These fast-rising Astros prospects deserve more attention after hot start

Here are some of the hotter Astros prospects to the start the 2024 season, some whom could factor into their 2024 plans.
Houston Astros v Miami Marlins
Houston Astros v Miami Marlins / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

With the Houston Astros off to a truly terrible start to the 2024 season, it is time to start thinking about their internal options if/when roster changes come about. While most of the Astros' roster is pretty locked in at the moment for better or worse due to how much the team has committed to certain guys, that is far from a universal rule and it is looking more and more likely that Houston will have to turn to their prospect depth to solve some of their issues on both sides of the ball in the not-too-distant future.

The first step for that to happen, though, is for the Astros to have some prospects that are playing well and fortunately, there are a few that fit the bill.

Astros Prospects: Who is showing out in 2024?

While it would be ideal if the Astros' top prospects that are already at the higher levels of the minors and on the 40-man roster were playing well, a lot of those guys are off to slow starts including Jacob Melton, Kenedy Corona, and Will Wagner. As a result, some of the guys that we are featuring here are a little further away (but not all), but warrant keeping an eye on as the Astros try to navigate potential changes to their roster over the next year or two.

Luis Baez

Speaking of guys that aren't close to the majors but who are making noise in 2024, Luis Baez is putting together quite the loud start to the season. Baez was the marquee name that Houston signed out of the international free agent market in 2022. And for $1.3 million, the Astros clearly believed in his raw potential. After a somewhat mediocre 2023 season in full-season ball, Baez is starting to show why the Astros thought so highly of him.

In Baez's 10 games at High-A so far in 2024, he's currently slashing .333/.378/.548 with a couple homers. His plate discipline as a pro has been a bit hit or miss so far and we have yet to really see him tap into his very significant raw power in the minors, But it wouldn't be shocking to see the 20-year-old mash his way to at least Double-A this season and firmly be in the mix for a big league roster spot, especially if he can keep his conditioning under control.

Joey Loperfido

Ah yes, we have come to the talk of Astros spring training, Joey Loperfido. There were a number of people hoping Houston would carry him on the big league roster after a strong camp. However, Dana Brown and Co. decided not to as the front office wanted to see Loperfido cut his strikeouts.

While strikeouts have remained a problem (33.3% K rate so far in 2024), everything else has been fantastic for Loperfido down in the minors, as he's put up a 1.194 OPS with 10 homers through his first 16 games at Triple-A this season. The concerns over his swing and miss are real, but with Jake Meyers and Chas McCormick struggling in the Astros' outfield this season, Houston may not be able to hold him down for long.

AJ Blubaugh

On the pitching side, things have been a bit tougher. The Astros already called up Spencer Arrighetti to mixed results and several of the Astros' other top arms like Rhett Kouba, Jose Fleury, and Alonzo Tredwell aren't off to the best starts. However, one starting pitching prospect that has shown some real signs of life at Triple-A is AJ Blubaugh.

Houston picked Blubaugh in the seventh round back in 2022 and promptly converted him back to being a starter. Thanks to a healthy mix of pitches, Blubaugh pitched his way to Double-A last year. and in 2024 he has been flat out dominant. In three appearances across two levels, he has a 0.59 ERA with 19 strikeouts in 15.1 innings of work. He isn't on the Astros' 40-man roster which is a small hurdle, but do not be surprised if he pitches his way into Houston's rotation plans this season, especially if another injury pops up.

Jake Bloss

Generally speaking, guys that pitch four years in college don't find themselves on the fast track to the big leagues after being drafted. However, the Astros' third-round pick last year, Jake Bloss, finds himself doing just that. Bloss is currently only at High-A, but his current dominance of the level combined with his stuff and age could force the Astros' hand and move him up the minor league ranks in a hurry.

Bloss has only made a pair of starts so far, but they were good ones, as his 1.08 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 8.1 innings of work show. He already has three pitches that look like they should play up with his fastball, slider, and curve, and he knows how to gameplan against hitters. The results in the minors are against younger guys that he should be beating, so the Astros should challenge Bloss soon and he could figure into the big league rotation plan by 2025, if not sooner.

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