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 2021 organization)

Top Draft Picks of the Decade
(Listed with 2021 organization)

Player Reports

  1. 1. Luis Garcia | RHP
    Luis Garcia
    Born: Dec 13, 1996
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 244
    Drafted/Signed: Venezuela, 2017.
    Signed By: Oz Ocampo/Tom Shafer/Roman Ocumarez/David Brito.

    Fastball: 55. Slider: 50. Changeup: 70. Curveball: 45. Cutter: 40. Control: 45.

    TRACK RECORD: The Astros signed Garcia out of Venezuela in 2017 for $20,000 when he was a 20-year-old touching the low 90s. He started to touch the mid 90s later that summer. After reaching high Class A Fayetteville in 2019, Garcia made his major league debut as a September callup in 2020, then threw two scoreless innings as the opener in Houston’s 4-3 victory in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Garcia pitches off a fastball that ranges from 92-97 mph. His best pitch is his plus changeup that flashes as a 70 on the 20-80 scale with late sink and fade. Garcia sells it to look like a fastball out of his hand, but it has 11 mph of separation that consistently gets both lefties and righties waving out front. His low-80s slider is an average pitch that he used effectively last year, with sharp, late break at times. His 76-78 mph curveball is a fringe-average pitch that blends too much into his slider. Garcia also introduced a hard 86-88 mph cutter with mixed results. He has a track record of missing bats, though his command is still below-average.

    THE FUTURE: Garcia has the swing-and-miss stuff to develop into a mid-rotation starter if his location improves. He’s a potential closer if he stays in the bullpen.

  2. 2. Jeremy Pena | SS
    Jeremy Pena
    Born: Sep 22, 1997
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 202
    Drafted/Signed: Maine, 2018 (3rd round).
    Signed By: Bobby St. Pierre.

    Hitting: 50. Power: 40. Running: 55. Fielding: 60. Arm: 60.

    TRACK RECORD: The son of former big leaguer Geronimo Peña, Jeremy stood out for his defense at Maine before signing with the Astros for $535,000 as a third-round pick in 2018. He had an excellent full-season debut through two levels of Class A, then followed it up in 2020 with a strong showing playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Peña is a plus defender at shortstop, where he has smooth actions, good instincts and range to go with an above-average arm. He signed with a lean, lively frame, and he has since bulked up around 20 pounds while retaining his athleticism and slightly above-average speed. Scouts were more skeptical of Peña’s bat as an amateur, but he has evolved from a handsy swing in college into one that better incorporates his whole body. He now better leverages his explosiveness and creates a more adjustable swing path to go with his solid bat-to-ball skills and a sound grasp for the strike zone. The added strength has helped Peña’s ability to drive the ball, but he still has below-average power, though he has a chance for more because of his contact frequency.

    THE FUTURE: Some scouts view Peña as a reserve infielder, but his defense and contact skills give him a chance to develop into an everyday shortstop.

  3. 3. 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.

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

    TRACK RECORD: Major League Baseball made the Astros surrender their firstand second-round picks in 2020 as penalties for their illegal sign-stealing. With their first pick at No. 72 overall, Houston drafted Santos, who didn't get to pitch during the 2020 high school season in New York due to the pandemic. Instead, Santos regularly threw bullpens at the Citius Baseball facility his father co-owns and sent his Rapsodo data. After signing for $1.25 million, Santos went to instructional league in Florida.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Santos pitches off a low-to-mid-90s fastball with a high spin rate that should help him get swings and misses when he pitches up in the zone. He shows feel for two secondary pitches. The most advanced one is his curveball, which is a potential plus pitch which can miss bats with its tight rotation. His changeup--a pitch Santos didn't really need in high school--made strides in 2020 and gives him a chance for a third average or better pitch. Santos has a strong, athletic build and the strike-throwing ability to project as a starter.

    THE FUTURE: High school pitchers are risky--especially given the lack of looks at Santos during his draft year--but he has one of the best combinations of upside and starter traits in the Astros' system.

  4. 4. Bryan Abreu | RHP
    Bryan Abreu
    Born: Apr 22, 1997
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 204
    Drafted/Signed: Dominican Republic, 2013.
    Signed By: Oz Ocampo/Marc Russo/Rafael Belen.

    Fastball: 55. Slider: 70. Changeup: 30. Curveball: 60. Control: 40.

