Astros top prospects list updated following draft, July trade

WEST PALM BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 21: Kyle Tucker #79 of the Houston Astros poses for a portrait at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches on February 21, 2018 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
WEST PALM BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 21: Kyle Tucker #79 of the Houston Astros poses for a portrait at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches on February 21, 2018 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /
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The Astros have some new names on their list of top prospects.

After trading a haul of prospects to acquire Zack Greinke last week, the Astros top prospects list looks markedly different than it did before. Some new names also show up courtesy of the 2019 draft.

The top two spots in MLB.com’s rankings remain unchanged. Outfielder Kyle Tucker is the headliner, and he’s belted 28 homers and stolen 24 bases so far this year at Triple-A Round Rock. Pitcher Forrest Whitley comes in at No. 2 after enduring an awful start to the season. He’s getting back on track, having thrown four innings of one-run ball for Double-A Corpus Christi on Sunday.

The following spots are all different thanks to the trade of the team’s previous No. 3, 4, and 5 prospects to Arizona. Gone are Seth Beer, J.B. Bukauskas and Corbin Martin. Now rounding out the top five are infielder Freudis Nova, catcher Korey Lee and pitcher Bryan Abreu.

Nova is still just 19 years old and playing this season at Single-A Quad Cities. His numbers there aren’t overly impressive (.264/.292/.388) but his potential and his tools are what place him this high on the list. He’s got a strong arm and looks like he’ll stay at shortstop, along with plus speed and untapped power. He’s still a few years away from the bigs, though.

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Coming in at No. 4 is Lee, the Astros’ first round draft pick from 2019. He’s held his own at short-season Tri-City, slashing .254/.342/.373 in 38 games. What jumps out most about him is his strong arm and good raw power, and with more improvement as a receiver, could become the team’s everyday catcher of the future.

Rounding out the top five is Abreu, who just got his first taste of big league action by tossing one scoreless inning on July 31. He’s struggled at Double-A this year to the tune of a 5.17 ERA but has a great curveball with a lively fastball. If he can harness his command and develop a slider and changeup, he could prove to be an impact starter. There is more development to be had for the 22-year-old.

2019 Draft Picks

Lee came in at No. 4, but a few other 2019 draftees made the list as well. Outfielder Jordan Brewer, selected in the third round, comes in at No. 8 overall. He’s hit just .130 in the first six games he’s played for Tri-City, but has the tools to be a 20-20 guy and a solid defender in center field.

Second round pick Grae Kessinger comes in at No. 13 overall. The infielder is hitting .268/.333/.366 in his first 12 games for Tri-City and may end up at second base despite playing shortstop in college. He doesn’t have particularly flashy tools but has good instincts and makeup, which could help him overcome any perceived weaknesses in his game.

Outfielder Colin Barber, the team’s fourth round pick, comes in at No. 21. Drafted out of high school, the 18-year-old is hitting .220/.339/.360 in 14 games for the Astros’ rookie league affiliate. The lefty-swinger profiles as a solid right fielder with good power and solid defense.

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Finally, the team’s fifth round pick, right-handed pitcher Hunter Brown, checks in at No. 23. His start at Tri-City hasn’t gone that well, as he’s walked 15 batters in 13.2 innings. But he has a plus fastball that can reach the upper 90s and flashes a slider that could become a plus offering as well. He may profile as a reliever eventually, but everything depends on him developing more control.

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