players who have the potential of making the majors, or have a high likelihood of making the majors, but providing minimal impact (e.g. middle reliever, low-ceiling UT guys)
Tier 5: Players who are worth keeping an eye on, but likely to never make a team’s 40-man roster


Tier 1

1. Forrest Whitley, RHP
Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: AAA
To say Whitley struggled during 2019 would be a massive understatement. Across four levels he went 3-7 with a 7.99 ERA, but did strikeout 86 in 59.2 innings. He spent a good portion of the season on and off the injured list with shoulder fatigue, but appeared to be back to his old self during the AFL throwing 25 innings, striking out 32 and only walking 9. Spring training will be a showcase of sorts, but Whitley will most likely start the season in AAA. A hot start there could have him in Houston well before June.


Tier 2

2. Jose Urquidy, RHP
Age: 24
2019 Highest Level: MLB
Urquidy shot up this list like a rocket over the course of the 2019 season. Starting out in AA Corpus Christi and ending on the mound in Washington during the World Series, no prospect in the Houston system, and maybe baseball, turned heads like Urquidy. With pinpoint control and a live arm, Urquidy should be a mainstay in the Houston rotation stating in 2020.

3. Freudis Nova, SS
Age: 20
2019 Highest Level: A
The 15th rated International prospect in 2016 (per MLB pipeline), Nova has steadily climbed the ranks of the Astros farm system. 2019 was his first go at a full season league and he held his own with a .259/.301/.369 with 10 SB across 282 AB. While his bat has been a work in progress. Nova has always drawn rave reviews for his defense. As long as Alex Bregman stays at 3rd base, there is little doubt that Nova could slide in at SS as soon as 2022.

4. Bryan Abreu, RHP
Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: MLB
A relatively surprising addition the 40-man roster at the end of the 2018 reason, the then 21-year old Abreu had never pitched above full season A ball. That all changed in 2019 as he threw a combined 91.1 innings across A+ and AA with a ridiculous 12.41 K/9 and 1.35 WHIP while bypassing AAA completely. With 13.5 K/9 and a 0.81 WHIP at the big league level, Abreu is firmly in the conversation as a bullpen piece to start 2020. He could also vie for a rotation spot as 43 of his 88 games in the minor leagues came as a starter.

5. Jeremy Pena, SS
Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: A+
After a sluggish appearance in the NY-Penn league as a 2018 draftee, Pena turned it on in 2019. With a combined .303/.385/.440 line between A and High A, Pena showed an uncanny ability to get on base. With 47 walks, 20 steals, and as arguably the best defensive SS in the system, Pena could easily surpass Nova as the heir apparent to Carlos Correa.

6. Abraham Toro, 3B
Age: 23
2019 Highest Level: MLB
The 5th round pick out of Seminole Junior College in Oklahoma made his major league debut in 2019. It was an earned promotion after Toro slugged 17 HR and drove in 80 RBI while putting up a .938 OPS overall  between AA and AAA. Those numbers didn’t transition to the MLB level, but Toro proved that he deserves another chance in 2020. The only question is will that be in Houston or another city as a trade chip?

7. Cristian Javier, RHP
Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: AAA
From the Carolina League to the Pacific Coast League, all Javier did was strike people out (170 in 113.2 innings for a 13.46 K/9 rate).  Arsenal includes a fastball, slider, cutter, and his devastating curve. Javier should be in line to see starts in Houston after the All-Star break.

Tier 3
8. Korey Lee, C
Age: 21
2019 Highest Level: Short Season
A surprising first round draft pick in 2019, one can’t help but think that Lee was drafted as a need pick. There are not a lot of catchers in the Houston system that have the potential of being big league regulars, so the former brain trust might’ve reached for Lee with that in mind. A nice Junior Year at Cal (1.045 OPS, 15 HR, 57 RBI) translated to a solid, if unspectacular line with Short Season Tri-City (.268/.359/.371). Lee will be/has been labeled the catcher of the future, but he has a ways to go to prove that label.

9. Enoli Paredes, RHP
Age: 24
2019 Highest Level: AA
It seems that the Astros chase prospects with the ability to strike people out. Paredes is no exception (12.26 K/9 over 94 innings). With a dominant fastball/curveball combination, Paredes could be a dominant force in the back of a bullpen.