    TRACK RECORD: Abreu was a $40,000 signing at 16 out of the Dominican Republic in 2013 who spent two years in the Dominican Summer League and didn’t reach full-season ball until his fifth minor league season. His stock has climbed since then, and he made his big league debut as a reliever in a 2019 September callup. Abreu struggled in four relief appearances for Houston at the start of 2020 before the Astros sent him down to their alternate training site in Corpus Christi.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Abreu pitches at 92-95 mph with the ability to dial it up to 97, but his money-maker is his breaking stuff. He has an innate feel to spin a pair of swing-and-miss pitches with his mid-80s slider and low-80s curveball. His slider, which he threw more than any other pitch in 2020, earns plus to plus-plus grades, with hard, late break and two-plane depth. That same tight spin shows up with his curveball, a plus pitch that’s similar to his slider but with more top-to-bottom shape. He rarely uses his well below-average changeup. Below-average control has hampered Abreu, whose upper and lower halves get disconnected in his delivery.

    THE FUTURE: If Abreu can straighten out his control problems, he has the stuff to pitch in the middle of a rotation.

  5. 5. 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.

    Fastball: 60. Slider: 55. Changeup: 60. Curveball: 55. Cutter: 55. Control: 40.

    TRACK RECORD: It’s hard to know what to make of Whitley at this point. Drafted 17th overall out of high school in 2016. Whitley ranked as the No. 10 prospect in baseball entering the 2018 season, coming off a year in which he reached Double-A as a 19-year-old. In 2018, Whitley missed the start of the season with a 50-game suspension due to a positive test for a performance-enhancing drug. He then threw just 26 innings in the regular season because he missed time with oblique and lat muscle injuries before returning for an impressive Arizona Fall League stint. His 2019 was ugly, with a double-digit ERA in Triple-A and command and shoulder issues, though he did throw well again in the AFL. Whitley opened 2020 at spring training, where his velocity was a bit down. Once he got ramped up at the alternate training site, he was regularly in the mid 90s. He was dominating in his last outing before he left with elbow pain and was shut down the rest of the year. In spring training in 2021, Whitley felt elbow discomfort again, then had Tommy John surgery that will keep him out until 2022.

    SCOUTING REPORT:When Whitley returns to games in 2022, it will be four full seasons since Whitley pitched like a future ace back in 2017. He has flashed upside in the interim, but the red flags are whipping harder than ever. At his best, Whitley has pitched at 92-97 mph and hit 99. He mixes in a low-90s cutter, a hard slider with power and depth, a curveball with good rotation and a changeup that’s plus at times with good sink and fade. It’s a deep arsenal, but Whitley’s command, delivery issues and health problems have added significantly more risk to his profile the last few years. Whitley showed remarkable body control for a young 6-foot-7 pitcher earlier in his career, but a variety of mechanical alterations over the years have thrown him out of whack, though optimistic scouts think he could follow other tall pitchers and sync it up later in his career. Since Whitley only pitched at the alternate site and didn’t go to instructional league, where opposing scouts could have seen him, that makes him even more challenging for other teams to evaluate.

    THE FUTURE: Whitley’s future has a wide range of outcomes. For as much as he already feels like a reclamation project, he is still just 23, when healthy, and has the most well-rounded arsenal of plus or potentially plus pitches across the board in the Astros’ farm system. Still, Whitley’s lost 2021 season adds even more risk to his future

  6. 6. Tyler Ivey | RHP
    Tyler Ivey
    Born: May 12, 1996
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 195
    Drafted/Signed: Grayson (Texas) JC, 2017 (3rd round).
    Signed By: Jim Stevenson.

    Fastball: 50. Slider: 50. Changeup: 40. Curveball: 60. Control: 55.

    TRACK RECORD: Ivey transferred from Texas Tech to Grayson (Texas) JC for his sophomore year in 2017, when he signed with the Astros for $450,000 as a third-rounder. Ivey has missed a lot of bats and thrown a lot of strikes, but he had trouble staying on the field in 2019 due to a sprained elbow ligament.

