By: Eric Huysman
Next: Francis Martes (#1, MLB Pipeline)
Next: David Paulino (#3, MLB Pipeline)
Back of the rotation: Cionel Perez (#16, MLB Pipeline)
Back of the rotation: Dean Deetz (#30, MLB Pipeline)
MiLB Depth: Brady Rodgers (#24, MLB Pipeline)
Future: Forrest Whitley (#5, MLB Pipeline)
Future: Franklin Perez
Deep Future: Framber Valdez
While the names on this list could be top pitchers someday, the pitching at Triple-A has been suspect this year. Top prospect Martes was called up to the big leagues, but he has 28 walks in 32 1/3 innings pitched this year. With Dallas Keuchel hitting the DL and the impending return of Joe Musgrove, it is not clear what Martes role will be.
Paulino’s role has increased this year with the injuries as well. These are the obvious two pitchers to help the Astros in the future, but who else?
Rodgers struggled last year in his first season with the Astros but showed promise. Unfortunately, he had Tommy John surgery earlier this year. This is the first time that Deetz has appeared on this list, but it’s long overdue. Deetz went 4-2 with a 1.82 ERA with 42 strikeouts in 39 2/3 innings. He struggled in his first start in Triple-A, but he’s a rising star.
Whitley was drafted in the first round last year and is performing well at the lower levels. However, he is still young, straight out of high school. Don’t look for him to be ready until 2019-20. They will groom him to be a top of the rotation caliber starter.
Cionel Perez and Valdez are both left-handed pitchers who are still young. Cionel is the pitcher the Astros signed twice from Cuba. He has gotten off to a tough start, but Valdez is performing like a future starter.
Franklin Perez is an emerging star, this year he is 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA with 23 strikeouts in 24 innings. He is currently at High-A Buies Creek but could be on the rise with promotions and trades in the system. Perez could be on the move in a trade as one of the top Astros pitching prospects.
You can never have enough starting pitching talent in the system. The Astros pitching depth has been challenged this year, so I could see the Astros going after a college level pitcher.
Need: High, level 2.