10. Grae Kessinger, SS
Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: A
Houston’s 2nd pick in 2019 didn’t impress after being promoted to full season A (.224/.333/.294), but with a 12.9% walk rate and only a 15.9% strikeout rate the tools are there for Kessinger to put it together in 2020. He has some work to do to pass the likes of Nova and Pena, but has the makeup to succeed. Might best profile as a utility player at the big league level.

11. Luis Garcia. RHP
Age: 23
2019 Highest Level: A+
Yet another Luis Garcia is making a name for himself in minor league baseball. Like Urquidy, Garcia opened a lot of eyes in 2019. Across Quad Cities (A) and Fayetteville (A+), Garcia went 10-4 with a 2.94 ERA striking out 168 and walking 50 in 108.2 innings. With his devastating fastball/slider combination, Garcia should continue to rise the prospect ladder with AAA by the end of the season not out of the question. Definitely a player to watch.

12. Tyler Ivey, RHP
Age: 23
2019 Highest Level: AA
Several injured list stints cost Ivey the majority of 2019, but when he was on the hill, he was something special. The 3rd round pick in 2017 only threw 52 innings, but he made them worthwhile. With a 1.38 ERA, 11.76 K/9, and 0.92 WHIP, Ivey showed what he can do when even moderately healthy. He could be a 4-5 starter in 2021.

13. Myles Straw, OF
Age: 25
2019 Highest Level: MLB
With only 13 at-bats to go until he loses prospect status, Straw was an impressive addition to the major league roster in 2019. While never having much in the way of power, Straw has made his mark with elite speed and defense. In addition to OF duties, Straw was able to fill in at SS while Correa was out with injury and provided a .378 OBP with 8 steals in 108 at bats. With Jake Marisnick off to the Mets, Straw should be the 4th OF in Houston in 2020. With a different mindset at the helm of the Astros, Straw should be good for 20+ steals.

14. Jordan Brewer, OF
Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: Short Season
One of the stars on a surprising Michigan team in last year’s college world series, Brewer had a rough start to his professional career. Carries a high K rate from the college ranks, but has enough raw power and speed to be a potential 20-20 threat. This ranking might be a bit low, but a good start to 2020 could see Brewer jump to the top of my tier 2 rankings.

15. Hunter Brown, RHP
Age: 21
2019 Highest Level: Short Season
The 2019 5th rounder might have been the steal of the draft for the Astros. Brown comfortable sits at 95-98 and offers a plus slider that sits in the mid-80’s. If he can work through some command issues, then Brown could be a nice mid-rotation starter. If not, he can deploy his tools in a 9th inning role and be very successful there.

16. Colin Barber, OF
Age: 19
2019 Highest Level: Rookie
Houston’s only HS selection in their first 17 selections, Barber required an overslot commitment. With a reported 6.51 second 60-yard dash time and uncanny baseball instincts lead many to believe that he will be able to stick in CF as he moves up the ranks. Very few wasted movements in his swing allowed for a .263/.387/.394 triple slash in the Gulf Coast League. Add to that a 16.0 percent walk rate and you have the makings of an on-base monster.

17. Jairo Solis, RHP
Age: 20
2019 Highest Level: DNP
Solis missed all of the 2019 season with Tommy John surgery. If he bounces back to previous form, then he will resume his ascent up this list.

18. Luis Santana, SS
Age: 20
2019 Highest Level: AA
Acquired from the Mets in the J.D Davis trade, Santana could be considered the centerpiece from the Astros perspective. During the 2018 season the then 19-year old sported a .917 OPS in the Appalachian league. 2019 was a bit of a different story though as Santana struggled to a combined .666 OPS. Spent about a month in AA, but will most likey start back in the NY-Penn league with an end of season promotion to full season Quad Cities (A).

19. Jojanse Torres, RHP
Age: 24
2019 Highest Level: A+
A nice 3-pitch mix consisting of a 95-97 power fastball, a high 80’s slider, and a plus curveball helped Torres impress in 2019. His final line across A and A+ was 12-0, 1.71 ERA, with 107 strikeouts in 94.2 innings pitched. Like many Astros minor leaguers, Torres both started and worked out of the bullpen. Torres should start the season in AA Corpus Christi with an outside shot at a September call up.

20. Brandon Bielak, RHP
Age: 23
2019 Highest Level: AAA
The 11th round draft pick in 2017 out of Notre Dame has climbed the prospect ladder with little-to-no fanfare despite the fact that he has been a solid pitcher at every stop. Possess a good curveball and decent command. Bielak will probably carve out a role in the 5th starter/swingman role. Think Brad Peacock-like.


