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

Houston Astros

Prospects Overview

Top 10 Prospects

Click prospect for player report

Prospect Lists

Best Tools

Top Prospects of the Decade
(Listed with 2023 organization)

Top Draft Picks of the Decade
(Listed with 2023 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: 9-4 | 2.55 ERA | 134 SO | 45 BB | 106 IP

    Track Record: The Astros drafted Brown in the fifth round in 2019 and signed him for an above-slot $325,000 following a breakout season at Division II Wayne State in Detroit. Brown debuted that summer in the short-season New York-Penn League then missed 2020 because of the pandemic. He jumped straight to Double-A Corpus Christi when play resumed in 2021 and reached Triple-A Sugar Land in early August. Brown made 11 Triple-A appearances over the final two months of the season and struck out 55 batters in 51 innings. He returned to Sugar Land to begin 2022 and made 23 appearances, alternating time as a traditional starter and a bulk pitcher behind an opener. Brown showed improved command of his powerful arsenal as he posted a career best strikeout-to-walk ratio and was selected to pitch in the Futures Game. The Astros called up Brown in early September and he joined his childhood hero Justin Verlander as a member of the Astros staff. He was selected for the Astros' postseason roster and made three appearances between the Division Series and the Championship Series. Brown was included on Houston's World Series roster but did not appear in a game.

    Scouting Report: Few define the modern pitcher archetype like Brown, who is a tall righthander with a muscular build and above-average athleticism. He works from a semi-windup with a longer arm action and delivers pitches from an over-the-top release. Brown in many ways mimics the operation of former Astros teammate Justin Verlander, whom he grew up watching in Detroit. In this way, Brown, like Verlander, is able to fluidly generate power across his pitch mix. Brown's arsenal consists of four pitches with his four-seam fastball and two breaking-ball shapes working as his primary repertoire. His fastball sits 95-97 mph and touches 100. It plays up even further because of efficient backspin and an unusually flat plane from his high arm slot. Brown uses two breaking balls with distinctively different shapes in a low-90s slider/cutter hybrid and a low-to-mid-80s curveball with significant depth. Each of Brown's breaking pitches succeeds for different reasons. His ability to command his slider in and out of the zone drives mis-hits and chase swings, while his curveball depth plays perfectly off of his four-seam shape. This allows Brown to dominate with a north-south plan of attack. He'll mix in an upper-80s changeup, but it was rarely used. Brown's command bumped to average in 2022.

    The Future: A power pitcher capable of succeeding in a variety of roles, Brown is poised to claim a rotation spot for the reigning World Series champion Astros in 2023.

    Scouting Grades: Fastball: 70. Curveball: 55. Slider: 55. Changeup: 45. Control: 50

  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: .306/.356/.542 | 25 HR | 2 SB | 445 AB

    Track Record: Originally signed by the Guardians out of the Dominican Republic for $25,000, Diaz hit .331/.358/.470 over his first three pro seasons, all in short-season leagues. He continued hitting with Low-A Lynchburg in 2021 in his full-season debut and caught the attention of the Astros, who acquired him and Phil Maton at the 2021 trade deadline for Myles Straw. Diaz split the 2022 season between Double-A and Triple-A, hitting .306/.356/.542 with 25 home runs in 105 games. Houston called up Diaz in early September and he appeared in six games.

    Scouting Report: A strong combination of bat-to-ball skills and power drives Diaz's aggressive plate profile. Stockily built, with a strong, barrel-chested frame, Diaz shows the ability to drive stinging liners and hard-struck fly balls to all fields. His simple swing is heavily hands-driven, but his strong wrists and loose adjustability within his hands allow him to attack a variety of pitch shapes. He's a free-swinger who will get himself into trouble on the outer parts of the plate, particularly against lefthanders. Diaz's power plays to all fields, and he slugged nine of his 25 home runs in 2022 to right field. His average exit velocity of 92.3 mph in the minors is well above the major league average. He is most likely to hit for a higher average with home run totals in the mid 20s but lower on-base percentages because of his aggressive nature. Defensively, Diaz is a good thrower and average framer, but his blocking skills are fringy. He has faced questions around his game-calling, leading to a heavy dose of starts at first base.

    The Future: One of the best hitting catchers in the minor leagues, Diaz will likely slide into a part-time catching role, seeing time at first base and DH to keep his powerful bat in the lineup.

