BA Newsletter: Get Analysis, Rankings Delivered To Your Inbox!

Houston Astros

Prospects Overview

Top 30 Prospects

Click prospect for player report

Prospect Lists

Best Tools

Top Prospects of the Decade
(Listed with 2022 organization)

Top Draft Picks of the Decade
(Listed with 2022 organization)

Player Reports

  1. 1. Hunter Brown | RHP
    Hunter Brown
    Born: Aug 29, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 203
    Drafted/Signed: Wayne State, 2019 (5th round).
    Signed By: Scott Oberhelman.
    Minors: 6-3 | 2.52 ERA | 115 SO | 38 BB | 86 IP

    BA Grade: 55/High

    Track Record: Brown burst onto the draft scene in 2019, striking out 114 batters in 85.1 innings as a junior at Division II Wayne State. The Astros took him in the fifth round that June and signed him for $325,000. Brown's first full minor league season in 2021 featured much of the same traits that attracted the Astros. He struck out 131 batters in 101.1 innings with a 4.04 ERA between Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Sugar Land. The performance put Brown, a Detroit native who grew up idolizing Justin Verlander, in the thick of conversations to join him in the Astros' rotation.

    Scouting Report: Brown relies on a power four-seam fastball that sits in the mid-to-upper 90s and can reach 99 mph. He can elevate the pitch when needed and misses bats due to the late riding life it generates. Brown possesses two breaking pitches, a spike curveball in the low 80s and a sweeping slider that generates swings and misses. Both his four-seamer and curveball are major league-caliber, but a lack of consistency prevents Brown from being a bona fide, big-league starting pitching prospect. He is frequently unable to repeat his delivery and has the occasional propensity to lose his release point. His fastball command issues are apparent and must be solved for him to stick as a starter, although he could still be dominant in the bullpen.

    The Future: Brown should begin 2022 at Triple-A Sugar Land, where perhaps a year of seasoning will yield the breakout season many within the organization envision.

    Scouting Grades: Fastball: 70. Slider: 50. Curveball: 60. Changeup: 50. Control: 40.

  2. 2. Yainer Diaz | C
    Yainer Diaz
    Born: Sep 21, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 195
    Signed By: Rigo De Los Santos/Johnathan Leyba/Koby Perez (Cleveland)
    Minors: .297/.347/.522 | 19 HR | 2 SB | 370 AB

    BA Grade: 50/Medium

    May Update: In a system lacking well-rounded positional prospects Diaz offers balance in a solid defensive profile with offensive skills. His combination of average contact skills and plus raw power gives him some offensive upside to pair with his defense. It's a backup catcher profile, but Diaz could end up having a long major league career.

    Track Record: Cleveland signed Diaz for $25,000 during the 2016 international signing period. Five years later, the Astros acquired him and Phil Maton in exchange for Myles Straw at the trade deadline. Diaz played just 12 games at Low-A Fayetteville before earning a promotion to High-A Asheville. He hit .396/.438/.781 in 105 plate appearances there to finish his season batting .324.

    Scouting Report: Diaz is an above-average hitter and a well-sequenced swing that easily produces contact. His hit-over-power profile does not fit a typical catcher, but the Astros are intrigued by the possibility. His exit velocities are near major league average and he hits hard line drives to all fields, but needs to tap into more power within his thick frame. His pitch selection needs to improve, and that may help in unlocking some power. Diaz has an above-average arm, but needs to refine his receiving and defense if he will stick behind the plate. He plays first base, too.

    The Future: Diaz has hit at every level and passed every test. Facing more advanced pitching at Double-A in 2022 could dictate his immediate trajectory.

    Scouting Grades: Hitting: 45. Power: 55. Run: 30. Fielding: 45. Arm: 55.

  3. 3. Drew Gilbert | OF
    Drew Gilbert
    Born: Sep 27, 2000
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 5'0" Wt.: 185

    BA Grade: 50/High

    August Update: Gilbert might be a smaller center fielder at 5-foot-9, 185 pounds, but in 2022 he's been the best hitter on the best team in college baseball, and he's got the physical tools to back it up. Through 54 games during his junior season, Gilbert slashed .380/.474/.696 with 10 home runs, 20 doubles and as many walks (32) as strikeouts (32). Gilbert controls the zone well. He rarely chases at pitches outside of the zone and he also makes plenty of contact, with low whiff rates across all pitch types. He's a twitchy, lefthanded hitter with bat speed and strength—with some of the louder exit velocity numbers among the top college hitters in the class. Most of his in-game power came to the pull side this spring, but he has shown enough juice to homer to left and left-center as well, though some scouts wonder if he'll maintain that power at the next level with a wood bat. Gilbert has played a strong center field and should stick at the position at the next level. He's turned in plus run times and he also has a strong, plus throwing arm that will be an asset for him regardless of the position. There's a lot of safety in Gilbert's profile given his up-the-middle defensive role and solid tool set across the board. The industry may be split on his overall upside potential, however, with some scouts more skeptical because of his maxed-out frame with little physical projection remaining. Gilbert signed with the Astros for $2,497,500 after being selected with the 28th overall pick.

    Scouting Grades: Hit: 55. Power: 50. Run: 55. Field: 55. Arm: 60.