Tier 4

21. Dauri Lorenzo, SS
Age: 17
2019 Highest Level: DNP
The Astros signed Lorenzo for $1.8M as the headliner of their J2 signing class in which MLB Pipeline had him rated as the #14 overall prospect. Lorenzo is listed as a shortstop, but currently lacks the explosiveness and arm strength to project there long term; 2nd base is his more likely long-term position. But regardless of fielding position, the bat will play almost anywhere. A short stride and loose swing leads to solid contact and good gap power that should project to 15-20 home runs as he ages. Above average speed and a solid makeup translates to a prospect to keep an eye on.

22. Ronnie Dawson, OF
Age: 24
2019 Highest Level: AAA
A second-rounder in 2016, Dawson has not lived up to the lofty draft position as of yet. Dawson spent time in both AA and AAA in 2019. He is not much for average (.207)  or OPS (.698) and is a true three outcomes player (17 HR, 50 BB, 152 K in 426 AB). Won’t likely get a shot in Houston until 2021 when Michael Brantley, Josh Reddick, and (potentially) George Springer have all moved on. Will need to have a good season in 2020 at AAA Round Rock to remain on the prospect radar.

23. Jose Alberto Rivera, RHP
Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: A
Rivera’s strength is a fastball that sits 93-97 and can touch 99. His other offerings are just enough above average to let his fastball play. He does not repeat his delivery well and has a quirky arm action that is better suited to relief pitching, but the Astros intend to give him every chance to remain a starter.

24. Taylor Jones, 1B
Age: 26
2019 Highest Level: AAA
Jones is nearing the age that most players are no longer considered prospects, but deserves to remain in the conversation due to his .889 OPS, 22 HR and 84 RBI in 2019. Those numbers are not inflated by the hitter friendly PCL  as he went for .854 OPS, 18 HR, and 80 RBI in AA Corpus Christi in 2018. He should make his major league debut sometime in 2020 with an inside shot at taking over first base duties full time in 2021.

25. Rogelio Armenteros, RHP
Age: 25
2019 Highest Level: MLB
Armenteros earned his first big league promotion in 2019 and was a serviceable bullpen piece. A starter most of his career, Armenteros had better success out of the bullpen with Houston. Should get ample opportunity to earn a rotation spot in spring training, but might be ticketed for AAA yet again.

26. Cionel Perez, LHP
Age: 23
2019 Highest Level: MLB
Perez did not find much success in the upper levels in 2019. Pitched to a 5.36 ERA with 24 BB and 43 K in 47.0 innings with AAA Round Rock and a 10.00 ERA with 2 BB and 7 K in 9.0 innings in Houston. As one of the few left-handers in the Astros’ stable, Perez will get every opportunity to stake a claim to one of the bullpen spots.

27. Garrett Stubbs, C
Age: 26
2019 Highest Level: MLB
Stubbs has spent the last couple of seasons bouncing between AAA and MLB. With the recent signing of Dustin Garneau, it would appear that Stubbs is in a battle for the back up catcher role. He has pent some time in the OF, and could make the roster now that the limit has increased to 26, but a career .200/.282/.286 line doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence, at least from a fantasy perspective.

28. Jayson Schroeder, RHP
Age: 20
2019 Highest Level: A
After a rocky, but solid 2018, the wheels fell off for Schroeder in 2019. Started the season in full season A and ended up in the GCL. Schroeder completely lost the strike zone as evidenced by 29 H and 37 BB in 25 innings. Listed at #17 in my 2019 Astros Top 50 preseason rankings, it’s safe to say that Schroeder has last quite a bit of that prospect shine. Luckily he still has plenty of time to turn things around.

29. Peter Solomon, RHP
Age: 23
2019 Highest Level: A+
Missed most of 2019 with Tommy John surgery but was able to make 2 starts prior to the injury and looked very impressive (0-0, 2.35 ERA, 7.2 IP, 4BB, 14 K). Could return in late-2020 and has the tools to resume his ascent to Houston.

30. Nivaldo Rodriguez, RHP
Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: A+
Like many of the players on this list, Rodriguez has a strength in his fastball. He sits 90-92 mph with a deceptive change-up. He doesn’t have the strikeout rate of his fellow farmhands (career 9.38 K/9), but has an advanced feel for his breaking pitches. He has the floor of a reliever who relies on his breaking pitches with just enough heat to keep hitter honest with the ceiling of a back-of-the-rotation starter.

