The Houston Astros announced their rosters for four minor-league affiliates — Triple-A Sugar Land, Double-A Corpus Christi, High-A Asheville and Single-A Fayetteville — Tuesday. While the rosters were preliminary set, injured players are not included and are subject to change prior to the start of the season.
The Triple-A season begins Tuesday with the three other levels following with Opening Day on Friday. Only nine 40-man — eight in Triple-A and one in Double-A — rostered players were listed in this release, as Taylor Jones and Jake Meyers would be moved to the 60-day injured list rather than be optioned to a minor-league injured list.
Ronel Blanco, who made the Astros’ Opening Day bullpen, is still not on the 40-man roster as of Tuesday morning, and Forrest Whitley was transferred to the 7-day injured list, leaving him off the Space Cowboys’ roster.
With the Minor League Baseball season upon us, let’s take a look at some notable transactions in the Astros’ minor-league system.
Triple-A Sugar Land
The Space Cowboys open play Monday in Sacramento against the River Cats. Right-hander J.P. France gets the nod, while eight pitchers on staff are rostered to the 40-man. Righty Hunter Brown is the probable starter for Wednesday. The Astros begin play Thursday in Anaheim, so if the club needs a fresh arm in their road trip, the Triple-A unit isn’t far away.
While spotted Saturday at the team’s Open House, outfielders Corey Julks and Alex McKenna, catcher Scott Manea and right-handed reliever Nick Hernandez officially saw their names reassigned from Double-A to Triple-A on Tuesday.
Right-handed pitcher Colin McKee hits the 60-day, following surgery to his pitching arm this offseason. McKee told Climbing Tal’s Hill that it was a different issue from what sent him to the shelf late last season.
Andre Scrubb also hits the 60-day, although returning to Triple-A late into the 2021 season. The righty was never assigned to the Astros this spring, after being outrighted off the 40-man roster in November.
Three right-handed prospects recovering from Tommy John surgery — Whitley, Austin Hansen and Jairo Solis — start the year on the 7-day. Infielder Edwin Diaz also starts the season on the 7-day, following surgery during major-league camp.
Double-A Corpus Christi
The only 40-man rostered player not in Triple-A or the major leagues is infielder Joe Perez, who was reassigned from Triple-A on Tuesday. Perez finished his 2021 season in Corpus Christi where time caught up to him, he said on the Astros Future Podcast.
Along with Perez, Rule 5 selection righty Ruben Garcia starts the year in Double-A, after being assigned to Triple-A following his selection. Franny Cobos was reassigned to the Florida Coast League from Double-A to open the year, as the righty is either on track to return from injury or requiring more evaluation in a lower level.
Yanier Diaz, Shay Whitcomb, Justin Dirden, Julio Robaina, Misael Tamarez, Wilyer Abreu and Cody Deason all saw reassignments to Double-A from High-A, as well.
The Tourists are seeing an influx of 2021 MLB Draft selections with right-handers Spencer Arrighetti and Chayce McDermott being promoted from Single-A. Left-hander Hunter Peck, who pitched his entire 2021 season in Double-A, will start the year in Asheville.
Since general manager James Click joined the Astros’ front office, there looks to be a quick and aggressive rise for select prospects, as Jordan Brewer, Heitor Tokar, Nerio Rodriguez, Chad Stevens, Will Wagner, Michael Sandle and Cristian Gonzalez all eye starts in Asheville.
Right-handed pitcher Adrian Chaidez makes a leap over Single-A to Asheville, while last pitching in the Florida Coast League. Former 40-man rostered infielder, Freudis Nova, was reassigned from Triple-A to High-A following his outright, but the 22-year-old is still recovering from ACL surgery.
Catcher C.J. Stubbs informer Climbing Tal’s Hill that he suffered an injury in spring training and will continue to work out in Florida. The 25-year-old expects to be back in a few weeks.
Right-hander Ernesto Jaquez will start the year again in Single-A, after ending 2021 in High-A. Cody Orr and Freylin Garcia are in similar boats, being reassigned to Single-A.
Hurlers Jayson Schroeder, Deylen Miley, Alimber Santa, Miguel Ullola and Nic Swanson along with catcher Reddy Guilamo were all reassigned from the Florida Coast League, while shortstop Leosdany Molina was promoted from the Dominican Summer League. Third-round pick Tyler Whitaker was also reassigned from the Florida Coast League, as an infielder and not an outfielder.