The Astros need the best available left handed pitcher they can get.
The Houston Astros haven’t had a strong left handed pitcher in their entire golden era other than Framber Valdez. Their bullpen has also struggled to find a consistent lefty they can rely on, though Blake Taylor has been serviceable, as was Brooks Raley in the past.
Regardless, one of their needs in the minor league system is a left handed pitcher. Right now they only have one left handed pitcher in their top 30 prospects. It’s number 26-prospect Jonathan Bermudez who is 26 years old and right now has a 8.19 ERA this year in 14 games (10 starts) in AAA.
Obviously the preference is a college arm who could help in the bullpen sooner rather than later but the Astros do have the luxury of having young, talented pitching under control for the next three years. If they want to take a high-risk, high reward pitcher, maybe someone coming off a Tommy John surgery or coming off a down year with high upside, they should go for it.
The top left handed pitching prospects are Brandon Barriera at number 15 and Robby Snelling at number 16. Considering the Astros are in the 30th spot the person they’re most likely to get if they go with a left handed pitcher is Carson Whisenhunt.
The player they should be hoping will drop to them is number 25 prospect Connor Priellip, a 21 year old left handed starter out of the University of Alabama.
He’s the exact high-risk high reward pitcher the Astros should be looking for. He has high end stuff but is coming off of Tommy John surgery. Here is a snippet of his scouting report per mlb.com.
"Prielipp’s slider is one of the most devastating pitches in the college class, sitting in the mid-80s and touching 90 mph with two-plane break that has it drop off the table as it approaches the plate. He also can elicit swings and misses with a low-90s fastball that peaks at 95 mph with run and downhill plane. He has a quick arm and could add more velocity after completing his rehabilitation from elbow reconstruction."
A lefty with a strong slider that can bear in on right handed hitters which grades at a 70 out of a scale of 80 could be a future ace. The question is whether will he return fully healthy after his Tommy John surgery. But when seeking proof you can return healthy from such an operation, we need look no further than the season Justin Verlander is having.
Prielipp is obviously not a surefire hall of famer, but if a 39 year old pitcher can come back and pick up where he left off, why can’t a 21 year old? Considering that he’s left-handed and he has potential to be an ace, the Astros can hope he drops just a little bit so they can pick him up in the first round at number 30.