31. Shawn Dubin, RHP
Age: 24
2019 Highest Level: A+
Dubin burst onto the scene in 2019 with a nice 3-pitch mix that includes a 92-95 mph fastball and a plus slider. Has future reliever (maybe even closer) written all over him as he struck out 151 in 110.2 innings in 2019 while allowing a .193 BAA with a 63.3% groundball rate.

32. Yohander Martinez, SS/3B
Age: 18
2019 Highest Level: Rookie
A member of the 2018 international class, Martinez led the DSL in almost every offensive category finishing with a .313/.439/.383 with 40 BB and 27 K in 214 AB. Martinez also stole 29 bases, but was caught 11 times. Played 27 games at SS and 32 at 3B

33. J.J. Matijevic, 1B
Age: 24
2019 Highest Level: AA
After a power show in 2018 (22 HR, 62 RBI, .887 OPS), Matijevic was banned 50 games in 2019 for s second positive drug test. That might have hindered his production comparatively (11 HR, 37 RBI, .761 OPS), but it’s Matijevic’s bat that will carry him up the ladder. Needs to regain his power stroke to get back on track to moving up the minor league ranks. Moved from LF to 1B in 2019 due to his being a below-average defender in the OF.

34. Alex McKenna, OF
Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: A
McKenna had three stints on the injured list in 2019 which would account for the drop off from his 2018 numbers. Fully healthy going into 2020, McKenna should be able to tap into the power that so often shows up in batting practice. If he puts it all together, he could be a major leaguer caliber starting OF (most likely one of the corners). McKenna has enough athleticism and intangibles to reach his floor of a 4th OF.

35. Carlos Sanabria, RHP
Age: 23
2019 Highest Level: AA
Sanabria has been in the Astros system since 2014, but really turned the corner in 2019 even earning an invite to the AFL. Sanabria has finally learned to harness his 93-96 mph fastball and play it against his mid-80’s slider to the detriment of most minor league hitters. In 66.2 innings in 2019, he pitched to a 2.84 ERA but yielded 40 BB to 86 K for a 5.4 BB/9 and an 11.61 K/9, with a 0.47 BB/K ratio. Contributed 7 saves and was a Texas League all-star. Should start the year back in AA, but a promotion to AAA shouldn’t be too far behind.

36. Brett Conine, RHP
Age: 23
2019 Highest Level: AA
Another of my personal favorites, Conine really turned heads in 2019. After spending all of 2018 in the NY-Penn League, Conine breezed through Quad Cities (A) and Fayetteville (A+) finishing the season appearing in 4 games (2 starts) for Corpus Christi. Among his three stops, Conine compiled a 4.62 K/BB ratio, a 10.55 K/9 rate, and a 2.28 BB/9 rate. If he is able to keep up the 2019 performance in 2020, we could be talking about an Astros to 20 prospect by mid-season.

37. Riley Ferrell, RHP
Age: 26
2019 Highest Level: AAA
Ferrell was taken by Miami in the 2018 Rule V draft, but was placed on the injured list and then offered back to Houston. At one point, it was thought that Ferrell had the stuff to be a top shelf closer, but now appears more suited for a 7th inning role. He doesn’t have as much swing-and-miss stuff as he did even 2 years ago, but can still get batters out with a nice fastball/slider mix.

38. Colton Shaver, 3B
Age: 24
2019 Highest Level: AA
Shaver started the season in the Carolina League (A+) after spending the end of 2018 there (37 AB) and came out like gangbusters. He slashed ..270/.365/.464 with 23 2B and 6 HR. After being named a Carolina League all-star, he was promoted to AA Corpus Christi. When he arrived in the Texas League, his doubles decreased, but he found his power stroke hitting 15 HR in just 188 AB (.500 SLG). 3B is pretty set in Houston, so Shaver spent time as a catcher in AA as well as in the AFL.

39. Blake Taylor, LHP
Age: 24
2019 Highest Level: AAA
Coming to Houston from the Mets in the Jake Marisnick deal, Taylor could compete for a LHP spot in the Houston bullpen right out of the gate. Across three levels in 2019 (0.1 IP in AAA), Taylor struck out 74 in 66.2 innings (9.99 K/9). Finished with a 2.16 ERA with 10 saves and a walk rate of 3.24 BB/9. With neutral platoon splits, Taylor might be able to fill a Will Harris-type roll in the Astros bullpen after getting acclimated to the system in AAA.

