Astros: Ranking the best players under age 25 on the 40-man roster

Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports /
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Houston Astros, Forrest Whitley
Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 7 Jairo Solis

While not known by many Astros fans, Solis was added to the 40-man roster in 2020 in protection from the major-league Rule 5 Draft. The right-hander was signed as an international prospect in 2016 and was quickly protected with his upside.

The issue is that Solis hasn’t pitched in a professional game since 2018, where he threw 50.2 innings for the High-A Quad Cities River Bandits. Injuries have plagued his career, along with a lost season in 2020 due to COVID-19.

The lockout is hurting the progressions of prospects on the 40-man roster, and for Solis, not pitching since 2018 and now being 22-years-old are impacting his chances of climbing through the system.

No. 6 Forrest Whitley

After being drafted in 2016, the hype train followed Whitley for years, but injuries and a suspension has limited the right-hander’s minor-league time. Tommy John surgery was the latest obstacle for Whitley last offseason, while he hasn’t pitched since 2019.

The right-hander has the most potential of any Astros pitching prospect, but without innings behind him in the last two years, he falls to No. 6 on this ranking. The lockout is impeding his return, but after five years of being a top prospect, 2022 could be the year Whitley finally makes his debut.

No. 5 Joe Perez

Perez was a 40-man addition in December with his impressive jump on offensive production at the plate. The infielder has flashed versatility on both sides of the diamond, and the 22-year-old ranks above Whitley with his recent play, although an argument can be made to flip both.

The right-hander played at three levels in 2021, while finishing the fall in Double-A. Perez slashed .291/.354/.495 across all three levels and can be minor-league infield depth similar to Abraham Toro the last few seasons.

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