  4. 4. Jacob Melton | OF
    Jacob Melton
    Born: Sep 7, 2000
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 208
    Minors: .000/0/0 | 0 HR | 0 SB | 5 AB

    BA Grade: 50/High

    August Update: An All-Pac-12 honorable mention in 2021 after slashing .404/.466/.697 with six home runs, Melton has continued to produce at a high level during his 2022 draft year while moving from first base and right field to the everyday center field role for the Beavers. A 6-foot-3, 208-pound lefthanded hitter, Melton hit .371/.435/.684 over his first 57 games, with 15 home runs and 21 doubles, while going 20-for-21 (95.2%) in stolen base attempts. Melton's production is prettier than his swing, which is described as “unorthodox” and features plenty of moving parts. He starts with an open stance and features a leg kick in his load, with a long load that includes a barrel dump on the back half and an arm bar. Despite those mechanics, Melton has plenty of bat speed and the athleticism to make it work. While his bat path might not be ideal, his barrel stays in the zone for a long time and he has the strength to drive the ball with authority, with a frame that suggests more could be coming. Melton will expand the zone at times and there's some swing and miss—particularly against breaking balls and offspeed pitches—but he has hammered fastballs, produced against 93-plus mph velocity and displayed all-fields home run power. Some scouts have given him plus raw power grades. Melton has turned in 70-grade run times from home to first and is a plus runner consistently who should be able to stick in center field, with an average throwing arm. While Melton is a bit on the older end for the college class (he turns 22 in September), his power-speed tool set, Pac-12 production and lefthanded-hitting center field profile checks plenty of boxes for the Astros. Melton signed for $1,000,000 after being selected with the 64th overall pick in the second round.

    Scouting Grades: Hit: 50. Power: 55. Run: 60. Field: 50. Arm: 50.

  5. 5. Pedro Leon | SS/OF
    Pedro Leon
    Born: May 28, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'9" Wt.: 185
    Drafted/Signed: Cuba, 2021.
    Signed By: Charlie Gonzalez.
    Minors: .237/.370/.452 | 14 HR | 32 SB | 325 AB

    BA Grade: 45/High

    Track Record: The Astros invested $4 million in Leon as the crown jewel of their 2020 international signing class, stating their belief the Cuban center fielder could be a “rapid mover” to the majors. He had a 1.098 OPS in two seasons in Serie Nacional, including an all-star appearance as a 20-year-old. The pandemic prevented Leon from playing in 2020 and a visa issue delayed his arrival to spring training in 2021, but he still jumped straight to Double-A to begin his professional career. The Astros informed Leon he would see loads of time at shortstop upon signing him and, despite not playing the position since childhood, Leon made 48 of his first 71 minor league starts at shortstop.

    Scouting Report: Leon has enough athleticism and defensive aptitude to handle both center field and shortstop. He flashes plus-plus speed and has plus arm strength, as evidenced by a throw clocked at 98 mph from center field in spring training. However, many of the plus tools promised before Leon's arrival never materialized during his first minor league season. He has a long swing and struggled first with velocity at Double-A and then with breaking pitches in the Arizona Fall League. Though strong in his frame, his small stature and contact concerns preclude him from having more than fringe-average power. Leon's learning curve is steep, but his makeup and initial adaptation are encouraging. After striking out 33 times in his first 85 plate appearances, he posted a .766 OPS the rest of the season while earning a promotion to Triple-A.

    The Future: Leon's best path to the big leagues is in center field, but he must continue to adjust offensively to be an everyday player. He is widely viewed as a future utilityman.

    Scouting Grades: Hit: 45. Power: 45. Speed: 60. Fielding: 50. Arm: 60.

  6. 6. Korey Lee | C
    Korey Lee
    Born: Jul 25, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 210
    Drafted/Signed: California, 2019 (1st round).
    Signed By: Tom Costic.
    Minors: .220/.284/.413 | 11 HR | 6 SB | 264 AB

    BA Grade: 55/High

    Track Record: Fourteen years after the Astros drafted and developed Stanford product Jason Castro as their catcher of the future, another California-based backstop is following a similar path. The Astros surprised the industry by selecting Lee in the first round of the 2019 draft at No. 32 overall. Many teams thought Lee would be available in later rounds, but the Astros pounced due to their confidence in a bat that showed promise in his final collegiate season at California hitting behind Andrew Vaughn. The team hoped Lee's athleticism would pay dividends behind the plate. He signed for $1.75 million and delivered a solid, if unspectacular, debut season in Rookie ball in 2019. The upside and potential Houston saw finally manifested in Lee's first full minor league season in 2021. Lee hit .277/.340/.438 with 11 home runs in 88 games and reached Triple-A Sugar Land during a revealing campaign that included noticeable adjustments to both his batting and catching stances. He continued to make contact and control the strike zone across three minor league levels while distinguishing himself as a defensive standout. The Astros exposed Lee to both first base and third base in 2021, but his short-term future is behind the plate, where his athleticism is obvious and an opportunity for imminent major league playing time looms.

    Scouting Report: Making so many adjustments left Lee somewhat inconsistent throughout the 2021 season, but his upside is apparent. He now catches in a one-knee stance to generate quicker releases with a plus-plus throwing arm. He produces pop times as low as 1.8 seconds in the one-knee stance. He shortened his arm slot to help the throws, too, but it has led to some accuracy issues. The two major changes sometimes leave Lee looking ragged behind the plate but his consistency and work ethic outweigh the occasional off days. He's developed into a better receiver but still needs work. Concerns still surround Lee's bat, but scouts believe he can hit enough to become an everyday catcher. He hit far too many ground balls to his pull side during his first minor league season, necessitating a few stance alterations. Lee came into pro ball with a busy batting stance—complete with a long stride and too much pre-pitch movement. Lee is far more stable and quiet now, which allows him to use his whole body, drive the ball more frequently and hit line drives. Lee can still tap into more of his above-average power, and the strides he made in 2021 portend well for the future.

    The Future: Lee is the Astros' catcher of the future and is nearly ready for the major leagues. Both Castro and starter Martin Maldonado are signed only through 2022 and the team traded longtime third catcher Garrett Stubbs to clear a space on the 40-man roster and at Triple-A Sugar Land, where Lee should spend most of 2022. His MLB debut could come during the season.

