While the Houston Astros don’t have the highest ranked farm system on paper, they have a few gems lurking around in the minor leagues. The two names that come to mind are Korey Lee and Pedro Leon, as both were headlined as top trade bait entering the 2021 deadline.
Both players were retained, as the minor-league system didn’t take another big blow. While Forrest Whitley was the topic of discussion in the pitching category the past few years, Hunter Brown is deserving of the same hype. The right-hander was recently promoted to Triple-A, where he dazzled in his debut.
Korey Lee and Hunter Brown are expected to be contributors for the Astros in the near future.
The future isn’t as bad as some outlets project, while there are reliable pieces brewing in Double-A and Triple-A. From possible outfield replacements for 2023 to starting pitching depth for the next three seasons, the Astros have prospects to fill roles, as they look to contend for possibly two more years.
Korey Lee, Double-A Catcher
By now, every fan knows about Lee and what he has been doing in Double-A. The right-handed catcher has slashed .275/.346/.507 with eight home runs over 38 games since his promotion. With these numbers and versatility of positions on his resume, Lee could be eyeing another promotion sometime late this season, if there is room with the Sugar Land Skeeters.
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Earlier this week, Lee was placed in Baseball America’s Top 100 prospects in response to others graduating or falling out. This move makes Lee the only Astros’ prospect to be among the Top 100 in the game; the 23-year-old is projected to make his major-league debut next season in 2022.
Hunter Brown, Triple-A RHP
After a recent promotion, Brown worked through six innings in his debut, allowing one run on three hits. The right-hander punched out seven, topping out in the high 90s on his fastball. The five-pitch hurler shows no sign of being demoted, as he his now eyed as a late season callup by MLB Pipeline.
The right-hander is MLB Pipeline’s targeted pitcher to benefit the Astros with an impactful callup, but with an already full 40-man, it would a conflicting situation to select Brown’s contract to the active roster.
Recent DFA’s and trades have left the pitching staff a shell of what it once was in terms of optionable arms. The bullpen has immensely improved, but with a lack of strong rotational depth in the minors, Brown is MLB Pipeline’s choice for a late season promotion.
In terms of the current roster, Yuli Gurriel was placed on the 10-day injured list with a stiff neck along with Robel Garcia being optioned. As corresponding moves, Taylor Jones and Jacob Wilson, who makes his first stint with the Astros, were recalled from Triple-A.