    SCOUTING REPORT: What immediately jumps out about Ivey is his unorthodox delivery. It’s a funky, herky-jerky motion with a head whack that he’s toned down a bit, but the Astros have mostly left him alone because he’s able to repeat it and throw strikes consistently. Ivey’s mechanics add deception to a high-spin fastball that sits in the low 90s with the ability to reach 95 mph. It’s effective up in the zone and pairs nicely with his above-average curveball that has good rotation and top-to-bottom shape to miss bats, leading to high strikeout rates up through Double-A. Ivey can have success with his fastball/ curve combo, but he has deepened his repertoire to include a hard, cutter-like slider and occasional changeup.

    THE FUTURE: There’s some durability risk with Ivey, but he has the stuff and control to develop into a mid-rotation starter. If he ends up in the bullpen, he could become a multi-inning relief threat with high-leverage potential.

  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.

    Hitting: 45. Power: 50. Running: 40. Fielding: 50. Arm: 60.

    TRACK RECORD: The Astros pulled a surprise with their first-round pick, at No. 32 overall, in 2019 when they drafted Lee, whom other clubs thought would be available in later rounds. The Astros had more conviction in his bat and signed him for $1.75 million. He had a solid debut that summer in the short-season New York-Penn League, then in 2020 came over to Houston’s alternate training site later in the summer before going to Florida for instructional league.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Lee didn’t do much to distinguish himself offensively during his first two years at California, but he elevated his stock by hitting .337/.416/.619 during his draft year. He has slightly above-average raw power, though it hasn’t shown as much in pro games because he was pulling a lot of balls on the ground. He's worked since then to condense his stride and tried to drive the ball in the air more consistently and showed promising returns at instructs. Lee moved around the field as a sophomore before working regularly behind the plate as a junior, and he has quickly made himself into a quality receiver. He’s a good athlete for a catcher and has a plus arm.

    THE FUTURE: Lee has the upside to be an everyday catcher if everything clicks. He should start 2021 at one of Houston’s Class A affiliates.

  8. 8. 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.

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

    TRACK RECORD: Brown went to Division II Wayne State in Detroit, where he did little to distinguish himself until his junior year in 2019. That’s when he posted a 2.43 ERA with 114 strikeouts in 85.1 innings and showed more power to his stuff, prompting the Astros to draft him in the fifth round and sign him for $325,000. Brown made his pro debut that summer in the short-season New York-Penn league, then in 2020 was a standout at instructional league.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Brown began his time at Wayne State scraping the low 90s, but he now has a power fastball that’s in the mid-to-upper 90s in short bursts and ranges from 92-100 mph as a starter. He gets good angle on his fastball and the pitch has late riding life to help him miss bats. He throws all of his pitches with power, including a hard curveball that’s a plus offering, along with a slider and changeup that both have average or better potential. Brown has starter stuff, but he is wild and will need to improve his well below-average control.

    THE FUTURE: It will take a lot of improvement for Brown to get to even fringe-average control, but if he can throw enough strikes, he has a chance to develop into a mid-rotation starter. Otherwise, scouts see him as a potential candidate for multi-inning relief.

  9. 9. 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.

    Hitting: 45. Power: 55. Running: 55. Fielding: 50. Arm: 50.

    TRACK RECORD: Barber signed an above-slot deal of $1 million with the Astros as a fourth-round pick in 2019. With the 2020 minor league season canceled, Barber’s summer started in Joliet, Ill., where he was one of the youngest hitters in the independent City of Champions Cup league. Later on, the Astros added Barber to their alternate training site, where he was the youngest player in camp, then in the fall went to instructional league.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Barber is a focused, diligent worker with a fast bat and above-average raw power. He takes a fairly simple, direct cut from the left side that produces hard contact, albeit with some swing and miss. He has had a tendency to roll over with his top hand, leading to too many grounders to his pull side, but he has worked to stay through the ball better, which should help his power show up more in games. He has a patient approach, sometimes to the point where scouts would like to see him be more aggressive on pitches he can drive. Barber is an above-average runner with a chance to stick in center field with an average arm that could play in right field.

    THE FUTURE: Barber’s potential stands out in a farm system that’s light on young position players. An assignment to one of Houston’s Class A clubs is where he will likely start in 2021.

  10. 10. Pedro Leon | OF
    Pedro Leon
    Born: May 28, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'9" Wt.: 185
    Drafted/Signed: Cuba, 2021.