    Scouting Grades: Hit: 50. Power: 50. Speed: 40. Fielding: 55. Arm: 70.

  7. 7. Spencer Arrighetti | RHP
    Spencer Arrighetti
    Born: Jan 22, 2000
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 186
    Minors: 5-5 | 5.23 ERA | 110 SO | 42 BB | 76 IP

    BA Grade: 45/High

    Track Record: Arrighetti spent his three collegiate seasons at three different schools. He played his freshman campaign at TCU before transferring to Navarro (Texas) JC in 2020 and spending his junior season as Louisiana-Lafayette's Friday night starter. The Astros drafted him in the sixth round of the 2021 draft and limited his appearances in 2021 to six games across the Rookie-level and Low-A. Arrighetti was assigned to High-A Asheville out of camp this spring.

    Scouting Report: Armed with a four-pitch repertoire, Arrighetti's pitch-mix is centered around his above-average four-seam fastball. The heater sits 93-94 mph, touching 98 mph at peak with late life and heavy ride. It checks several analytically-focused boxes with a flatter vertical approach angle, above-average induced vertical break and a low release height. Arrighetti is also in the upper-echelon when it comes to extension, getting nearly 7 feet on average. He pairs his fastball with a sweepy slider in the low-to-mid 80s with heavy horizontal break and raw spin rates in the 2,500-2,600 rpm range. Against lefthanded batters he pockets the slider for a duo of secondaries, instead throwing a curveball at 78-80 mph with two-plane break and more downward movement than his slider and a mid-80s changeup he's still honing his feel for. It's a starter's pitch mix with unique fastball traits, two distinctive breaking balls and split-specific sequencing. While Arrighetti shows average command, his ability to land his curveball and changeup with consistency lead to some walk issues.

    The Future: Arrighetti has the stuff and deep pitch mix to project as a starter long term. Whether he develops into a back-of-the-rotation starter role long term will depend on the development of his command. Scouting Grades: Fastball: 55. Slider: 55. Curveball: 50. Changeup: 45

  8. 8. Joe Perez | 3B
    Joe Perez
    Born: Aug 12, 1999
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 215
    Signed By: Charlie Gonzalez.
    Minors: .242/.311/.349 | 3 HR | 3 SB | 149 AB

    BA Grade: 45/High

    Track Record: The Astros drafted Perez in the second round and signed him for $1.6 million in 2017 knowing he'd need Tommy John surgery. He had it one day after his selection, starting a circuitous career that finally seems on track. His Tommy John recovery, a shoulder surgery in 2018 and the coronavirus pandemic limited Perez to just 209 professional plate appearances prior to the 2021 season. He lost around 15 pounds during the pandemic to become more durable and reached Double-A Corpus Christi during his first full minor league season. Perez posted an .849 OPS and showed serviceable enough defense at third base to earn a spot on Houston's 40-man roster.

    Scouting Report: Perez isn't an excitable player but boasts an offensive skill set many feel will give him a chance to make the major leagues. He is still a power-over-hit offensive prospect, but he demonstrated a better ability to use the opposite field in 2021 while making far more contact and staging competitive at-bats. Perez's swing can still get too long, but he has enough strength to produce above-average power. The Astros will keep pushing him at third base—where a plus arm can compensate for a lack of range—but could expose him to left field to increase his value.

    The Future: Perez reshaped his body and refined his focus to put himself back on the map in 2021. Having another season similar in 2022 at Triple-A Sugar Land would make him an intriguing bench option in the major leagues.

    Scouting Grades: Hit: 50. Power: 50. Speed: 40. Fielding: 45. Arm: 60.

  9. 9. Justin Dirden | OF
    Justin Dirden
    Born: Jul 16, 1997
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 209
    Minors: .324/.411/.616 | 20 HR | 7 SB | 349 AB

    BA Grade: 45/High

    Track Record: Dirden played five years at the collegiate level, missing the 2017 season after transferring from East Carolina to Southeastern Missouri State. He signed as a nondrafted free agent after the 2020 season. He spent his first professional season split between both stops of Class A in 2021, hitting .274/.397/.537 over 83 games. Dirden was assigned to Double-A Corpus Christi out of camp this spring.

    Scouting Report: Dirden is an under-the-radar prospect who's impressed the Astros internally with his consistency at the plate and ability to handle all three outfield positions. He's an average bat-to-ball hitter with average on-base skills and above-average game power. His ability to take consistent attack angles to pitches in the zone and his barrel control allow Dirden to make the most of his contact in games.

    The Future: The fourth outfielder label is often thrown around as a catch-all but Dirden shows the perfect skill set for a bench player, with the ability to fill in a variety of roles defensively while providing competent and professional at-bats. Scouting Grades: Hit: 50. Power: 55. Run: 50. Fielding: 50. Arm: 50

  10. 10. Jaime Melendez | RHP
    Jaime Melendez
    Born: Sep 26, 2001
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'8" Wt.: 170
    Signed By: Miguel Pintor.
    Minors: 2-8 | 4.88 ERA | 102 SO | 49 BB | 72 IP

    BA Grade: 45/High

    Track Record: Melendez signed for $195,000 out of Mexico in May 2019 as a slender prospect known more for his craftiness and pitchability than overpowering stuff. He appeared in 11 complex league games upon his arrival and did not pitch in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Melendez added more than 20 pounds to his frame and upped his velocity to ascend three levels of the minors during a breakout 2021. He reached Double-A Corpus Christi for his final three appearances of the season.