    Scouting Grades: Hitting: 50. Power: 60. Speed: 30. Fielding: 50. Arm: 60

  3. 3. Drew Gilbert | OF
    Drew Gilbert
    Born: Sep 27, 2000
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 5'0" Wt.: 185
    Minors: .238/.273/.381 | 1 HR | 3 SB | 21 AB

    Track Record: Gilbert blossomed into one of the best players in the country by his draft season at Tennessee. Standing out as the heart and soul of a Volunteers team that ranked No. 1 in the nation all through 2022, Gilbert hit .362/.455/.673 with 11 home runs in 58 games. He went viral when he was ejected from Tennessee's super regional showdown with Notre Dame for arguing a called strike in a bizarre moment. The Astros selected Gilbert with the 28th overall pick and signed him for $2,497,500. He debuted with Low-A Fayetteville in August, but his season ended abruptly after a collision with an outfield wall.

    Scouting Report: A high-energy player with an all-gas-no-brakes approach to the game, Gilbert plays with an edge, but his tooled-up skill set is well-rounded on both sides of the ball. At the plate, Gilbert's game is predicated on his ability manage the strike zone and make high rates of barrel contact, particularly to right field. His maxed-out and muscular frame doesn't portend future power gains, but he's an average power hitter adept at ambushing pitches on the inner half to drive the ball to his pull side. While he's not an aggressive basestealer, Gilbert will flash plus run times, though he's more consistently an above-average runner. His speed translates to center field, where he's an above-average defender. Gilbert gets good jumps and has a plus arm that will play in any spot in the outfield. His all-around game and skill set should translate to an everyday role in the outfield, with little debate around Gilbert's medley of tools.

    The Future: A strong all-around talent with average or better tools across the board, Gilbert likely settles in as an average everyday center fielder.

    Scouting Grades: Hitting: 55. Power: 50. Speed: 55. Fielding: 55. Arm: 60.

  4. 4. Jacob Melton | OF
    Jacob Melton
    Born: Sep 7, 2000
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 208
    Minors: .261/.353/.466 | 4 HR | 5 SB | 88 AB

    Track Record: Melton split time between first base and right field for Oregon State in 2021 but took over in center field in 2022 and hit .360/.424/.671 with 17 home runs. He was first-team All-America and Pacific-12 Conference player of the year in addition to being a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award. The Astros selected Melton with the 64th overall pick in the second round and signed him for an under-slot bonus of $1 million. He reached Low-A Fayetteville in his debut and hit .324/.424/.577 with four home runs in 19 games.

    Scouting Report: A tooled-up and athletic player, Melton's advanced hitting abilities are deceptive because of his unusual setup and move at the plate. He has a tall, strong frame that is fairly close to maxed out, but he should maintain a high level of fitness and twitch deep into his 20s. At the plate, he sets up open with a wide-based stance. He begins his move with a high leg kick and a dip in his hand positioning before his load. His swing has a clean, whippy path that is adept at catching balls in the middle of the zone and balls in the lower quadrants. While Melton's pure bat-to-ball skills are fringe-average, he shows the ability to work deep counts. His power plays to all fields, with some of his hardest-hit balls often shooting to the left-center field gap. Melton's exit velocities highlight his above-average power, with a 105.4 mph 90th percentile exit velocity in his pro debut. His plus straight-line speed allows him to leg out infield hits and turn singles into doubles. In the outfield, Melton covers ground and gets good jumps in center field. He has an average arm that fits in any of the three outfield spots.

    The Future: As a toolsy player with an above-average offensive game capable of handling center field, Melton projects as an average everyday regular.

    Scouting Grades: Hitting: 45. Power: 55. Speed: 60. Fielding: 50. Arm: 50

  5. 5. David Hensley | SS/3B
    David Hensley
    Born: Mar 28, 1996
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'6" Wt.: 190
    Minors: .298/.420/.478 | 10 HR | 20 SB | 379 AB

    Track Record: Drafted in the 26th round in 2018 as a senior sign out of San Diego State, Hensley played all over the diamond for the Aztecs, converting from right fielder to shortstop his senior season. Noted for his athleticism, Hensley was primarily a contact-driven player in college. As a professional, he has 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. There, Hensley hit .298/.420/.478 with 30 doubles, 10 home runs and 20 stolen bases in 104 games. Called up to Houston in late August, Hensley hit .345/.441/.586 in 16 games and was included on the Astros' postseason roster. He made two starts in the World Series, collecting hits in each game.

    Scouting Report: Hensley is a well-rounded player but an unusual profile as a 6-foot-6 middle infielder. He's also a late-bloomer who will play the 2023 season at age 27. At the plate, his hitting identity is centered around his above-average bat-to-ball skills and advanced approach. Hensley rarely expands his zone, and his 17% chase rate was among the lowest for qualified Triple-A hitters. While his raw power and exit velocity data is plus, Hensley's power mostly manifests in the form of hard-struck, stinging liners. His swing is fairly level and produces lots of ground balls. Hensley is an average runner and instinctive basestealer capable of reading opposing pitchers' timing. Defensively, Hensley is a tweener. While he can fill in at shortstop when needed, his best position is second base or third base.

