FanGraphs’ latest prospect rankings show the Astros' dire need for minor league depth

Houston Astros Workout
Houston Astros Workout / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

For a long time, the Houston Astros made building a top shelf farm system look easy. Year after year, they would promote names like Alex Bregman, Yordan Álvarez, Carlos Correa, George Springer, Framber Valdez, and Kyle Tucker. Some of that was a function of how high Houston was drafting at the time, but there was no denying that the Astros had a knack for betting on the right players at the right time.

Unfortunately, the Astros' farm system has seen better days. The organization has lost a lot of the bright minds that were the architects of the team's roster and prospect ranks, and with success comes drafting further down, where the pickings are decidedly more thin. The end result is a minor league system that was recently ranked 27th in all of baseball by The Athletic's Keith Law.

It would be one thing if it was just one person or one publication that was down on the Astros' prospect crop, but it has been pretty universal that Houston lacks both in top-end talent as well as depth in the minor leagues right now. FanGraphs just recently released their top 100 prospects going into 2024 and not a single Astros prospect made the cut.

The Astros are going to need to rebuild their farm system and soon

To be clear, no one is saying that the Astros' farm system is completely devoid of guys that could be useful big leaguers. Yainer Diaz and Chas McCormick are recent success stories, and there are intriguing guys with upside in the farm system in Jacob Melton, Joey Loperfido, Zack Dezenzo, Spencer Arrighetti, and Colton Gordon, among others.

However, to say that any of those guys are sure thing contributors going forward would be very disingenuous. All of them have issues they will have to overcome, and none stand out as top-tier prospects at their respective positions at the moment. For once, evaluators seem to agree that while there is talent in the system, the Astros have a long way to go in order to re-establish their talent pipeline.

The good news is that they certainly got a nice start on that overhaul when the team went out and hired Dana Brown to be their new general manager before the 2023 season. Brown's work with the Braves as their scouting director was widely lauded, which bodes well if he can repeat that success going forward. It may take some time for him to get all the right people in place in his scouting and player development departments, but progress here should be expected.

At least, the Astros hope that is what happens. With Alex Bregman set to hit free agency after this coming season and the futures of Framber Valdez and Kyle Tucker after that being up in the air, Houston may need some real reinforcements from the minors before too long if the team wants to remain a top contender in the years to come.

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