The Astros can claim just one player on the newly released MLB Top 100 Prospects list. With the loss of future draft picks, it’s an uphill battle from here.
Forrest Whitley was the lone player from the Astros Minor League system that made the list of prospects in the 2020 MLB Pipeline Top 100. Now may be the best time for Houston to take advantage of their star-studded lineup. Because once they start declining or leaving, the bank of talent to draw from might be a little thin.
The Astros were one of just four teams out of the 30 Major League teams that had one or fewer prospects on the list. The Boston Red Sox were the only other American League team with one prospect listed and the two National League teams were the Colorado Rockies and the Milwaukee Brewers, with the latter being the only team not to make the list at all.
Whitley came in at 16th, which is the same ranking he had last season. He was number three among right-handed pitchers behind Casey Mize of Detroit and Nate Pearson in the Blue Jays system, the same top three as last year.
The Astros have dug deep into their farm system the last few seasons to acquire elite starting pitchers. They lost two prospects in the Justin Verlander trade in 2017, two more in 2018 for Gerrit Cole, and another four last season to bring Zack Greinke to Houston. We are all too aware that Cole has exited to the Yankees.
But if it’s any consolation, the Astros will get the 74th pick of this year’s draft as a compensatory draft pick for losing Cole. Unfortunately, due to the punishment handed down to Houston for the sign-stealing scandal, that 74th pick will be their first pick. The MLB took away the top two picks of the Astros for the 2020 and 2021 drafts.
Just this last season, we saw players like Kyle Tucker, Yordan Alvarez, Jose Urquidy, Framber Valdez, and others get the call to the big leagues, depleting the system even more. If Whitley has a good showing during spring training, he may also soon be joining the Astros.
There are still some promising prospects in the Astros system to keep an eye on this season that may warrant being in MLB’s Top 100 Prospects. Abraham Toro, Tyler Ivey, and Korey Lee are just a few that may make the next updated list of top prospects.
There are a couple of years of lean drafts coming up and the new GM is going to have a tough job ahead. We can only hope that whoever that’s going to be, he will have a little bit of that Jeff Luhnow magic in him.