    Scouting Report: Melendez draws comparisons to a fellow Mexican Astros pitcher: Jose Urquidy. Melendez throws from a high slot and is armed with a sneaky fastball that has substantial carry. After sitting 87-91 mph when he signed, Melendez now sits at 91-93 mph with his fastball and touches 95 on occasion. He generates swings and misses up in the strike zone, aligning perfectly with the Astros' organization-wide pitching philosophy. His changeup has developed into one of the organization's best. It has a similar spin rate to his fastball and some two-seam action. He throws a short slider with late break that has plus potential along with a curveball seen as average. His deception, ability to mix all four of his pitches and average control make him an intriguing starting candidate.

    The Future: Melendez has four average pitches that he mixes and commands well, but durability remains a concern. He has the upside to be a starter but some evaluators feel he's destined for middle relief. A full season at Double-A in 2022 may help clear up his future.

    Scouting Grades: Fastball: 55. Slider: 50. Curveball: 45. Changeup: 55. Control: 50.

  11. 11. David Hensley | 3B
    David Hensley
    Born: Mar 28, 1996
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'6" Wt.: 190
    Minors: .284/.403/.460 | 9 HR | 15 SB | 341 AB

    BA Grade: 45/High

    Track Record: Drafted in the 26th round of the 2018 draft as a senior sign out of San Diego State, Hensley played all over the diamond for the Aztecs, converting from starting right fielder to starting shortstop his senior season. Noted for his athleticism, Hensley was primarily a contact-driven player in college. As a professional, he's slowly tapped into more raw power. After a full season at Double-A Corpus Christi in 2021, Hensley was assigned to Triple-A Sugar Land to start 2022.

    Scouting Report: Hensley is a tall and athletic player who's logged time at all four infield positions in each of the last two seasons. Offensively, he's shown steady progression over the last three seasons as a hitter, improving his power and plate discipline at each level. He's shown strong contact skills dating back to college, an unusual trait for a player his size. As he's progressed from a moderately aggressive hitter to a patient one he's seen his overall production rise. He's also tapped into another level of raw power with average exit velocity and top 10 percentile exit velocities ranking well above major league average. Hensley is a late-blooming player with a versatile defensive profile and a blossoming combination of contact, power and approach at the plate.

    The Future: A nearly ready utility player with true defensive versatility and developing offensive prowess with real impact in the bat, Hensley could develop into an everyday regular on a second-division club.

  12. 12. Tyler Whitaker | OF
    Tyler Whitaker
    Born: Aug 2, 2002
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 190
    Signed By: Ryan Leake.
    Minors: .175/.253/.299 | 8 HR | 12 SB | 355 AB

    BA Grade: 50/Extreme

    Track Record: In their final draft without a first- or second-round pick as punishment for their electronic sign-stealing scandal, the Astros took Whitaker 87th overall and praised him as a potential first-rounder who fell into their lap. Houston paid Whitaker $1.5 million—more than $800,000 over slot value—to break his commitment to Arizona. Whitaker played primarily right field during his senior season due to a team need, but the Astros view him as a center fielder long term. He started in center field in 19 of his 29 games in the Florida Complex League in his pro debut.

    Scouting Report: Whitaker is toolsy and raw, but exudes enough energy and athleticism to portend well for his future. He has room to add more size and muscle to his lanky 6-foot-4 frame, and his athleticism is apparent. He has plus-plus speed and plus raw power, but his grooved swing produces too many swings and misses. He struck out 40 times in 114 plate appearances in the FCL and projects to be a below-average hiter. Whitaker has enough tools to play all three outfield positions. His plus arm profiles in right field ,but his enticing speed will keep him in center field for now.

    The Future: Whitaker needs more seasoning and playing time, but he stands out as a bright spot in a system light on young position player talent. His first full season in 2022 should start in Low-A Fayetteville.

    Scouting Grades: Hit: 40. Power: 55. Speed: 60. Fielding: 45. Arm: 55.

  13. 13. Ryan Clifford | OF
    Ryan Clifford
    Born: Jul 20, 2003
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 0'0"

    BA Grade: 50/Extreme

    August Update: Clifford has been famous on the national scene for years, after competing with USA Baseball's 12U and 15U national teams, as well as playing against older competition in travel ball with the Canes. A big and physical, 6-foot-3, 206-pound lefthanded hitter, Clifford is a bat-first prospect who is close to physically maxed out and will be 19 shortly after the draft. Clifford has a clean bat path and a sound approach at the plate, but he generates his power more with strength than standout bat speed, and because of that, scouts think he'll have to excel at pitch recognition and timing to get to an above-average bat at the next level. Clifford doesn't have standout supplemental tools: he's a fringy runner who is just adequate in a corner outfield spot with solid arm strength. Clifford's lengthy track record of hitting as an amateur was enough for the Astros to sign him for $1,256,530 in the 11th round.

  14. 14. Alex Santos | RHP
    Alex Santos
    Born: Feb 10, 2002
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 215
    Drafted/Signed: HS—Bronx, N.Y., 2020 (2nd rd supp).
    Signed By: Bobby St. Pierre.
    Minors: 0-8 | 5.25 ERA | 93 SO | 35 BB | 74 IP

    BA Grade: 50/Extreme

    Track Record: The Astros selected Santos No. 72 overall in the 2020 draft despite him missing his entire senior high school season due to the pandemic. Rapsodo data from Santos' bullpen sessions during the shutdown, coupled with his continued presence on the showcase circuit, gave Houston confidence in its selection. Santos did not appear in a professional game until 2021, when he threw 41.2 innings for Low-A Fayetteville and demonstrated some of the potential that tantalized the Astros.

    Scouting Report: Santos sits in the low-to-mid 90s with a high-spin four-seam fastball that can sneak up on hitters and always seems to miss bats. His fastball is usually 91-93 mph, but can touch 95 in spurts. Santos' ability to spin both the four-seamer and a plus curveball align well with the Astros' pitching philosophies. His confidence is growing in a fading changeup that he barely threw in high school, and it now has average potential. Continued progression of the changeup and a slider will serve Santos well if he hopes to start in the major leagues. Santos' arm action and failure to repeat his delivery consistently leave some wondering whether he's better suited as a reliever, but his strike-throwing ability stood out throughout the draft circuit.

