The Houston Astros added five players to their 40-man roster and traded pitcher Brandon Bailey.
Friday was the deadline to add Rule 5 Draft-eligible players to the 40-man roster to protect them from being taken by other teams. The Houston Astros made a flurry of moves in relation to that, starting with waiving infielder Jack Mayfield and pitcher Rogelio Armenteros. Additionally, they traded pitcher Brandon Bailey to the Reds and proceeded to add five prospects to the 40-man roster, including Forrest Whitley.
The organization’s consensus top prospect, Whitley was a lock to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft. It’s been a bumpy road for him over the last few seasons, but his talent and ceiling remain unmatched. This does not mean he will necessarily make his big league debut in 2021, so keep your hats on, fans. The other prospects added were infielder Freudis Nova and righthanded pitchers Jairo Solis, Tyler Ivey and Peter Solomon.
Nova is the team’s No. 2-ranked prospect, with scouts loving his tools to hit for both average and power, as well as his strong throwing arm from shortstop. He’s still quite young, though, so he’s unlikely to see the majors in 2021 either. Solis is the team’s No. 8 prospect and missed 2019 due to Tommy John surgery, but has a good four-pitch mix and a smooth delivery. He’s young as well, so don’t expect to see him just yet.
Ivey is ranked as the No. 12 prospect in the system and is one of the high spin rate guys the front office has long coveted, and his curveball looks to be a real weapon. He got most of his 2019 action at Corpus Christi, so he’s someone we could see next year. Solomon, the No. 27 prospect, only made two appearances at High-A ball in 2019 before needing Tommy John surgery, but he has the repertoire to be a future member of the rotation.
Bye Bye Bailey
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Bailey was one of the many young pitchers to make his major league debut for the Astros in 2020. He appeared in five games, all in relief, and allowed two runs in 7.1 innings. Needing space on the 40-man roster, the team traded him to Cincinnati in exchange for cash considerations.
Bailey was drafted by Oakland in the sixth round in 2016 and then traded to the Astros for Ramon Laureano in November 2017. Notably, Bailey faced Laureano on Aug. 9 and hit him with a pitch. Humberto Castellanos also plunked Laureano later in the same game which led to the infamous brawl between the two teams.
Hopefully Bailey can get a better opportunity with the Reds. He always put up good numbers in the minor leagues and probably deserved a bit bigger role with the Astros in 2020. Best wishes to Mayfield and Armenteros as well.
These moves leave the Astros with 39 players on their 40-man roster currently. This will require some additional maneuvering if the front office intends to add additional players in free agency, as they still need a couple of outfielders and some bullpen help. GM James Click has more wheeling and dealing ahead of him.