Astros Prospect Watch: Jacob Melton's return, Brice Matthews breaking out, Luis Baez

Let's take a look at how some of the Astros' best prospects have been doing lately in the minor leagues.
Hooks batter Jacob Melton fouls off a ball during Education Day at Whataburger Field, Wednesday, May 8, 2024, in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Hooks batter Jacob Melton fouls off a ball during Education Day at Whataburger Field, Wednesday, May 8, 2024, in Corpus Christi, Texas. / Angela Piazza/Caller-Times / USA TODAY
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With the Houston Astros calling up Jake Bloss (who subsequently got hurt) and finally bringing back Joey Loperfido, many casual observers would assume that the Astros' farm system doesn't have much more left to offer for this year.

While it is probably accurate that the Astros can't count on too much help from the minor leagues in 2024, that does not mean that there isn't any talent in their farm system. In fact, Houston has been fortunate to have multiple guys in their system that have proven their worth and a couple others that have jumped on to scouts' radars out of nowhere.

Here is a look at how some of the Astros' better prospects have been doing lately.

Jacob Melton is finally back from the injured list

The Astros' top prospect, Jacob Melton, earned his spot atop their rankings thanks to a toolsy and well-rounded skill set and big-time upside at the plate thanks to some exciting batted ball characteristics. Unfortunately, Melton had been out for a while after injuring his wrist, which stymied what was a strong start to his 2024 season.

Luckily, Melton finally returned to his rightful place in Double-A Corpus Christi's lineup on June 13. While he only sports a .520 OPS in his seven games since returning from the injury, it is just good to see him playing again. If history is any indication, he will round back into form soon enough, assuming that he has that wrist injury completely behind him.

Brice Matthews is looking like a steal of a draft pick with his strong 2024 season

The Astros were betting on Matthews' impressive athleticism when they picked him 28th overall in the 2023 draft. Many teams were worried that he was going to swing and miss too much as a pro, and striking out a third of the time during his pro debut did little to assuage those fears. However, Matthews worked hard to adjust to the pro game and is seeing the fruits of that labor right now.

After a bit of a slow start to the season, Matthews is making a lot of noise down in the minors. After slashing .321/.423/.580 at High-A Asheville, Matthews got promoted to Double-A in the middle of June where he has continued to play well in his five games. While there isn't a pressing need in Houston's big-league infield right now, Matthews' status as a fast-rising college bat could impact the Astros' decisions regarding Alex Bregman after the season, if only a little bit.

Luis Baez could be playing his way into another promotion soon

While most of the Astros' minor league depth is in the higher levels, No. 2 overall prospect Luis Baez gives Houston an exciting young hitting prospect that is a bit further away from the big leagues as well. Like many young hitters from international free agency, Baez's first look at full-season ball saw him struggle a bit especially with his swing-and-miss against pitchers much older and more experienced than him.

However, Baez has found his stride despite getting moved up yet another level to High-A to start the 2024 season. While his walk rate leaves something to be desired, Baez is slashing .293/.332/.483 in 57 games and has been even better lately with an .898 OPS over his last 10 games. Showing some more plate discipline and strike zone awareness is the only thing Baez really needs as he has good bat-to-ball skills and plenty of raw pop. Nonetheless, he may be hitting well enough to warrant a push to Double-A later this year.

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