40. Nick Tanielu, 3B
Age: 27
2019 Highest Level: AAA
For his entire Astros tenure, all Tanielu has done is hit (career .295/.346/.444). Tanielu is one of my favorite Astros minor leaguers and I have been a fan of his since he joined the system as a 14th round pick in 2014. In an effort to reach the big leagues as a utility player, Tanielu has spent time at both corner infield positions as well as 2nd base. As a non-roster invitee in 2020, Tanielu will again get to show the front office his ability to potentially impact a big league lineup.


Tier 5

41. Blair Henley, RHP
Age: 22
2019 Highest Level: Short Season
Henley is my second favorite prospect in the Astros system (who should take the top spot as soon as Straw graduates in early April). Henley was the Astros 7th round pick in 2019 out of the University of Texas. He put up impressive numbers across the GCL and NY-Penn league (1-1, 1.47 ERA, 36.2 IP, 12.27 K/9, 2.2 BB/9) pitching mostly out of the bullpen. His fastball sits 88-92 with an outstanding curve. I definitely think he is one to watch in the Houston system.

42. Ross Adolph, OF
Age: 23
2019 Highest Level: A+
Another piece of the return for J.D. Davis, Adolph hasn’t accomplished much as of yet (.228/.357/.366, 142 K in 382 AB), but has the ability to provide good power and speed from the left side. Adolph should stick in CF and needs a strong 2020 to really enter his name into the conversation of Astros top OF prospects.

43. Kenedy Corona, OF
Age: 19
2019 Highest Level: Short Season (New York Mets organization)
The youngster sent to the Astros in the Jake Marisnick deal, Corona played well across 3 levels in 2019 (one stop was a 4 game, 3 AB appearance in the NY-Penn league). A good eye for the strike zone produced 29 BB and 36 K in 2019 AB. Corona also stole 19 bases in 24 attempts. Should start the season in the NY-Penn league in 2020. Potential one to watch.

44. Angel Macuare, RHP
Age: 19
2019 Highest Level: Short Season
Standing 6’2″ and weighing 188 lbs with a live arm, Macuare has a power pitcher profile (92-94 fastball, tight-spin curve) with the potential to move through the system relatively quickly once he really gets he bearings stateside. The #40 international prospect in 2016, Macuare needs to refine his stuff and work through some command issues (6.45 BB/9) but started to tun the corner in 2019. He will turn 20 during spring training and looks to make a return trip to the NY-Penn league in 2020.

45. Chas McCormick, OF
Age: 24
2019 Highest Level: AAA
McCormick has quietly moved up to farm since being drafted as a 21st rounder in 2017. The 24-year old had a bit of a breakout in 2019 between AA and AAA. McCormick finished with an .818 OPS, hitting 14 HR to go along with 67 BB to only 62 K. He will turn 25 in April, so McCormick needs to have a good 2020 season to remain on the prospect radar.

46. Jairo Lopez, RHP
Age: 19
2019 Highest Level: Short Season
Impressed across two levels in 2019, starting in the GCL and finishing in the NY-Penn League. Combined for 61 K in 51.0 innings against 23 BB. Good enough for a 10.76 K/9 and a 4.05 BB/9. Short-statured at 5’11” and weighing only 150 lbs, Lopez isn’t physically intimidating but regularly sits at 88-92 with his fastball. Add to that a plus mid-70’s curve, and you have the makings of a decent pitching prospect that could make some noise with an good 2020 season.

47. Juan Pablo Lopez, LHP
Age: 20
2019 Highest Level: A
A 2016 international signing Lopez started his career in the Gulf Coast League, completely by passing the DSL. He will pitch all of 2020 at 21 and after finishing 2019 in Quad Cities, should return there to start 2020. Standing 6’4″, Lopez has potential to improve on his current 170 lbs. His fastball falls in the 88-91 range with a decent curve as a second pitch. One to watch.

48. Julio Robaina, LHP
Age: 18
2019 Highest Level: A
Signed after the 2017 season, Rabaina made it to full season A rather quickly. Has been known to throw a curve, change, and splitter, to go along with is 90 mph fastball. Will need to continue to improve his control in 2020 after going from a 6.12 BB/9 in 2018 to a 5.40 BB/9 rate in 2019. Found more swing and miss opportunities in 2019 seeing an increase of his K/9 rate from 9.72 to 12.72.