    The Future: Hensley fits the profile of a super-utility player for a competitive team and is most capable on the infield but also playable at any position but catcher in a pinch.

    Scouting Grades: Hitting: 55. Power: 50. Speed: 50. Fielding: 45. Arm: 45

  6. 6. Pedro Leon | 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: .228/.365/.431 | 17 HR | 38 SB | 413 AB

    Track Record: Signed out of Cuba for $4 million in 2020, Leon was a decorated professional in Serie Nacional. His U.S. debut was delayed in 2021 by visa issues, so he got a late start to spring training. Still, Leon headed straight to Double-A Corpus Christi and hit .249/.349/.443 in his first 52 games. He was promoted to Triple-A in late July but played in just 20 games after missing all of August with an injury. In 2022, the Astros assigned Leon to Triple-A Sugar Land, where he hit .228/.365/.431 with 27 doubles, 17 home runs and 38 stolen bases in 115 games. Despite being billed as a fast-mover when he signed at age 22, Leon has not made his big league debut.

    Scouting Report: An explosive and tooled-up outfielder with elite on-base skills, Leon is both an exciting and frustrating player. While he has produced high walk rates as a professional, his bat-to-ball skills are well below-average, leading to low batting averages and a fair amount of swing-and-miss, but Leon's plate discipline is strong enough to offset his poor contact skills. His raw power is heavily bat speed-driven and he looks to put the ball in the air consistently to his pull side. Leon is likely capable of home run totals in the mid 20s in his peak seasons because of his ability to ambush middle-in fastballs. He is a basestealing threat who has 56 stolen bases across two pro seasons, though he can often get overly aggressive on the bases. His double-plus speed makes up for a lack of good reads. Defensively, Leon has primarily played center field, which is his best position. His speed and plus throwing arm are assets, despite the fact he often runs inefficient routes. Leon has seen time at shortstop and second base over the last two seasons but lacks the instincts and actions for the infield.

    The Future: Leon might fit best on a good team as more of a part-time or platoon outfielder.

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

  7. 7. 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: .238/.307/.483 | 25 HR | 12 SB | 404 AB

    Track Record: Lee was a surprise first-rounder when the Astros drafted him out of California with the 32nd overall pick in 2019. He debuted in the short-season New York-Penn League out of the draft and then missed 2020 due to the pandemic. Lee emerged as a better player after making adjustments to both his swing and catching setup during the time off. When he reached full-season ball in 2021, he hit .277/.340/.438 across three levels and ranked as the Astros' No. 1 prospect heading into 2022. Lee reached Triple-A Sugar Land in 2022 but hit just .238/.307/.483 in 104 games. Called up in late June, he spent the month of July with the major league club.

    Scouting Report: Lee's profile and prospect status has been heavily boosted by his defensive skills behind the plate. After flashing an average combination of contact and approach in 2021, Lee's bat-to-ball skills and swing decisions backed up in favor of a more power-centric approach. The change resulted in inconsistent production from Lee. His total of 25 home runs was a nice step up in slugging, but his overall line was below-average for the Pacific Coast League. Once a hit-over-power profile, Lee now hunts power at the plate with a lofted swing. His power plays average. Behind the plate, Lee is far more of a sure thing, with a variety of average-to-plus skills. He is a an average framer based on the team's internal metrics, an above-average blocker and a true 80-grade thrower. Lee's arm is a real weapon against the running game. He is able to nab basestealers at a high rate with powerful and accurate throws, consistently clocking elite pop times on throws to second base.

    The Future: Lee is a defense-first catcher with the ability to contribute about 15-20 home runs.

    Scouting Grades: Hitting: 40. Power: 50. Speed: 40. Fielding: 55. Arm: 80

  8. 8. Spencer Arrighetti | RHP
    Spencer Arrighetti
    Born: Jan 22, 2000
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 186
    Minors: 7-6 | 4.72 ERA | 152 SO | 55 BB | 107 IP

    Track Record: Arrighetti spent three seasons at three different colleges. He started at Texas Christian in 2019, moved to Navarro (Texas) JC in 2020 and spent his junior season in 2021 as Louisiana-Lafayette's Friday night starter. The Astros drafted Arrighetti in the sixth round in 2021 and signed him for $147,800. Assigned to High-A Asheville out of spring training in 2022, Arrighetti made 22 appearances and struck out 124 batters in 85.2 innings but struggled with his command. He was promoted to Double-A Corpus Christi in late August and made six appearances.

