Dana Brown praising top prospects giving Astros fans hint for Opening Day roster?

Some of Houston's top young talent are turning heads down in Florida.
Houston Astros pitcher Spencer Arrighetti (75) pitches
Houston Astros pitcher Spencer Arrighetti (75) pitches / Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports
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The Houston Astros are a veteran-laden team with former MVP Jose Altuve and three-time Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander leading the charge. While having a veteran presence is key to building a winning culture in a clubhouse, the Astros can ill-afford to run out an entire roster of players on the wrong side of 30.

Houston's farm system is not highly regarded throughout the league. The Astros are the only major league team, according to MLB Pipeline, without a Top-100 prospect. But that doesn't mean the Astros' minor leagues are devoid of talent.

Astros GM Dana Brown recently sat down for a Q&A with MLB.com's Bill Ladson and was asked about which young players can make an impact on the team this season. Brown cited both outfielder Jacob Melton and pitcher Spencer Arrighetti. Did Brown just drop a huge hint? Will either Melton or Arrighetti be part of the Astros Opening Day roster?

Dana Brown praising top prospects giving Astros fans hint for Opening Day roster?

It seems like a stretch to think that Melton would actually finagle his way onto the Opening Day roster. The former second-round pick played in just over a dozen games at the Double-A level last season, and though productive during his time in Corpus Christi, it seems likely that Melton will land back in the minors to begin the 2024 season.

Arrighetti, on the other hand, has a much better chance of breaking camp with the big league club. If Verlander, who's been sidelined since camp began with shoulder issues, is unavailable for Opening Day, Arrighetti's odds will certainly increase.

Arrighetti got his first taste of Grapefruit League action this past week with a two-inning performance against the Detroit Tigers. Arrighetti allowed no runs and just one hit while striking out three batters. More importantly, the 24-year-old didn't issue a single walk.

Arrighetti logged over 120 innings last season split between Double-A and Triple-A with a 4.30 ERA and 144 strikeouts. Arrighetti's 11.5% walk-rate, however, is not where the Houston coaching staff wants him to be, and it's a number that must come down in order to get called up to The Show.

At the moment, even with Verlander limited, it would seem that Arrighetti is on the periphery. Framber Valdez, Christian Javier, Hunter Brown, and Jose Urquidy likely have four of the five spots locked up. JP France is still out of commission as well, and likely behind Verlander in terms of being ready for the season.

It would take a strong showing from the right-hander this spring, but if the projected Astros starters are still battling injuries, it's not crazy to think that Arrighetti will make the Opening Day roster.

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