    TRACK RECORD: The biggest bonus for any player in the 2020-21 international class went to Pedro Leon, a 22-year-old Cuban outfielder the Astros signed for $4 million.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Leon packs loud tools into a short, muscular frame. He has a short, slight uppercut swing with the strength and bat speed to drive the ball with plus raw power, hitting balls out from the middle of the field over to his pull side. Leon performed well in his limited playing time in Cuba's top league, Serie Nacional. When he came to the Dominican Republic, he hit well against live pitching, though in a very abbreviated sample size that not many teams saw, so he still needs to be tested against better and more age-appropriate competition. Leon is a plus runner who could stay in center field if he's able to maintain his speed, with a plus-plus arm that might be his best tool. The Astros have also experimented with him getting reps as a middle infielder as well.

    THE FUTURE: Leon has a promising tool set, though he still needs to be evaluated against more advanced opponents given his age. He will get that opportunity during his minor league debut in 2021.

  11. 11. Grae Kessinger | SS/3B
    Grae Kessinger
    Born: Aug 25, 1997
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 204
    Drafted/Signed: Mississippi, 2019 (2nd round).
    Signed By: Travis Coleman.

    Hitting: 50. Power: 40. Running: 50. Fielding: 45. Arm: 50.

    TRACK RECORD: Kessinger’s father Kevin played in the minors for the Cubs, and his uncle Keith played in the majors. His grandfather Don has the most accomplished baseball career in the family as a six-time all-star shortstop for the Cubs before becoming Mississippi’s coach. Grae signed with the Astros for $750,000 as a second-rounder in 2019. With the 2020 season canceled, Kessinger focused on his conditioning before heading to instructional league.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Kessinger is a fundamentally sound player who gets the most out of tools that grade mostly as 40s and 50s. It starts with good bat control, pitch recognition and a disciplined offensive approach, enabling him to make frequent contact with all pitch types and draw walks. He has below-average raw power, but he hits the ball hard and his feel for the barrel could enable him to produce sneaky pop later, especially if he’s able to gets his hips and legs into his swing more. An average runner and thrower, Kessinger doesn’t have the typical first-step burst and range scouts prefer at shortstop. He reads the ball well off the bat and is a reliable defender on balls he gets to, so second or third base could work.

    THE FUTURE: Some scouts see Kessinger as a future utilityman with risk he could hit a wall against upper-level pitchers.

  12. 12. Enoli Paredes | RHP
    Enoli Paredes
    Born: Sep 28, 1995
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'11" Wt.: 171
    Drafted/Signed: Dominican Republic, 2015.
    Signed By: Oz Ocampo/Roman Ocumarez.

    TRACK RECORD: Few players in the Dominican Republic get signed when they're 20, but the Astros took a chance on Paredes for a $10,000 bonus in 2015. He progressively gained velocity, ascended the minors and rose to Houston's bullpen in 2020. Paredes earned the trust of manager Dusty Baker and began pitching high-leverage innings by the end of the season, ultimately finishing with a 3.05 ERA in 22 appearances.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Paredes has outstanding arm speed on a fastball that sits 94-97 mph and touches 99 mph. He is primarily a two-pitch reliever, zipping his fastball past hitters and complementing it with a plus slider he can add and subtract from, ranging from the low 80s all the way to 89 mph. He has an innate feel to impart tight spin on his slider, giving him a putaway pitch with good tilt across the zone. Paredes throws an occasional curveball and rarely uses his below-average changeup. He has a high-energy delivery that gets out of control at times, making it difficult to corral his stuff.

    THE FUTURE: Paredes should play an important role in Houston's bullpen in 2021. Improving his belowaverage control could make him a potential closer.

  13. 13. Chas McCormick | OF
    Chas McCormick
    Born: Apr 19, 1995
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 208
    Drafted/Signed: Millersville (Pa.), 2017, (21st round).
    Signed By: Zach Clark.

    TRACK RECORD: McCormick entered pro ball with little fanfare as a 21st-round senior sign for $1,000 out of Division II Millersville (Pa.). He quietly performed well up through Triple-A in 2019, made hard contact at the alternate training site in 2020 and even earned a spot on the Astros' postseason roster, though he didn't play. He played winter ball in the Dominican Republic after the season.