    Scouting Report: Arrighetti is a high-effort and athletic pitcher who moves rapidly on the mound. He gets downhill in his extreme drop-and-drive delivery at a frenetic pace. His operation features a late, deceptive hand break, a long arm action that gives way to whippy arm speed delivering the ball from a true three-quarters slot. Arrighetti's deception and ability to get downhill allow his four-pitch mix to play up. His arsenal is led by a mid-90s four-seam fastball that sits 93-94 mph and touches 96-97 with a flat vertical approach angle and hoppy shape. He pairs that primarily with a sweepy, low-to-mid-80s slider that is his best bat-missing pitch. He blends in a curveball in the high 70s as his third pitch. It shows two-plane break and more depth than his slider. Arrighetti throws a changeup to lefthanded batters that will flash good tumble and fade, but he struggles to command it consistently. His strike-throwing is below-average, but he showed improvements in that area throughout 2022.

    The Future: Arrighetti has the deep arsenal of a starter, but his fringy command may push him to the bullpen, where his fastball/slider combination should play up.

    Scouting Grades: Fastball: 55. Slider: 60. Curveball: 50. Changeup: 40. Control: 45

  9. 9. Justin Dirden | OF
    Justin Dirden
    Born: Jul 16, 1997
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 209
    Minors: .302/.384/.558 | 24 HR | 12 SB | 477 AB

    Track Record: Dirden followed an unusual path to pro ball after spending five seasons in college. He began at East Carolina in 2016 but missed the 2017 campaign after he transferred to Southeastern Missouri State. After Dirden went unselected in the five-round 2020 draft, he signed as a nondrafted free agent with the Astros. He made his pro debut with Low-A Fayetteville out of camp in 2021 and hit his way to High-A Asheville. In 2022, Dirden was assigned to Double-A Corpus Christi and hit .324/.411/.616 with 20 home runs in 92 games. He struggled for 32 games with Triple-A Sugar Land following a late-season promotion.

    Scouting Report: The Astros believe not even Dirden knew how athletic he was when he entered the organization. As the lefthanded-hitter began to believe more in the player he could become, the Astros began to see signs of a potential everyday regular. His offensive game is centered around his ability to consistently hit the ball hard in the air. He shows average bat-to-ball skills with an average idea, though he is prone to expanding his zone and getting out of his approach. Dirden's ability to hit the ball hard consistently plays into his slightly aggressive tendencies. He lets his plus raw power drive the ball deep to all parts of the park. An above-average runner, Dirden's speed plays less in the form of basestealing and more in his ability to get out of the box and stretch singles to doubles. His running ability allows him to play center field at an average level, but he's best in an outfield corner where his above-average arm will be an asset.

    The Future: Dirden is a late-bloomer--he turns 26 late in the 2023 season--with an unusual background who has developed into a potential everyday regular.

    Scouting Grades: Hitting: 45. Power: 55. Speed: 55. Fielding: 50. Arm: 55

  10. 10. Miguel Ullola | RHP
    Miguel Ullola
    Born: Jun 19, 2002
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 184
    Minors: 2-2 | 3.25 ERA | 120 SO | 55 BB | 72 IP

    Track Record: Signed out of the Dominican Republic during the 2021 international signing period, Ullola first popped during that year's Dominican Summer League season. He struck out 34 batters in 21 innings before coming to the U.S. and making two appearances in the Florida Complex League. In 2022, Ullola was assigned to Low-A Fayetteville in late April and made his full-season debut on May 1. He made 22 appearances, 11 of them starts, and recorded a 3.25 ERA, while allowing a .155 average and striking out 38% of batters. At 19 years old on Opening Day, Ullola was one of the youngest pitchers in a full-season league.

    Scouting Report: A fire-breathing dragon in the making, Ullola's current form is heavily centered around his easy plus fastball. He sits 93-95 mph touches 98 at peak. Ullola's fastball creates both heavy riding life and a flat plane of approach to the plate. The combination of velocity, movement and release traits translated to eye-popping whiff numbers against the pitch. Among pitchers who threw 700 or more fastballs in 2022, Ullola's 48% whiff rate was the highest in the minor leagues by nearly eight full percentage points. While Ullola's fastball is plus, his trio of secondaries is still fairly raw. He mixes a mid-80s slider, low-80s curveball and high-80s changeup but struggles to command all of his secondary offerings for long stretches. His command overall is below-average, but it's reasonable to expect improved strike-throwing as Ullola moves up the minor league ladder.

    The Future: A tantalizing talent who has drawn comparisons with Cristian Javier from some within the Astros' organization, Ullola has the look of a high-leverage power reliever in the long term, but he will be given every opportunity to start.

    Scouting Grades: Fastball: 60. Slider: 50. Curveball: 50. Changeup: 40. Control: 45

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