49. Bryan De La Cruz, OF
Age: 23
2019 Highest Level: AA
De La Cruz has been in the organization since 2014 and has finally started showing promise. After hitting .289/.367/.375 in 2018, he spent 2019 going for .280/.340/.428. He doesn’t have traditional OF power (8 HR in 432 AB), but does have the ability to find the gaps (28 2B). Decent speed helped him to 6 3B and 12 SB. De La Cruz has upside, but there is also the chance that he is never more than an org player.

50. Rainier Rivas, OF
Age: 18
2019 Highest Level: Rookie
Coming to Houston in the trade that sent Max Stassi to the Angels, Rivas impressed. In 10 games in the GCL, Rivas hit .351/.415/.378. Will need to cut down on his strikeouts, to really become a prospect, but the potential is there.

 

I am sure that there are several prospects you think I missed, had ranked incorrectly, or was just dead-wrong about. I would love to hear the feedback and have a discussion. Regardless, thanks for taking the time to read about the Houston Astros Preseason Top 50 Prospects at Prospects1500 and be sure to check out the other amazing writers, articles, and information the site has to offer. Baseball season is just around the corner and we here at Prospects1500 have you covered. And Go ‘Stros!




11 Comments

  1. Love the list. Many names I do not recognize so I will take your research at face value. Thanks for putting all of these together.

    • Hey! Thanks for taking the time to check out the article. I am guessing that several of the unfamiliar names are still in the rookie Leagues or short season ball. A few years away, but definitely worth checking out. Cheers!

  2. Hey! Thanks for taking the time to check out the article. I am guessing that several of the unfamiliar names are still in the rookie Leagues or short season ball. A few years away, but definitely worth checking out. Cheers!

  3. Really good list. I think the Astros had a sneaky good 2019 draft. Keep an eye out on pitcher Ryan Gusto picked in the 11th round and OF Jason Nix picked in mid 30 round. They both have potential to enter and move up this list in 2020.

    • Gusto was one of those “next 10” guys on my list. If he can start the season repeating what he did between the GCL and Tri-City, you will definitely see him on the mid-season update. James Nix showed plus speed in college, but that hasn’t translated yet to pro ball. Will keep an eye on him, but a .622 OPS (albeit in a SSS), doesn’t instill confidence just yet.

  4. Agreed on Nix but like you said Small Sample Size. He definitely could turn into a player with the proper player development.

  5. Enjoyed your list, thanks! What is your opinion of A+ Catcher Scott Manea? I am not related lol. I see him doing a lot of things that don’t necessarily go down in the stats, like saving base runs by backing up first and his ability to watch the field and make adjustments as needed. Just curious from your professional opinion. Thank you.I am looking forward to seeing a lot of our players move up or continue to move up.

    • Hi Linda! I feel like Manea regressed a little bit in 2019. He has nice OBP skills and decent power, but I feel like his offensive game is not as strong as it probably needs to be. I think you’re right on with his defensive abilities though. He has a roughly 30% caught stealing rate and moves well behind the plate. I would like to see him climb this list, I just think that there are others (Lee, Stubbs, Henry) above him in the pecking order. Thanks for the question! Cheers!

  6. Hello Brandon,

    Nice list

    What are your thoughts on Nathan Perry? He showed his power stroke this past season and the ValleyCats/Astros gave him some time at 1st Base.

    Thoughts on Joe Perez? I know Joe has had injuries that have held him back, TJ surgery the year he was drafted, but are thoughts still that he could potential see through his power hit tool or would the Astros be open to moving him to pitcher since teams were interested in him as a pitcher in the draft?

    • Hey Chris,

      Thanks for thanking the time to check it out. I definitely think Perry did much better in his second go at the NY-Penn league. He showed the ability to find the gap (11 doubles) and, as you mentioned, improved his power stroke. Seeing as how the Astros are thin at C, I think the Astros will try to keep him there as long as possible.

      Perez is another story. I was high on him when he was drafted, but has yet to really show much. He showed some power (7 HR in 50 games at Tri-City), but his .246 OBP showed that he has to be more selective at the plate. I think Houston will give him another go as a position player, but his past as a pitcher is hard to ignore. My gut says that the Astros could try him there before giving up on him.

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