    SCOUTING REPORT: McCormick has excellent strike-zone judgment and had more walks than strikeouts in his last full season in 2019. That disciplined approach helps him frequently get on base. When McCormick does swing, he has solid bat-to-ball skills, average raw power and a knack for getting the ball airborne. More pull-oriented earlier in his career, McCormick is best when he stays through the middle of the field and uses the right-center gap. McCormick has played all three outfield spots with most of his time in the corners. He's a tick above-average runner who could handle center field, but he is a plus defender in a corner with good instincts and reactions off the bat.

    THE FUTURE: There isn't much projection left with McCormick, whom some scouts see as a reserve outfielder. There's a chance he can be an everyday player who chips in with his on-base skills and glove.

  14. 14. Shawn Dubin | RHP
    Shawn Dubin
    Born: Sep 6, 1995
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 171
    Drafted/Signed: Georgetown (Ky.), 2018 (13th round).
    Signed By: Travis Coleman.

    TRACK RECORD: When Buffalo shut down its baseball program, Dubin transferred to NAIA Georgetown (Ky.) for his senior year. After signing with the Astros for $1,000 in 2018, he added velocity in 2019 and led the high Class A Carolina League with 132 strikeouts in just 98.2 innings. The Astros brought him to their alternate training site in 2020.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Dubin came into pro ball with a fast arm. With added weight, he now pitches at 92-96 mph and can hit 99 with late riding life when he pitches up in the zone. Dubin's slider is his key pitch. It's a plus offering with tight rotation and good tilt when it's on, but it can be inconsistent and has a shorter, cutter-like break at times. His solid-average curveball and fringe-average changeup round out his repertoire. Dubin has some effort in his delivery and struggled to throw strikes in college. He has fringe-average control and has kept his walks reasonable, if still a tick high.

    THE FUTURE: Dubin has a chance to start. Along with his mechanics, the way his fastball and slider would play up in short stints leads some scouts to think he's better suited for a bullpen role.

  15. 15. Brett Conine | RHP
    Brett Conine
    Born: Oct 16, 1996
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 210
    Drafted/Signed: Cal State Fullerton, 2018 (11th round).
    Signed By: Ryan Leake.

    TRACK RECORD: Conine has a chance to make an unusual transformation from college closer to major league starter. After saving 25 games over three years at Cal State Fullerton, Conine spent his first full season with the Astros as a starter and went 8-4, 2.20 as he climbed to Double-A. The Astros brought him to their alternate training site in 2020 and he continued to progress before wrapping up in instructional league.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Conine doesn't fit the profile of a typical former closer. He relies on mixing four pitches and throwing strikes rather than overpowering anyone. Conine's fastball ranges from 90-95 mph. He backs it up with a solid-average curveball that's his go-to pitch for a strikeout and an average changeup he has the confidence to throw against lefties and righties. Conine sprinkles in a fringe-average slider, though it's more of an early-count offering that doesn't miss as many bats as his curve. His control could be plus and he's adept at moving the ball around the zone.

    THE FUTURE: Conine will open 2021 in the upper levels and could make his major league debut during the season. He has the potential to stick around as a back-end starter.

  16. 16. Jairo Solis | RHP
    Jairo Solis
    Born: Dec 22, 1999
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 209
    Drafted/Signed: Venezuela, 2016.
    Signed By: Oz Ocampo/Tom Shafer/Roman Ocumarez/Enrique Brito.

    TRACK RECORD: Solis signed with the Astros for $450,000 after touching 91 mph as a 16-year-old. He quickly advanced to the low Class A Midwest League at 18, but he suffered an elbow injury and missed the end of the 2018 season and all of 2019 after having Tommy John surgery. Solis returned to pitch at instructional league in 2020 and showed enough that the Astros added him to the 40-man roster.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Solis rose quickly as one of the Astros' most promising pitchers, especially given his starter traits relative to some of the organization's hard-throwing but erratic arms. At his best, Solis pitched with good angle on a lively fastball sitting at 91-95 mph and reaching 98. He was back to working in the low-to-mid 90s at instructs in 2020. Solis flashes an above-average changeup with late tumble and he has shown a feel for both a curveball and slider, though they can get slurvy. He's an athletic pitcher who has shown solid control at times, though it escapes him at other times.

    THE FUTURE: The arrows pointed in the right direction once Solis got back on the mound in 2020. He could reach Double-A by the end of 2021.

  17. 17. Tyler Brown | RHP
    Tyler Brown
    Born: Oct 2, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 242
    Drafted/Signed: Vanderbilt, 2020 (3rd round).
    Signed By: Landon Townsley.

