Houston Astros Midseason Top 50 Prospects




As we reach the midway point of the 2018 baseball season, it is time to take a look at where the Houston Astros prospects now fall. One big trade removed a couple of prospects as Colin Moran (preseason #5) and Jason Martin (Preseason #17) are now plying their trade in the Pittsburgh organization as part of the return for Gerrit Cole. A couple of lower ranked prospects were released (Troy Sieber, Sean Stutzman), and one (Jon Kemmer) was traded for cash considerations. That leads us to this iteration of the Top 50. In my preseason Astros Top 50 there were a few that I got right, a few that I got wrong, and more than a few that I missed. One thing that I am sure most fans can agree on is that the Astros won’t be rebuilding for a good, long while.

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 high likelihood of making the majors but providing minimal impact
Tier 5: Players who are worth keeping an eye on, but likely to never make a team’s 40-man roster


Tier 1

1. Kyle Tucker, OF, Age: 21 (Preseason #1)
Highest Level: MLB
2018 Stats (Combined MLB/AAA):  .294/.360/.494 AB
Tucker earned the call after an impressive spring that continued in AAA. Will get an extended audition at the highest level. If everything goes well, could patrol the Minute Maid Park OF for the next decade plus.

2. Forrest Whitley, RHP, Age: 20 (Preseason #2)
Highest Level: AA
2018 Stats: 4.29 ERA, 21.0 IP, 8 BB, 30 K, 1.05 WHIP
Whitley missed the first 50 games of the season after a suspension and started hot for the Corpus Christi Hooks. Has still pitched well considering he is 4 years below the average age in the Texas League.

3. Yordan Alvarez, 1B/OF, Age: 21 (Preseason #4)
Highest Level: AAA
2018 Stats (combined AA/AAA): .308/.373/.587, 14 HR 50 RBI
Spent a month on the DL (16 May to 16 June), but still turned in an impressive run in Corpus Christi. Alvarez earned a promotion to AAA and hasn’t found his groove yet at the highest level of minor league ball, but he is still just 21.

Tier 2

4. Cionel Perez, LHP, Age:22 (Preseason #7)
Highest Level: MLB
2018 Stats (combined AA/MLB): 2.03 ERA 71.0 IP, 24 BB, 85 K, 1.13 WHIP
After a rough introduction to AA in 2017, Perez has found his footing and, while he looks like a definite future rotation piece, Perez will work out of the bullpen in his first taste of big league action.

5. Corbin Martin, RHP, Age: 22 (Preseason #13)
Highest Level: AA
2018 Stats (combined A+/AA): 1.99 ERA 77.0 IP, 23 BB, 72 K, 0.96 WHIP
After dominating Carolina League hitters to start the season, Martin has not skipped a beat since being promoted to Corpus Christi. The 2017 3rd round pick is making people sit up and take notice.

6. J.B. Bukauskas, RHP, Age: 21 (Preseason #3)
Highest Level: A
2018 Stats (combined R/SS/A): 4.02 ERA 15.2 IP, 6 BB, 18 K, 1.85 WHIP
Bukauskas has spent most of 2018 on the DL. Has failed to impress in his few outings this season, but should be able to turn the corner when fully healthy.

7. Rogelio Armenteros, RHP, Age: 24 (Preseason #11)
Highest Level: AAA
2018 Stats: 3.38 ERA, 80.0 IP, 25 BB, 84 K, 1.25 WHIP
Armenteros is picking up right where he left off last year. A combined 15-1 with a 2.86 ERA across 138.1 IP with 44 BB and 156 K at the minor’s highest level should allow him to see Houston in short order.

8. Seth Beer, OF, Age: 21 (Preseason NR)
Highest Level: A
2018 Stats (combined SS/A): .323/.433/.551
2018 1st round selection has done nothing but hit. 15 extra-base hits in 31 games with a 16.1% strikeout rate and a 11.2% walk rate. Might lack a true defensive position, but the bat will play.

