Houston Astros 2024 International Review


The Astros have been one of the most active teams when it comes to signing players from Cuba. That continued in 2024, with the team’s top two bonuses going to Cuban players, but the rest of the class has a mix of intriguing athletes and one of the better pitching prospects signed this year. 

Top Of The Class

The Astros signed outfielder Cesar Hernandez for $1.7 million, the No. 2 bonus this year for a player from Cuba. Hernandez hit well throughout his time in Cuba’s junior national leagues. He’s 21, so the Astros have pushed him to Low-A Fayetteville. Hernandez is 6 feet, 195 pounds and stood out for his athleticism, speed and ability to make hard contact.

He’s a lefty with an aggressive approach who has shown more power since he left Cuba. It’s average raw power and he was able to launch balls out with loft to his pull side during workouts in the Dominican Republic, though in games his swing has some stiffness with a path that lends itself more toward line drives and putting the ball on the ground. He’s a plus runner and sometimes better underway with a fringe-average arm. Hernandez has the raw foot speed for center field, though he will have to improve his instincts and routes to stick there.  

Names To Know

Luis Rives, OF, Cuba: Rives, 19, is powerfully built at 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, signing for $897,500 and now in the Rookie-level Florida Complex League. He played for Sancti Spiritus in Cuba’s 18U national league in 2022 and hit .310/.434/.381 with seven walks and three strikeouts in 53 plate appearances. Since then he has added considerable size and strength to flash above-average raw power. He’s a switch-hitter who is a more advanced hitter from the left side and more power batting righthanded.

Rives hasn’t shown much swing and miss, but he will need to develop better plate discipline and add more loft to his swing, as he makes hard contact but with a low-launch swing. Rives runs surprisingly well for his size with plus speed underway. That might be enough for him to get reps in center field, though he has just played the corners early in the FCL, with a corner outfield spot his most likely fit. He made it a focus to improve his arm strength over the past year, jumping from a below-average arm to become an average tool. 

Franchely Silverio, SS, Dominican Republic: Silverio is a 17-year-old, righthanded-hitting shortstop with a big 6-foot-2 frame signed for $672,500. He has an aggressive approach and showed good bat-to-ball skills as an amateur with the ability to whip the barrel through the zone with good bat speed, suggesting more impact that should come as he fills out. Silverio has the actions and internal clock to stick in the dirt. He’s a fringe-average runner with an above-average arm, so he should get a chance to develop at shortstop. If his range backs up as he puts on more weight, he could shift over to third base. 

Amauri Ramirez, OF, Dominican Republic: Ramirez was born in Pennsylvania and grew up in the United States, but he moved to the Dominican Republic a few years ago and signed as an international free agent for $597,500. He’s a bilingual speaker with good balance in a simple, fluid swing from the left side. Ramirez picks up spin well and is a high contact hitter who flashes over-the-fence power now and should grow into more as he fills out his 6-foot-2 frame, with a chance to be a 20-plus home run threat. Ramirez has good defensive instincts, reading the ball well off the bat and taking good routes in center field. An average runner, Ramirez doesn’t have typical center field speed, so he could end up shifting to a corner at higher levels. 

Eduardito Lopez, SS, Dominican Republic: The Astros signed Lopez for $172,500. He’s a quick-twitch athlete at 17 with a skinny 5-foot-10, 150-pound build. He’s a plus runner whose athleticism is evident at shortstop, where has good actions and an above-average arm. Lopez swings hard and is able to generate occasional sneaky pull power for his size, though getting stronger will be critical for his offensive development.

Kevin Santana, RHP, Dominican Republic: Santana was one of the better pitching prospects signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2024. He’s 6-foot-4, 175 pounds at 17, a high upside frame with a fastball that’s already trended up from 92 mph as an amateur to 94 mph now with good extension. The strength projection Santana has points to more velocity on the way. He complements his fastball with a high-spin curveball, a tight breaking ball with good depth that should be a bat-missing pitch. He signed for $122,500.

Sleeper Watch

Samuel Brito is an athletic, 17-year-old shortstop from Venezuela who signed for $57,500. He’s 5-foot-11, 170 pounds, a plus runner with good quickness and range at shortstop. His twitch shows up in his quick hands at the plate to sting the ball well for his size from the right side of the plate. 

The Astros also signed Venezuelan catcher Alexi Quiroz for $97,500. He’s the son of Alexis Quiroz, who runs one of the top programs for Venezuelan prospects. Quiroz is 6 feet, 205 pounds at 17, a righthanded hitter who performed well in games in Venezuela. He’s a smart player who has grown up around the game and made strides with his defense to improve his chances to stick behind the plate.

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