    TRACK RECORD: Brown probably could have started at another school, but he pitched in relief for a Vanderbilt team that won the 2019 College World Series with one of the best rotations in the country. After the 2020 coronavirus pandemic cut his junior year short, Brown signed with the Astros for $577,000 as a third-round pick.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Brown has a deeper repertoire than most relievers, operating off a fastball that sits 91-94 mph and can reach 96. He throws frequent strikes with his fastball and complements it with an above-average slider, an average changeup and a slightly below-average curve. It's a starter's pitch mix, but Brown had Tommy John surgery in high school and some scouts think his delivery is better suited to relief.

    THE FUTURE: Brown will likely begin his career as a tandem starter at one of the Class A levels in 2021. His pitch mix gives him a chance to start and he has a fallback as a potential high-leverage reliever if he ends up in the bullpen.

  18. 18. Zach Daniels | OF
    Zach Daniels
    Born: Jan 23, 1999
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 210
    Drafted/Signed: Tennessee, 2020 (4th round).
    Signed By: Landon Townsley.

    TRACK RECORD: Daniels showed exciting tools but piled up strikeouts his first two seasons at Tennessee, hitting .161/.339/.344 as a freshman, then .200/.262/.417 as a sophomore and his struggles continued that summer in the Cape Cod League. He began 2020 like he was on the verge of a breakthrough, batting .357/.478/.750 through 17 games until the coronavirus pandemic shut the season down before Southeastern Conference play. The Astros bought into his improvement and drafted him in the fourth round, signing him for $400,000 before he went to instructional league.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Daniels has the loudest combination of tools and athleticism in the Astros' system. He's a power sprinter with plus-plus speed, running the 60-yard dash under 6.4 seconds. He's an explosive, quick-twitch athlete with the strength and bat speed to drive the ball with plus raw power in batting practice, but whether it will click in games is a question mark. His swing isn't long, but there is extra noise in his trigger and his swing path doesn't keep his barrel in the zone for long, leading to lots of swings and misses. Daniels has the speed to play center field and an average arm, but he moved around all three outfield spots at Tennessee and spent most of his junior year at DH.

    THE FUTURE: Daniels' glimmer of offensive performance gives hope he may be starting to turn the corner, with athleticism that should help him make adjustments. He's likely to open 2021 in low Class A.

  19. 19. Freudis Nova | SS
    Freudis Nova
    Born: Jan 12, 2000
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 190
    Drafted/Signed: Dominican Republic, 2016.
    Signed By: Oz Ocampo/Roman Ocumarez/Jose Lima.

    TRACK RECORD: Nova was one of the top players in the 2016 international class and signed with the Astros for $1.2 million. He reached low Class A Quad Cities in 2019, where his athleticism and raw tools stood out more than his performance. At instructional league in 2020, Nova left scouts disappointed between his declining athleticism and performance, but the Astros still added him to their 40-man roster after the season.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Nova didn't show the same quick-twitch to his actions that he had shown in the past, a concern for a player whose value has been tied more to his tools than his pure hitting ability. Nova does have solid-average raw power to pull a fastball over the fence when a pitcher makes a mistake, but he struggles with pitch recognition and his free-swinging approach gets him in trouble. Nova has a strong arm for the left side of the diamond, but he has slowed down as he's filled out, leading to more concerns that he's a third baseman rather than a shortstop, with hands that need improvement to stick in the dirt.

    THE FUTURE: Youth is still on Nova's side to rebound as he enters his age-20 season and returns to the structure of a normal year. The 2021 season will be critical for his prospect status.

  20. 20. 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.

    TRACK RECORD: After starring in football and baseball in high school, Brewer went to Lincoln Trail (Ill.) JC for two seasons before transferring to Michigan. Swing adjustments helped him take off and become the 2019 Big Ten player of the year as he led the Wolverines to the College World Series finals. The Astros took him in the third round and signed him for $500,000. Brewer scuffled in his pro debut and missed time with a toe injury, then had left knee surgery in April 2020 that kept him off the field the entire year.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Brewer has the backward profile of a lefthanded thrower who bats righthanded. While he hit well at Michigan, his tools stand out more than his pure hitting ability. He's a potential power/speed threat in center field, with his power and wheels both grading out plus. Brewer has worked to better incorporate his lower half into his swing, but it's not the most adjustable stroke, which leaves him with holes. Brewer has the speed for center field but mostly played on the corners at Michigan.