9. Myles Straw, OF, Age: 23 (Preseason #14)
Highest Level: AAA
2018 Stats (combined AA/AAA): .286/.402/.381
My favorite prospect in the Astros system, Straw has moved seamlessly form AA to AAA. Is a potential September call-up for, at least, his plus speed tool (50 SB). ALso shows great discipline at the plate (12.1% walk rate and 16.7% strikeout rate)

Tier 3

10. Cristian Javier, RHP, Age: 21 (Preseason #18)
Highest Level: A+
2018 Stats (combined A/A+): 1.91 ERA, 84.2 IP, 35 BB, 111 K, 0.98 WHIP
All Javier has done this season is strike people out. Has a plus slider that can make hitters look silly. Is being developed as a starter, but could end up in the back of the bullpen.

11. Hector Perez, RHP, Age: 22 (Preseason #9)
Highest Level: AA
2018 Stats (combined A+/AA): 3.97 ERA, 79.1 IP, 44 BB, 91 K, 1.29 WHIP
Early season inconsistencies caused Perez to drop in the rankings.

12. David Paulino, RHP, Age: 24 (Preseason #6)
Highest Level: AAA
2018 Stats (combined R/AAA): 4.67 ERA, 27.0 IP, 6 BB, 33K
Missed most of the 1st half on the DL, but has started to shake off the rust. Great control (2.0 BB/9) has been his hallmark and that continues.

13. Joe Perez, 3B, Age: 18 (Preseason #33)
Highest Level: R
2018 Stats: .364/.500/.364
Tommy John surgery cost Perez all of his 2017 draft season, but has looked worthy of a 2nd round pick so far.

14. Garrett Stubbs, C, Age: 25 (Preseason #10)
Highest Level: AAA
2018 Stats: .324/.390/.461
Has had an impressive season in Fresno. Could be a September call-up and will look to make the big league roster in 2019.

15. Gilberto Celestino, OF, Age: 19 (Preseason: #12)
Highest Level: AA
2018 Stats (combined R/AA): .303/.368/.459
Celestino is another in a long line of OF prospects patrolling the Houston farm. Doesn’t do any one thing outstanding, but does several things well.

16. Dean Deetz, RHP, Age: 24 (Preseason #24)
Highest Level: AAA
2018 Stats: 0.61 ERA, 14.2 IP, 11 BB, 29 K, 1.50 WHIP
Since being reinstated after his suspension, Deetz hasn’t missed a beat. Still showing the floor of a back end rotation piece.

17. Jorge Alcala, RHP, Age: 22 (Preseason #19)
Highest Level: AA
2018 Stats (combined A+/AA): 2.97 ERA, 78.2 IP, 32 BB, 81 K, 1.16 WHIP
Alcala has a fastball that can regularly hit triple digits. With a reduction in walks can continue to rise the rankings.

18. Freudis Nova SS, Age: 18 (Preseason #21)
Highest Level: R
2018 Stats: .313/.317/.438
One of the names I had tragically low in the preseason list. Needs to learn to walk more (1.3%), but doesn’t strikeout much (13.3%). Has the chance to stick at short and be a solid contributor.

19. Jairo Solis, RHP, Age: 18 (Preseason #46)
Highest Level: A
2018 Stats: 2.48 ERA, 32.2 IP, 26 BB, 31 K, 1.53 WHIP
Had Solis ranked low in the preseason for no good reason. Pitched well in the Midwest League at 18. Needs to improve control, but the potential is there.

20. Drew Ferguson, OF, Age: 25 (Preseason #25)
Highest Level: AAA
2018 Stats: .296/.434/.398
Ferguson is an on-base machine (42 BB in 259 PA). Might need a change of scenery to ply his trade in the Majors.

21. Patrick Sandoval, LHP, Age: 21 (Preseason NR)
Highest Level: A+
2018 Stats (combined A/A+): 2.49 ERA, 83.0 IP, 14 BB, 93 K, 0.99 WHIP
Sandoval has turned heads this season. Currently riding a 33 inning scoreless streak. Only 3 walks over his last 36 innings.