    The Future: Perhaps no young pitcher in Houston's system has more upside as a potential starter than Santos. He'll need to refine his repeatability and curtail some of his bouts of bad command, but hope is high given his age and relative inexperience.

    Scouting Grades: Fastball: 55. Curveball: 60. Changeup: 50. Control: 50.

  15. 15. Forrest Whitley | RHP
    Forrest Whitley
    Born: Sep 15, 1997
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'7" Wt.: 238
    Drafted/Signed: HS--San Antonio, 2016 (1st round).
    Signed By: Noel Gonzales-Luna.
    Minors: 0-1 | 6.23 ERA | 17 SO | 4 BB | 13 IP

    BA Grade: 50/Extreme

    Track Record:: Whitley's fall from baseball's top pitching prospect continued in 2021 when he had Tommy John surgery after a few spring training bullpen sessions. He's thrown just 59.2 innings in affiliated ball since 2018—and had a 7.99 ERA. He finished the 2019 season at Triple-A with a 12.21 ERA but Houston still put him on its 40-man roster. Whitley flashed promise at the team's alternate training site in 2020 and in some summer camp simulated games at Minute Maid Park

    Scouting Report: Whitley hasn't pitched to his potential since 2017. A series of changes always seem to follow him, be it with his delivery, training regimen or weight, and none have stuck. His arsenal remains one of the organization's best: a plus four-seam fastball at 92-97 mph complemented by two high-spin breaking balls and a plus changeup. His collection of five pitches that are all above average or plus remains unmatched, but commanding that arsenal is another issue entirely. His fastball tends to sail over the top of the strike zone and his cutter was often a ball out of his hand before surgery. He also struggled to keep his composure when things weren't going well.

    The Future: Whitley still possesses front-of-the-rotation type stuff. He could return to game action in summer 2022 and will try to actualize his tantalizing promise.

  16. 16. Colin Barber | OF
    Colin Barber
    Born: Dec 4, 2000
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 194
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Chico, Calif., 2019 (4th round).
    Signed By: Tim Costic.
    Minors: .303/.410/.470 | 7 HR | 5 SB | 198 AB

    BA Grade: 45/High

    Track Record: Barber received a $1 million signing bonus after the Astros took him in the fourth round of the 2019 draft. He played 20 games of independent ball during the coronavirus pandemic and joined the Astros' alternate training site in September for developmental purposes. He was touted as a potential breakout candidate when minor league play resumed in 2021, but he played just 16 games at High-A Asheville before injuring his shoulder and having season-ending surgery.

    Scouting Report: Barber has retooled his stance and swing to eliminate some of the rollover ground balls to the right side that previously plagued him. He digs his heel into the ground before starting his hands and finishes with his top hand up, allowing him to loft the ball and capitalize on his above-average raw power from the left side. Barber's patient approach disappeared during his brief 2021 season in favor of an aggressive, strikeout-filled stint that caused some worry. He has above-average speed and an average arm that could stick in center field or profile well in right. Within the organization, Barber's elite work ethic and determined demeanor have drawn comparisons to Alex Bregman.

    The Future: Barber has perhaps more upside than any of the Astros' crew of young, recently drafted outfielders, but he has to show he's healthy. He should start 2022 back at Asheville.

  17. 17. Misael Tamarez | RHP
    Misael Tamarez
    Born: Jan 16, 2000
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 162
    Minors: 2-5 | 4.52 ERA | 93 SO | 49 BB | 84 IP

    BA Grade: 45/High

    Track Record: Signed as an older prospect out of the Dominican Republic, Tamarez debuted after signing in the Dominican Summer League before coming stateside later that year. He made his full-season debut in 2021, splitting time between two levels of Class A and performing well. He was assigned to Double-A Corpus Christi out of camp this spring.

    Scouting Report: A long-limbed and athletic pitcher, Tamarez looks likely to add strength in the coming years, though power is already a major part of Tamarez's identity on the mound. He sits 94-96 mph, touching 98 mph with heavy ride on his fastball. He pairs that with a tight slider in the mid 80s he can get up to 87-88 mph at peak that plays off of his fastball and is his best bat-missing pitch. He'll show a changeup and a curveball but neither are major parts of his arsenal. He struggles to command his secondaries and will lose feel for his fastball altogether at times.

    The Future: A heavy two-pitch plan of attack and bouts of wildness give Tamarez the look of a reliever long term. His high-octane fastball and slider combination could play up in short spurts and make him a potentially valuable late-inning option.

  18. 18. Jayden Murray | RHP
    Jayden Murray
    Born: Apr 11, 1997
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 190
    Signed By: David Hamlett.
    Minors: 8-3 | 3.24 ERA | 73 SO | 23 BB | 81 IP

    BA Grade: 45/High

    August Update: Acquired from the Rays in the three-team trade that also netted Trey Mancini, Murray has a deep pitch mix with a nasty sweeping slider, two fastball variations a cutter and a changeup. The 25-year-old is near major league ready.

    Track Record: A $3,000 senior sign out of Dixie State (Utah), Murray set school records for single-season strikeouts (93), strikeout rate (9.9 K/9) and wins (10) as a senior. Murray found High-A unchallenging and didn't flinch at a second-half promotion to Double-A Montgomery. His 2.16 ERA was third best and his 0.71 WHIP was best in the minors among pitchers with 90+ innings.

