“How can you not get romantic about Baseball?”: Prospects you need to fall in love with.
The following prospects are ranked in the middle of the Astros Top 30 and have had up and down years in the past, but it’s hard not to fall in love with their upside.
The outfielder-turned-first baseman, #22 ranked Matijevic provides a much-needed power back at the corner infield position. With a system deep with outfielders, the Hooks found a way to get him in the lineup. Moving Matijevic to first base will do well to mask his minor fielding deficiencies while upgrading the power potential.
In 2018 Matijevic lit up both A affiliates with a .277/.350/.538 slash, clubbing in a total 22 home runs and 62 RBIs. There is some work that needs to be done, as he did strike out a staggering 113 times. If he can fix the strikeouts, then this is a name the Astros could use, if even as a back-up in future years.
Settling in at #15 on the overall prospect list, Bielak is a power right-handed pitcher standing at a respectable 6’1″. Here is another pitcher who the Astros have worked with to elevate into a starter role. Most notably fine-tuning his control and his off-speed pitches. Whether he is a weapon in the pen or a starter in the Majors is one story to watch this season.
Over the span of two divisions last year, Bielak started in Single-A but quickly was promoted to Double-A. Respectable across the board the righty spun 117 innings and finished with 131 strikeouts and a stellar 2.23 combined line. While in Corpus last year, he gathered 61 innings and 57 strikeouts with a 2.35 ERA.
Look for Bielak to build on this momentum and solidify himself as a mid-rotation player.
A stout and power left-handed bat, Dawson’s tenure in the Astros organization can only be described as Jekyll/Hyde. Dawson has the power potential to be a 30+ home run player, however, he needs to cut down on the strikeouts.
Dawson started his 2018 season in Single-A, where the power showed up, but the consistency didn’t. Hitting a mere .247 with ten home runs and a staggering 96 strikeouts and 29 stolen bases, Dawson was surprisingly promoted to Corpus.
The move, however, was for the better. Finishing his first season in Double-A, Dawson saw his average rise to healthy .289, and saw his swing and misses fall to 34. He continued on hitting in the Arizona Fall League, as he boasted a .291/.417/.468 slash line. It seems as Dawson is trading in his power stroke for a more contact approach. Something the Astros need out of their outfielder spots.