The Houston Astros protected four prospects two weeks ago from the Rule 5 Draft, and consequently unprotected Freudis Nova, who they protected in 2020. The infielder was outrighted to Triple-A Sugar Land, after not being claimed on waivers.
Nova’s goal for the ’21 season was to make the major leagues, and after being assigned to High-A concluding major-league spring training, the 21-year-old never advanced in the system. His season ended with ACL surgery that he underwent in a trip to Minute Maid Park, following the minor-league season.
After not being claimed on waivers, what is next for Astros’ prospect Freudis Nova?
While not being claimed on waivers, Nova’s chances of being claimed in the Rule 5 Draft could be slim. The infielder is coming off a suboptimal season in High-A and a knee injury that could delay his progressions of climbing through the system in 2022.
Nova hit .224/.301/.335 in 282 plate appearances with only four home runs. The power didn’t look to be there for the right-hander, but he did slash 14 doubles and one triple at his highest class yet.
In 2016, the Astros signed Nova to a $1.2 million signing bonus, which made up more than half of the ball club’s international signing bonus pool that year. So, it made sense that the Astros looked to protect a prospect with a lot invested into.
Now, Nova is assigned to Triple-A, a class he hasn’t reached in his minor-league career. This is likely just a placeholder for the offseason, while it would behoove the Astros to start him in Double-A after struggling in 2021 in High-A.
The Skeeters lost infield depth this winter with CJ Hinojosa, Miguelangel Sierra, Robel Garcia and Jacob Wilson electing free agency. If Nova remains with the franchise this winter, his goal should be to reach Triple-A and flash his arm tool in the field that MLB Pipeline raves about.
Nova has since dropped from the Top 5 to 24 on the Astros Top Prospects list by MLB Pipeline in the past couple months. Six infielders also sit in front of him on the list.
The Dominican-born infielder will be 22-years-old next season, hopeful of another major-league spring training invite to showcase his ability.