    Scouting Report: Murray is one of the best pure strike-throwers in the Rays system. He fills the zone with his fastball, slider and changeup. Overall, he threw strikes on 67.5% of all his pitches, ranking in the top 10% of all MiLB pitchers with 90+ innings. Murray is not a soft-tossing command specialist, as his 93-96 mph above-average fastball touched 97 at his best. His sweepy low-80s above-average slider pairs well with it. He also shows confidence in his fringe-average, hard 86-89 mph changeup. Murray's success is largely based on his plus-plus control. His ability to throw all three pitches for strikes in any count makes it hard for hitters to know what is coming.

    The Future: Murray has been a fast-mover so far thanks to his excellent control and command. He should reach Triple-A Durham in 2022. He's a potential No. 4 starter if it all clicks.

  19. 19. Peter Solomon | RHP
    Peter Solomon
    Born: Aug 16, 1996
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 201
    Drafted/Signed: Notre Dame, 2017 (4th round).
    Signed By: Nick Venuto.
    Minors: 6-5 | 4.77 ERA | 81 SO | 37 BB | 89 IP

    BA Grade: 45/High

    Track Record: Solomon and Astros teammate Brandon Bielak played together at Notre Dame, where Solomon struggled as a starter and was relegated to the bullpen. The Astros turned him back into a starter after selecting him in the fourth round of the 2017 draft. He thrived before Tommy John surgery sidelined him for most of 2019 and the pandemic prevented him from pitching in 2020. Solomon put it all together in 2021, making his major league debut as a fill-in long reliever while demonstrating his potential future as a back-end starter with an impressive season at Triple-A Sugar Land.

    Scouting Report: Solomon's four-seam fastball only averages 92 mph and is too straight at times, but it generates late ride that helps him miss bats at its best. He can run his four-seamer up to 96 mph in short spurts out of the bullpen. Solomon pairs his fastball with a new cutter he developed prior to Tommy John surgery that hovers around the mid 80s and proved effective in a short major league cameo. His slider is fringe-average and takes a back seat to a downer curveball and changeup that both continue to creep toward above-average

    The Future: Solomon showed enough command and durability in 2021 to project as a back-end starter. He should begin the 2022 season in Sugar Land as a depth option for the Astros rotation.

    Scouting Grades: Fastball: 50. Cutter: 45. Curveball: 55. Changeup: 55. Control: 50.

  20. 20. Trey Dombroski | LHP
    Trey Dombroski
    Born: Mar 13, 2001
    Bats: R Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 235

    BA Grade: 45/High

    August Update: Dombroski has posted outstanding numbers at Monmouth, including this season with a sparkling 120-14 strikeout-to-walk mark in 95 innings to go with a 3.13 ERA. Performing last summer in the Cape Cod League, where he had an ERA of 0.85 with 45 strikeouts and two walks in 31.2 innings, gave scouts more confidence in his ability to handle himself against better competition. Dombroski is a prolific strike-thrower with advanced pitchability, mixing his stuff and hitting his spots to keep hitters off-balance. He has a delivery that's simple, smooth and under control with efficient arm action. Dombroski repeats his mechanics well and throws strikes with four pitches. He's not overpowering, pitching at 87-91 mph and touching 93 mph, but his control has a chance to be a 70 on the 20-80 scale. Dombroski threw his fastball 40% of the time this year, using his slider nearly as often. The slider is his best pitch, grading out plus with sharp bite, late tilt and two-plane depth, an effective weapon against both lefties and righties that should continue to miss bats against more advanced hitters. Dombroski also throws an average curveball and a fringe-average changeup that comes in firmly off his fastball. Some scouts were hoping to see more of a velocity uptick this year from Dombroski, but others remain high on him for his starter traits and outstanding control. He was selected by the Astros in the fourth round and signed for $441,400.

  21. 21. Will Wagner | 2B/3B
    Will Wagner
    Born: Jul 29, 1998
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 185
    Minors: .259/.373/.373 | 7 HR | 7 SB | 324 AB

    BA Grade: 45/High

    Track Record: The son of former major league star Billy Wagner, Will is a two-time ASUN Conference first-teamer. He hit .305/.377/.462 over three full seasons with Liberty. He was selected in the 18th round of the 2021 draft and debuted in Low-A, hitting .299/.388/.436 over 31 games. He was assigned to High-A Asheville out of spring training.

    Scouting Report: An excellent college hitter who was lauded for his feel to hit and advanced understanding of the strike zone, Wagner has been one of the best hitters in the lower minors in the early part of 2022. His combination of plus bat-to-ball skills, a discerning eye at the plate and average impact have translated to results. Wagner is hardly ever fooled, rarely swings and misses and is one of the harder outs in the South Atlantic League at the moment. Defensively, he's a bit of a tweener who has logged time at both second and third base.

    The Future: Wagner will go as far as the bat can carry him. While there's little question he's beaten up on less advanced pitching early in his professional career, his combination of contact, on-base skills and average power gives him an exciting skill set.

  22. 22. J.J. Matijevic | 1B
    J.J. Matijevic
    Born: Nov 14, 1995
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 206
    Signed By: Mark Ross.
    Minors: .287/.346/.579 | 12 HR | 9 SB | 171 AB

    BA Grade: 45/High

    Track Record: Drafted out of high school by the Red Sox in the 22nd round of the 2014 draft, Matijevic honored his commitment to Arizona and was a member of the 2016 team that lost to Coastal Carolina in the national championship. He starred in the Cape Cod League for Falmouth, hitting .377/.449/.553 over 23 games. The Astros drafted him in the second round of the 2017 draft and he made his major league debut this year.

