First MLB Pipeline, and now The Athletic? Is the Houston Astros farm system really that bad? At least from the outside looking in, the answer is an unequivocal yes. Earlier this offseason, MLB Pipeline put together their Top 100 prospects ahead of the 2024 season. The Astros didn't have a single player ranked among the Top 100.
Keith Law, a talent evaluator who used to work at ESPN and now writes for The Athletic, felt the exact same way about the Astros' minor league system. There wasn't a single Astros prospect among Law's Top 100 (subscription required).
It's fair to be critical of the Houston farm system. After all, the Astros gave up their best asset last summer when the team swung a trade with the New York Mets in order to bring Justin Verlander back to H-Town. But Jacob Melton should still be among the Top 100 prospects in baseball this spring, point blank.
Astros top prospect Jacob Melton gets totally disrespected in latest rankings
Melton was the Astros' second-round draft choice in 2022, and the outfield prospect has already flown up through the team's minor leagues. Last season, Melton made stops at both High-A Asheville and Double-A Corpus Christi.
Not only did Melton's accelerated rise through the minors see results, but his power showed up in a big way after jumping to Double-A. In just 13 games with the Corpus Christi Hooks, the 23-year-old posted a .558 slugging percentage with five home runs and 13 RBI in just 13 games. Collectively, Melton posted an .801 OPS with 23 homers.
While it's tough to get overly excited about a two-week stretch, we've seen these scouts get excited about a whole lot less. What about some of these college prospects who didn't even set foot on a minor league field in 2023? How are they rated higher than Melton? Players like Miguel Bleis of the Boston Red Sox, who hit just .230/.282/.325 in 31 games before suffering a potential catastrophic injury, have no business being among the Top 100.
While the Houston Astros farm system certainly isn't among the upper echelon of Major League Baseball at the moment, that doesn't mean that there's a giant void of talent within the organization. In addition to Jacob Melton, the also Astros have talented young prospects like Luis Baez, Joey Loperfido, and Zach Dezenzo looking to breakout in 2024 and prove the doubters wrong.