One of the consequences of the Houston Astros' success in recent years has been a downturn in the quality of their farm system. Between big league promotions, trades, and picking lower in the draft because of their high finishes, the Astros' minor-league system is a shadow of its former self that produced Alex Bregman, Kyle Tucker, Yordan Alvarez, Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve.
In terms of overall quality, one way to measure the health of a farm system is to see how many top 100 prospects it has. This is far from a perfect measure of quality or depth, as there have been plenty of really good players that were never top 100 guys, but it's a nice quick reference to see what the future holds and how much high end talent a system possesses.
Well, Baseball America released their 2024 Top 100 prospect rankings (subscription required) on Wednesday and Houston had just one prospect on the list.
Coming in at No. 88, Jacob Melton is the sole representative for the Astros heading into the 2024 season. Baseball America is one of the absolute best and most respected authorities on prospects league-wide, so it's decidedly not great, even if one has minor quibbles over the exact rankings BA put out.
Jacob Melton is the only Astros prospect in Baseball America's top 100
Houston selected Melton in the second round of the 2022 MLB Draft and he has proven to be an absolute steal. He definitely has a bit of a weird swing, but he has consistently demonstrated the ability to produce on offense with analytically-driven results to boot.
Nevertheless, it's clear the Astros' farm system is at a low point at the moment. While they do have some interesting guys like Spencer Arrighetti, Luis Baez, Joey Loperfido and Zach Dezenzo, none of them are sure things.
In wake of the Justin Verlander trade that cost Houston two of their best prospects in Drew Gilbert and Ryan Clifford, it sure looks like Dana Brown has some work to do to get the Astros minor league system in a good spot again.