Now that the Houston Astros finally addressed the glaring need in their bullpen with the signing of Josh Hader, most fans already started turning their attention to spring training given the team doesn't look poised to make any more moves. With the state of Houston's payroll, it is hard to fault anyone for thinking that.
However, general manager Dana Brown recently revealed that Houston may not be done after all. When asked about the possibility of adding a left-handed bat, his response was that the team could be open to adding a lefty outfielder with some speed.
In a vacuum, this makes sense, and there are certainly plenty of free agent outfield options that could fit the bill if Houston does indeed look outside the organization. However, they shouldn't do so as they have plenty of options in their minor league system that fit exactly what Brown appears to be looking for.
The Astros already have three lefty-hitting outfield prospects who can run
Brown could be just being a bit cagey with Houston's actual plans, and others have already noted, including beat writer Chandler Rome, that the Astros have outfield prospect depth to address the big league roster. That said, it was a bit weird to hear Brown say that he would "pounce on it" if they could find such a player considering who they are already going to be bringing into camp.
Take Jacob Melton, for example. Melton is the Astros' top prospect who can play anywhere in the outfield. The lefty slugger hit 23 homers and stole 46 bags in 2023. While it's possible that Houston may not feel like Melton is quite ready yet, don't discount the possibility that he could break spring training with the big league club assuming he has a strong showing.
The Astros have other options as well. Joey Loperfido has some defensive versatility, is another lefty, and already blasted his way to Triple-A last year. Even Colin Barber, who isn't nearly as highly regarded as Melton or Loperfido, can run and hit a bit even though he's coming off a down season. If Houston isn't completely wedded to needing a bat from the left side, they already added Kenedy Corona to their 40-man roster over the offseason and would be an easy choice to slot in.
In short, it may look like the Astros need another lefty outfield bat that can play the outfield, but not as much as you might think, especially if they are willing to take a chance on one of their young guys.