Three Astros prospects ranked among the top 100 prospects by FanGraphs for the 2022 season.
FanGraphs released its 2022 top 100 prospect ranking Wednesday, as Jeremy Peña led the way for Houston Astros‘ farmhands. Last season, Peña was the only member of Houston’s system to break the top 100 with right-handed pitchers Hunter Brown and Forrest Whitley on the outside looking in.
Now, Brown and catcher Korey Lee break into the top 100 for 2022, while ranking No. 95 and No. 97 respectively. Lee, who ranks high by Baseball America, MLB Pipeline and The Athletic, looks to be the third best prospect for the Astros by FanGraphs.
Lee has flashed a higher-graded arm across different outlets, displaying a 70-grade arm by FanGraphs. The outlet likes the plus-power that the right-hander has in his back pocked, but the writers aren’t high on him as an overall hitter, having him at a 30-grade.
The catcher changed his arm slot and catching approach last season, leading him to be a plus defender, which FanGraphs sees as an everyday starter. Lee’s debut is imminent with the current backstops on their final year of their respective deals.
Although not invited to mini-camp, Brown has a shot to make his major-league debut late this season or early in 2023. The 23-year-old is loved by his fastball, graded at 60 by FanGraphs, his highest graded pitch.
The thing that stands out the most for Brown is that his breaking pitch ceiling is high. The righty made adjustments this past year and could top out at a 70-grade curveball in his professional career.
A bullpen role could be in his near future, as FanGraphs advises. Brown has “big pitch efficiency issues,” which could be better offer in a 20-30 pitch sample out of the ‘pen.
The Astros have signed two international free agents — third baseman Wilton Lara and right-handed pitcher Mauricio Maican — to minor-league contracts.