Baseball America (paid subscription needed) has updated their top prospects for each Major League Baseball team over the last few months with a new division gracing the monthly publication. For January, teams from the American League and National League West were highlighted, including the Houston Astros.
The latest issue only highlights the top 10 prospects of each organization for now, while the Astros’ came with a slight surprise. Former first-round pick Forrest Whitley was left out of the ranking, after battling injury and suspension over the last couple years.
The Whitley hype has been strong since the day he was drafted, but analysts have begun to worry what he will contribute with injuries pilling up and his ill-experience past Double-A.
The right-hander won’t be 100 percent by spring training due to the Tommy John surgery he underwent last offseason, but he could still be minor-league rotation depth down the stretch. While on the 40-man roster for a second-straight season, Whitley has something to prove once he is back to full strength.
With Forrest Whitley out of the top 10, who does Baseball America have as the Astros’ top prospects?
- C Korey Lee
- SS Jeremy Pena*
- RHP Hunter Brown
- OF/SS Pedro Leon
- 3B/1B Joe Perez*
- RHP Alex Santos
- RHP Tyler Ivey*
- RHP Jaime Melendez
- OF Tyler Whitaker
- RHP Peter Solomon*
(*on the 40-man roster)
While the Astros have made huge splashes recently in the international signing period, none of the top 30 international prospects are expected to sign with Houston. This doesn’t leave out the possibility for flips and the organization finding those diamonds in the rough.
Looking at the future, Baseball America does an outlook four-to-five years from their prospect rankings. For the 2025 Astros, the outlet sees Lee behind the dish, Perez at first base, Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman remaining with the franchise and Pena at the shortstop position.
For the outfield, Baseball America has Chas McCormick in left, Jake Meyers in center and Kyle Tucker in right. Of course, Yordan Alvarez is the projected designated hitter, but for these projections, they aren’t factoring in possible transactions.
A five-man rotation is anticipated to look similar to how it does now with Lance McCullers Jr., Framber Valdez, Luis Garcia, Cristian Javier and Jose Urquidy. Baseball America does have Brown as the closer, but don’t look too much into this projection for now, while the outlet had Garcia in the same spot this time last year.
Brown has been identified as the best fastball-pitcher in the system, while also the best-tooled with the curve. Of other pitching qualifications, Shawn Dubin has been eyed as the best pitcher with a slider, and Brett Conine has been recognized for the best control.