    Scouting Report: Early in his professional career, Matijevic sold out his approach for power, and it led to high strikeout totals with below-average walk rates. As he's progressed over the last few seasons he first found a balance between power and approach in 2021, and has taken a step forward as a contact hitter in 2022, cutting his whiff rate substantially. He's done this without sacrificing power, as his top 10% of batted balls average over 105 mph. He's logged time at first base and left field and is likely best in a part-time defensive role at either spot.

    The Future: An older prospect who's always been productive at each stop of his professional career, in 2022 Matijevic debuted in the major leagues and took a step forward as a hitter. In order for the profile to work, Matijevic will once again have to prove the power and contact gains of the last few years have not been a fluke.

  23. 23. Alimber Santa | RHP
    Alimber Santa
    Born: May 3, 2003
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'0" Wt.: 163
    Minors: 0-0 | 0.00 ERA | 0 SO | 2 BB | 0 IP

    BA Grade: 45/Extreme

    Track Record: A 2020 signee out of the Dominican Republic, Santa transformed from a skinny righthander sitting 88-91 mph, to a power pitcher up to 98 mph this spring. He was assigned to Low-A Fayetteville out of camp but was injured in his first appearance of the season. Scouting Report: Armed with a powerful one-two punch in his mid-90s fastball and high-spin breaking ball Santa can overpower lower levels hitters for stretches when he's locked in. His fastball sits 94-95 mph touching 98 mph with late giddy-up as it reaches the plate. He commands his fastball well, living around the zone. While his breaking ball lags behind in this regard, showing inconsistent feel and shape, often landing as an easy take for opposing batters. He's added a slider over the winter and it looks to be an improved look from his slower high-spin curveball. He'll flash a mid-80s changeup but lacks feel for the pitch, struggling to land it in the zone. The Future: There's a lot of projection in Santa's quick right arm with a big time fastball but inconsistent feel for his secondaries Santa is a high variance prospect but one with time on his side at just 19 years old.

  24. 24. Michael Knorr | RHP
    Michael Knorr
    Born: May 12, 2000
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 245

    BA Grade: 40/High

    August Update: Knorr spent three seasons with Cal State Fullerton, where he pitched as a starter and reliever, but struggled to miss bats and never posted an ERA lower than 5.90 in a single season. That changed with Coastal Carolina this spring, as the 6-foot-5, 245-pound righthander made some delivery changes, saw his velocity jump and posted a 3.39 ERA over 69 innings and 13 starts, while striking out 86 batters (30.1 K%) and walking 13 (4.5 BB%). After sitting in the 90-93 mph range a year ago, Knorr has averaged 94 mph this spring and touched 99, with solid carry. There's more power to his breaking stuff as well, and his low-80s slider will get into the mid and upper 80s at times, with short- and tight-breaking action. The slider was his go-to breaking ball in 2022 and he generated whiffs around 50% of the time, though he also regularly used a mid-80s changeup and a slower, more top-down mid-70s curveball. Knorr used an overhead windup a year ago, but with Coastal Carolina, has switched to a stretch-only delivery and his arm action is noticeably shorter as well. He's been a good strike thrower throughout his career, and now those strikes have come with better bat-missing stuff. He signed with the Astros for $487,500 in the third round.

  25. 25. Andrew Taylor | RHP
    Andrew Taylor
    Born: Sep 23, 2001
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 0'0"

    BA Grade: 40/High

    August Update: Taylor largely attacks hitters with a see-if-you-can-hit-it fastball. It's a simple approach, but it's a really impressive fastball, and he throws it nearly 80% of the time. Taylor's fastball velocity isn't all that impressive. He sits at 90-91 mph and can touch 93-94, but he generates bushels of swings and misses thanks to the pitch's excellent life at the top of the zone. He got swings and misses at a well above-average 32% clip with his fastball. That fastball is very appealing to clubs who emphasize analytical attributes. Taylor has been one of the most effective starters in Division I in 2021 and 2022. His 2021 season saw him go 11-4, 1.81 with 125 strikeouts and 24 walks in 94 innings. He went 8-4, 3.21 in 2022, but his peripheral numbers were pretty similar (126 strikeouts and 27 walks in 84 innings). He gave up 11 home runs (seven more than in 2021), which helps explain the higher ERA. Taylor's mid-70s slider and 80 mph curveball are both fringe-average pitches, although his average changeup has solid deception and generates some depth. He has average control. Taylor's track record of success and lively fastball was enough to convince the Astros to select him with the 80th overall pick signing for $804,700.

  26. 26. Cristian Gonzalez | SS
    Cristian Gonzalez
    Born: Oct 22, 2001
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 180
    Signed By: Roman Ocumarez/Alfredo Ulloa/Jose Lima
    Minors: .213/.273/.331 | 7 HR | 1 SB | 296 AB

    BA Grade: 40/High

    Track Record: During a 2019 international signing period in which the Astros could not exceed a $300,000 signing bonus, Gonzalez got one of the two maximum bonuses Houston handed out. He played in the Dominican Summer League after signing and opened 2021 in the Florida Complex League. He played just 13 games before earning a promotion to Low-A Fayetteville, where he struggled to a .244/.299/.341 slash line.

    Scouting Report: Gonzalez has a projectable body that is still filling out. He is nimble but long-limbed, leading to questions about where his true defensive position is. The Astros play Gonzalez primarily at shortstop, where he shows a plus arm that could translate to the outfield if needed. Gonzalez has enough athleticism to stick at shortstop and the Astros intend to try it. He has above-average power and makes harder contact than some of his stats may suggest, but a stiff swing and poor strike zone discipline limit his production. As Gonzalez adds more weight and adjusts his swing, more of this power should manifest.

    The Future: Gonzalez has physical upside, but needs to figure out his swing, approach and defensive home. He will likely open 2022 back in Fayetteville.