22. Reymin Guduan, LHP, Age: 26 (Preseason #26)
Highest Level: MLB
2018 Stats (combined AAA/MLB): 3.50 ERA, 43.2 IP, 23 BB, 66 K, 1.34 WHIP
Early season call-up, but has spent most of the season at AAA. Most likely to be depth at the ML level in the event of injury.

Tier 4

23. Brandon Bailey, RHP, Age: 23 (Preseason #15)
Highest Level: A+
2018 Stats: 2.90 ERA, 83.2 IP, 41 BB, 97 K, 1.24 WHIP
Currently in the middle of a 16-inning scoreless streak.

24. Brandon Bielak, RHP, Age: 22 (Preseason #34)
Highest Level: AA
2018 Stats (combined A+/AA): 1.74 ERA, 77.2 IP, 27 BB, 94 K, 1.15 WHIP

25. Deury Carrasco, SS, Age: 18 (Preseason #22)
Highest Level: R
2018 Stats: .324/.395/.515

26. J.J. Matijevic, OF, Age: 22 (Preseason #32)
Highest Level: A+
2018 Stats (combined A/A+): .280/.341/.519
Matijevic has struck out 70 times in 243 at-bats, but has also hit 11 home runs, driven in 30, and stolen 10 bases. After a less than inspiring 2017, Matijevic has turned it on this year.

27. Framber Valdez, LHP, Age: 24 (Preseason #29)
Highest Level: AA
2018 Stats: 4.26 ERA, 80.1 IP, 26 BB, 95 K, 1.32 WHIP
Recently suspended for an undisclosed reason

28. Jandel Gustave, RHP, Age: 25 (Preseason #20)
Highest Level: N/A
2018 Stats: Has not played
Still on the DL from late 2017 Tommy John surgery

29. Ronnie Dawson, OF, Age: 23 (Preseason #23)
Highest Level: A+
2018 Stats: .244/.334/.397

30. Riley Ferrell, RHP, Age: 24 (Preseason #28)
Highest Level: AAA
2018 Stats (combined AA/AAA): 2.90 ERA, 31.0 IP, 20 BB, 43 K, 1.42 WHIP, 7 SV

31. Brett Adcock, LHP, Age: 22 (Preseason #30)
Highest Level: AA
2018 Stats (combined A+/AA): 2.43 ERA, 70.1 IP, 37 BB, 71 K, 0.98 WHIP

32. Abraham Toro, 3B, Age: 21 (Preseason #36)
Highest Level: AA
2018 Stats (combined A+/AA): .251/.362/.460
Toro has really found himself in 2018. The power game is strong with this one (24 2B and 15 HR). One to keep an eye on moving forward.

33. Josh James, RHP, Age: 25 (Preseason NR)
Highest Level: AAA
2018 Stats (combined AA/AAA): 3.24 ERA, 80.2 IP, 36 BB, 128 K, 1.13 WHIP
The 2014 34th rounder is climbing Astros prospects charts with an impressive display so far in 2018.

34. Ronel Blanco, RHP, Age: 24 (Preseason NR)
Highest Level: AA
2018 Stats (combined A+/AA): 1.99 ERA, 45.1 IP, 22 BB, 58 K, 1.06 WHIP
After a less than impressive 2017 debut in full season ball, Blanco has impressed in both the Carolina and Texas Leagues.

Tier 5

35. Taylor Jones, 1B, Age: 24 (Preseason NR)
Highest Level: AAA
2018 Stats (combined AA/AAA): .297/.400/.521, 15 HR, 62 RBI
Jones absolutely raked at AA. Its been a bit tougher in Fresno (.197/.280/.379 over 66 AB), but he will always have that sudden death HR to win the Texas League All-Star Game

36. Jayson Schroeder, RHP, Age: 18 (Preseason NR)
Highest Level: R
2018 Stats: 0.00 ERA, 1.0 IP, 1 BB, 0 K, 2.00 WHIP
2018 2nd round draft selection recently made his debut. Ranked here because HS arms have a notorious history of uncertainty. Could very easily climb this list in 2019.

