Astros top prospect Joey Loperfido has earned first call-up with impressive spring

The Astros prospect is knocking at the door of a big league call-up thanks to quite the heater down at camp.

Houston Astros v Miami Marlins
Houston Astros v Miami Marlins / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

The Houston Astros came into camp mostly set on offense. While the pitching staff continues to have their fair share of trials and tribulations, the lineup that most expected Houston to field in 2024 looks to be the one that they will be rolling with out Opening Day. However, prospect Joey Loperfido has made things very, very interesting this spring training.

Loperfido is a known commodity to those that have followed the Astros' farm system the last couple of years. The Astros' seventh-round pick in the 2021 draft has molded himself from an interesting bat to keep an eye on into one of Houston's best position player prospects with a well-rounded offensive game. He also possesses some defensive versatility.

This spring, Loperfido has elevated his profile even more. Not only has he impressed coaches with how he has conducted himself as a true professional in camp, but the guy has been absolutely crushing it on the field. In 15 games this spring, Loperfido is slashing .414/.485/.655 with six extra-base hits and is the talk of the town.

Right now, the only question is whether or not the Astros will actually give him a big league roster spot, because he has pretty clearly made a strong case for one.

Joey Loperfido deserves a big league roster spot with the Astros, but it isn't that simple

Based purely on merit, Loperfido has earned a spot in the majors with his play. Coming off a .900 OPS in the minor leagues in 2022 followed by an .880 OPS last year, this spring has just been a validation that this dude can flat out play. He can hit, hit for some power, and his speed will be an asset on the bases as well as in the field. Projecting him to be an All-Star may be a step too far, but Loperfido does have that sort of ceiling.

The problem with carrying Loperfido from the start of the 2024 season is playing time. Once Houston committed to Jake Meyers (who is also having an excellent spring training this year) in center field, the Astros' outfield is pretty set in stone. Kyle Tucker obviously isn't going anywhere, and Chas McCormick is both coming off a very solid 2023 season and has been playing well this spring (and, for what it's worth, no longer has Dusty Baker standing in his way).

Given the state of the Astros' roster, one wonders when Lopefido would actually see the field. Sure, Houston could rotate him in to give guys days off here and there, but the Astros presumably aren't going to rest those key guys all that much, and letting Loperfido rot on the bench seems like a colossal waste of his talent.

That leaves two possibilities for the Astros to handle Lopefido to start 2024. Either they formulate a plan for getting him consistent playing time in the big leagues (at least a couple games a week), or they probably have to send him back down to the minors to play every day until an opportunity to call him up presents itself. Either way, Loperfido has definitely done his part and is clearly ready for a shot whenever it happens.

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