  27. 27. Jordan Brewer | OF
    Jordan Brewer
    Born: Aug 1, 1997
    Bats: R Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 195
    Drafted/Signed: Michigan, 2019 (3rd round).
    Signed By: Scott Oberhelman.
    Minors: .216/.332/.368 | 6 HR | 11 SB | 190 AB

    BA Grade: 40/High

    Track Record: Brewer played football and baseball in high school before blossoming into the Big Ten Conference player of the year at Michigan during its run to the 2019 College World Series finals. The Astros drafted him in the third round that July and gave him a $500,000 signing bonus. A nagging toe injury limited Brewer to 16 games in 2019 and left knee surgery sidelined him for most of 2020. He spent his first full minor league season at Low-A Fayetteville, stealing 21 bases and hitting .275/.375/.410 in 297 plate appearances.

    Scouting Report: Brewer has a bevy of tantalizing tools that haven't yet come together. He is one of the fastest and most athletic players in the Astros organization and showcases plus speed. He has above-average raw power, but a grooved swing prevents him from displaying it much in games. Brewer swings and misses inside the strike zone too often and needs to improve his overall approach. He is an average defender in center field with an average arm but played in the more corners during his Michigan tenure despite his running ability.

    The Future: Brewer held his own at Low-A despite some offensive flaws. He'll move up in 2022, where better pitching may be the best test for his toolsy profile.

  28. 28. Adrian Chaidez | RHP
    Adrian Chaidez
    Born: Jun 10, 1999
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 180
    Minors: 4-1 | 4.17 ERA | 87 SO | 43 BB | 82 IP

    BA Grade: 40/High

    Track Record: Chaidez spent his first two collegiate seasons with Cypress College JC (Calif.) before transferring to UCLA before the 2020 season. He was a reliable option out of the UCLA bullpen in 2021, posting a 2.20 ERA and 48 strikeouts across 32.2 innings. The Astros drafted Chaidez in the 15th round of the 2021 draft and he made four appearances last summer in the Florida Complex League. He was assigned to High-A Asheville this spring.

    Scouting Report: Best utilized as a multi-inning reliever, Chaidez has loud stuff with power, movement and high raw spin numbers. His four-seam fastball sits 93-94 mph but touches 96-97 mph with heavy bore and late life. He pairs that primarily with a slider in the low-to-mid 80s that plays well off of the fastball, and a changeup that's arguably his best pitch. He commands the changeup extremely well as it's his best bat-missing pitch and boasts the highest strike rate of any of his pitches. Chaidez can lose effectiveness the longer he goes and will begin to lose his release point. He will flash moments of brilliance, but his command can escape him.

    The Future: Chaidez is a potential high-leverage reliever who's already moving quickly through the Houston system. He's best suited for multiple innings, but his loud stuff could play up if he airs it out in one-inning stints.

  29. 29. Jimmy Endersby | RHP
    Jimmy Endersby
    Born: Jan 16, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 194
    Signed By: Ryan Leake
    Minors: 2-7 | 4.92 ERA | 75 SO | 49 BB | 86 IP

    BA Grade: 40/High

    Track Record: Endersby threw just 45.1 collegiate innings in a circuitous career. He came to Cal State Fullerton as an infielder and made occasional relief appearances, but transitioned to a full-time pitcher once he transferred to Division II Concordia-Irvine (Calif.) in 2020. Endersby made just five starts there before the pandemic shutdown, but the Astros still signed him as an undrafted free agent for $20,000 following the five-round draft. Endersby reached Double-A Corpus Christi with a 3.90 ERA and struck out 10.2 batters per nine innings in his first professional season.

    Scouting Report: Endersby has an excellent arsenal for someone with so little in-game pitching experience. He throws a 92-95 mph four-seam fastball that reaches as high as 2,600 rpms with the elevation and ride Houston desires. He throws a big breaking curveball and slider he's still developing to go along with a below-average changeup. Endersby's command and control suffer at times from a lack of experience, but the Astros are helping him adjust quickly.

    The Future: Endersby should start 2022 back in Double-A. As he gains more innings and experience, he could cement himself as valuable rotation depth.

  30. 30. Matthew Barefoot | OF
    Matthew Barefoot
    Born: Sep 20, 1997
    Bats: R Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 205
    Signed By: Gavin Dickey
    Minors: .000/0/0 | 0 HR | 0 SB | 4 AB

    BA Grade: 40/High

    Track Record: Barefoot signed for $150,000 as a sixth-round pick in 2019 after destroying mid-major college pitching for three seasons at Campbell and earning the Cape Cod League MVP award in 2018. He purchased a pitching machine, indoor batting cage and Rapsodo machine during the coronavirus pandemic to produce a breakout 2021 season. Barefoot hit .301 with 36 extra-base hits between Low-A and High-A before hitting a wall with a .525 OPS and .299 slugging percentage in 36 games at Double-A Corpus Christi.

    Scouting Report: Barefoot is a “backwards” player who throws lefthanded and hits righthanded. He has simplified his swing since college and is able to make easy, elevated line-drive contact with elite hand-eye coordination. He's shown prodigious home run power at the lower minor leagues, but it profiles as doubles power against better pitching. Still, his approach is sound and he projects to at least hit for average. Barefoot has plus speed and uses it efficiently to steal bases. He struggles with reads and routes in center field, making him a better corner option. He has an average arm that fits better in left than right.

    The Future: Barefoot profiles as a platoon player or fourth outfielder unless he taps into more power. He must conquer higher-level pitching better than he did in his brief Double-A cameo in 2021.

View Players 11-30

Are you a member?

In order to access this exclusive content you must have a Baseball America Account. 

Login or sign up  


Additionally, you can subscribe to Baseball America's newsletter and receive all of our rankings, analysis, prospect insight & more delivered to your inbox every day. Click here to get started. 

of Free Stories Remaining