    THE FUTURE: Brewer's athleticism and history of making swing changes bode well, but his bat will be tested by better pitching. He should be ready for the start of spring training in 2021.

  21. 21. Shay Whitcomb | SS
    Shay Whitcomb
    Born: Sep 28, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 200
    Drafted/Signed: UC San Diego, 2020 (5th round).
    Signed By: Ryan Leake.

    TRACK RECORD: Whitcomb played at Division II at UC San Diego and elevated his stock with a strong summer after his sophomore year in the Cape Cod League, where he hit .303/.371/.606 with eight home runs in 34 games. He was the 160th and final pick of the five-round draft in 2020, signing for $56,000 before reporting to instructional league.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Whitcomb's Cape performance increased scouts' confidence in his ability to hit better pitching. He has the ability to turn around good velocity and drive the ball for above-average raw power. There could be more power to unlock as he works to hit from a sturdier base on his back side and get into a better hitting position, an adjustment he seemed to be working through during instructs. What Whitcomb does at the plate drives his value. He's an average runner who doesn't have the footwork or range for shortstop, with his arm probably pushing him to second base, though he could see time at third.

    THE FUTURE: Whitcomb fits the mold of players with hitterish tendencies the Astros have targeted in recent years. He should start 2021 at one of the team's Class A affiliates.

  22. 22. Dauri Lorenzo | SS
    Dauri Lorenzo
    Born: Oct 29, 2002
    Bats: B Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 195
    Drafted/Signed: Dominican Republic, 2019.
    Signed By: Roman Ocumarez/Francisco Ulloa/Leocadio Guevara.

    TRACK RECORD: Lorenzo landed a $1.8 million bonus as Houston's top international signing in 2019. His pro debut was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, but he held his own in instructional league. He faced a stable of hard-throwing pitchers with full-season experience and got work at Dominican instructs.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Lorenzo shows a knack for slowing the game down and managing his at-bats with a mature approach for his age, even against much more advanced pitchers than he was accustomed to facing. He's an offensive-minded shortstop whose strengths should be putting the ball in play and getting on base. A switch-hitter with a better swing and more rhythm from the right side, Lorenzo has good bat-toball skills, keeps the barrel through the hitting zone a long time and uses his hands well in his swing, with the ability to adjust even when he drifts open early. He's mostly a line-drive hitter with doubles power, and while he got stronger in 2020, he doesn't project to be a big power threat. Lorenzo has solid-average speed and arm strength, but he doesn't have the quick-burst athleticism or instincts of other shortstops, so he most likely ends up at second base.

    THE FUTURE: Lorenzo will still be the same age as a high school senior next season. He should open in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League.

  23. 23. Brandon Bielak | RHP
    Brandon Bielak
    Born: Apr 2, 1996
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 208
    Drafted/Signed: Notre Dame, 2017 (11th round).
    Signed By: Nick Venuto.

    TRACK RECORD: Bielak is one of several pitchers the Astros drafted after the 10th round who have emerged as legitimate prospects. He quickly climbed the minors and made his big league debut as a starter in 2020, but he got blown up as his command vanished and moved to the bullpen down the stretch.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Bielak's fastball ranges from 91-96 mph. He mixes in four other pitches, the best of which is an 85-88 mph changeup that flashes above-average with sink and fade. Bielak has a deeper, more horizontal break than most other pitchers on his 88-91 mph cutter. It's an average pitch, as is his curveball, and he throws a fringe-average slider as well. Bielak was a solid strike-thrower throughout his minor league career, but he lost feel for the zone in the majors, which led to hitters teeing off on his fastball.

    THE FUTURE: Bielak has enough stuff to pitch in the back of a rotation, but will need to locate better to stick in that role. He could get another crack in 2021.

  24. 24. Juan Santander | C
    Juan Santander
    Born: Dec 9, 2002
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 215
    Drafted/Signed: Venezuela, 2019.
    Signed By: Roman Ocumarez/Jose Palacios/Enrique Brito.

