Baseball America releases annual Astros prospect rankings
On Friday, Baseball America released their top 10 prospects for every MLB team, and the Houston Astros list came with little surprises. Here’s a look.
#1 RHP Forrest Whitley
While we wait to see the towering right-hander, Whitley has been sidelined with recent injuries, but him being listed No. 1 is nothing new. He is the future of the Astros staff, and while having five pitches, he has the ability to be a dominant starter in the future.
#2 RHP Luis Garcia
The right-hander has already seen time in the major leagues and started in a pivotal role in the American League Championship Series in 2020, but he is still considered a prospect by service time and usage. MLB Pipeline has Garcia ranked lower due to his experience in MLB, but a lack of endurance will push him to the bullpen in the future.
#3 – #10
Shortstop Jeremy Peña takes the third spot, and as a platooning infielder, he has been stellar in the Dominican Winter League. With not a whole lot of experience behind him combined with a stacked Astros infield, it could be tough to see him taking a starting role in the next few years, but the talent is there. Next is right-handed pitcher Alex Santos. While being picked in the 2020 MLB Draft, Santos hasn’t pitched competitively since his junior year of high school in 2019 due to thee pandemic in 2020. He is only 18 years old, and analysts are praising his ability. The fifth spot is a well-known name in right-handed pitcher Bryan Abreu. While having time in MLB, injuries and a stacked rotation paused his advancement. He will see time at the big league level this year. The sixth spot is home to right-hander Tyler Ivey. The pitcher is the most MLB ready out of the prospects that haven’t seen major league action. Ivey could see bullpen work, but don’t be surprised if his debut is in the first inning.
Others on the list were Korey Lee, Hunter Brown, Colin Barber and Grae Kessinger. Brown has a lot of trade value for being so young. He comes with an above-average slider and the Astros are teaching him throw an effective curve. Barber, a left-handed hitter, has a beautiful swing, and while only 20-years-old, the Astros praise the maturity of the center fielder.
The article also provided a projected starting lineup for 2024, and here it is:
Catcher: Korey Lee (25)
First Base: Abraham Toro (27)
Second Base: Jose Altuve (34)
Third Base: Alex Bregman (30)
Shortstop: Carlos Correa (29)
Left Field: Kyle Tucker (27)
Center Field: Colin Barber (23)
Right Field: Chas McCormick (29)
Designated Hitter: Yordan Alvarez (27)
No. 1 Starter: Lance McCullers Jr. (30)
No. 2 Starter: Framber Valdez (30)
No. 3 Starter: Cristian Javier (27)
No. 4 Starter: Forrest Whitley (26)
No. 5 Starter: Jose Urquidy (29)
Closer: Luis Garcia (27)
There are not too many differences compared to what the Astros are rolling out right now, but this also doesn’t project future signings or trades. They have traded away a decent amount of talent from 2017-2019, but that was for a World Series push. They are dropping in the prospect rankings, but that happens as major league teams get better. The farm system now has talent that will see time in 2021, but most of these rising stars might not be ready or have a spot open until 2024-25.