37. Carmen Benedetti, OF, Age: 23 (Preseason #38)
Highest Level: AA
2018 Stats: .287/.369/.431

38. Stephen Wrenn, OF, Age: 23 (Preseason #43)
Highest Level: AA
2018 Stats: .269/.341/.394, 32 SB
Holding his own in AA, but needs to cut down on strikeouts (26.5 K%).

39. Osvaldo Duarte, OF, Age: 22 (Preseason NR)
Highest Level: A+
2018 Stats: .289/.337/.453
A repeat of high A has allowed Duarte to show vast improvement (.190/.250/.260 in 28 games in 2017).

40. Heitor Tokar, RHP, Age: 17 (Preseason NR)
Highest Level: R
2018 Stats: 0.66 ERA, 27.1 IP, 2 BB, 21 K, 0.48 WHIP
Signed out of Brazil in 2017, Tokar comes in at 6’6″ 256 lbs with a fastball that sits 88-92. One to watch for sure.

41. Kit Scheetz, LHP, Age: 24 (Preseason #41)
Highest Level: AA
2018 Stats (combined A+/AA): 2.37 ERA, 49.1 IP, 12 BB, 67 K, 1.28 WHIP, 4 SV

42. Cy Sneed, RHP, Age: 25 (Preseason NR)
Highest Level: AAA
2018 Stats: 3.72 ERA, 96.2 IP, 36 BB, 98 K, 1.28 WHIP
After an outstanding 1st half, Sneed has been slow out of the gate in the 2nd half (12.15 ERA, 6.2 IP, 8 BB, 6 K).

43. Peter Solomon, RHP, Age: 21 (Preseason NR)
Highest Level: A
2018 Stats: 2.11 ERA, 72.2 IP, 28 BB, 85 K, 1.16 WHIP

44. Jonathan Arauz, SS, Age: 19 (Preseason #37)
Highest Level: A+
2018 Stats (combined A/A+): .249/.324/.392

45. Chad Donato, RHP, Age: 23 (Preseason #47)
Highest Level: A
2018 Stats (combined SS/A): 1.36 ERA, 33.0 IP, 12 BB, 42 K, 1.03 WHIP

46. Enoli Paredes, RHP, Age: 22 (Preseason NR)
Highest Level: A
2018 Stats: 1.46 ERA, 55.2 IP, 26 BB, 71 K, 0.97 WHIP

47. Wilyer Abreu, OF, Age: 19 (Preseason NR)
Highest Level: R
2018 Stats: .292/.393/.389

48. Jake Meyers, OF, Age: 22 (Preseason NR)
Highest Level: A+
2018 Stats (combined A/A+): .284/.365/.444, 15 SB

49. Josh Rojas, 2B, Age: 24 (Preseason NR)
Highest Level: AA
2018 Stats (combined A+/AA): .279/.369/.448, 27 SB

50. Ryan Hartman, LHP, Age: 24 (Preseason NR)
Highest Level: AA
2018 Stats: 2.91 ERA, 80.1 IP, 18 BB, 97 K

There was quite a bit of fluctuation toward the bottom of the list as we hit midseason. I think that just speaks to the power of the Astros’ farm system. There might not be as many high-ceiling players as there were a few years ago, but there is no doubt that there is still an abundance of quality players that will help the Houston stay in contention for many years to come.
Featured image of Forrest Whitley – via MLB Pipeline on Twitter


2 Comments

  1. Not going to lie – I expected to see Toro and Josh James much higher! James has been one of the best pitchers in all of the minor leagues for the entire season.

  2. You may want to research a little more on Josh James. He is touching 99 mph tonight, with a plus slider. Even if he goes to the pen, he is certainly way higher than where you have him.

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