    TRACK RECORD: Santander was one of the best catchers in the 2019 international class and signed with the Astros for $700,000. He has yet to make his official pro debut due to the coronavirus pandemic, but he was able to participate in the Tricky League (an unofficial league for July 2 signings) and Dominican instructional league in 2019 as well as Dominican instructs again in 2020.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Santander stands out for his physicality and offensive upside for a catcher. He hits from a solid base, keeps his weight back, and while there's some length to his swing, he has quick hands to catch up to good velocity. He has a slight uppercut to hit the ball in the air and has a chance to grow into average power, especially if he can incorporate his whole body into his swing rather than relying on his hands. Santander has a large build for a catcher that he will need to maintain. He has done that so far, resulting in quicker footwork on throws with solid-average arm strength. He's a leader among his teammates and has the intangibles teams love in a catcher.

    THE FUTURE: Santander has a lot to like, but he's still a teenager several years away. He will make his pro debut in 2021.

  25. 25. Jojanse Torres | RHP
    Jojanse Torres
    Born: Aug 4, 1995
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 185
    Drafted/Signed: Dominican Republic, 2018.
    Signed By: Roman Ocumarez.

    TRACK RECORD: The Astros haven't shied away from signing pitchers in their late teens or early 20s in a Latin American scouting world focused on 16-year-old signings. Even for the Astros, Torres was older for a Dominican signing when they inked him for $150,000 at 22. Torres made the signing look prescient with a strong full-season debut at the Class A levels in 2019. He was with the major league team for exhibition games in July, but elbow issues prevented him from pitching during the regular season.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Torres ran his fastball up to 98 mph that first year in the DSL in 2018, then in 2019 was regularly touching 100 mph. Torres has a huge fastball that stands out in a system deep with power arms. His heater sits 95-100 mph and he throws it with an aggressive, grip-it-and-rip-it approach. He shows feel for a changeup that has good velocity separation off his fastball. It has the best chance among his offspeed stuff to develop into a solid-average or better pitch. Torres also throws a slider and curveball that are both inconsistent. He has overpowered lower-level competition, but his control needs to get better against more discerning hitters.

    THE FUTURE: Torres has just 135 innings with the Astros, so there's some hope his control and secondary feel can improve. The most likely outcome is a reliever, with Double-A probably his next stop.

  26. 26. Blake Taylor | LHP
    Blake Taylor
    Born: Aug 17, 1995
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 220
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Dana Point, Calif., 2013 (2nd round).
    Signed By: Brian Tracy (Pirates).

    TRACK RECORD: The Pirates drafted Taylor when he was 17 with the 51st overall pick in 2013 and traded him to the Mets one year later as part of the deal for Ike Davis. He largely scuffled in the low minors until he moved to the bullpen and vaulted up to Triple-A in 2019. The Astros acquired him after the season in the deal for Jake Marisnick. Taylor made his major league debut in 2020 and earned the trust of manager Dusty Baker to pitch crucial innings as the season progressed, appearing in eight of the Astros' 13 playoff games.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Taylor sticks out as a lefty in a system full of righthanded power arms. He comes at hitters with a 92-95 mph fastball that tops out at 97 with late cut that induces a lot of weak contact. His mid-80s slider is a solid-average pitch at its best when he keeps it at the bottom of the zone, though sometimes it flattens out and stays up, allowing hitters to do damage. He's primarily a two-pitch reliever with a below-average changeup he rarely throws. Taylor's control is below-average, but he was able to get out of sticky situations last year by drawing soft contact.

    THE FUTURE: Taylor should return to a middle relief role in Houston in 2021. Better command will be key for him to stick.

  27. 27. Jose Alberto Rivera | RHP
    Jose Alberto Rivera
    Born: Feb 14, 1997
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 200
    Drafted/Signed: Dominican Republic, 2016.
    Signed By: Oz Ocampo/Roman Ocumarez/Leocadio Guevara (Astros).

    TRACK RECORD: The Astros signed Rivera for $10,000 in 2016 and he didn't make his full-season debut until he was 22 in 2019. By then, his fastball exploded to over 100 mph. When the Astros didn't protect Rivera on their 40-man roster after the 2020 season, the Angels selected him in the Rule 5 draft.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Rivera has electric arm speed and produces a fastball that ranges from 97-102 mph with lively tailing action. He throws a split-changeup in the mid 80s that has progressed to flash aboveaverage and has a hard slider in the mid-80s as well, but it's inconsistent and he struggles to locate it. Rivero has an aggressive, high-energy delivery he will need to corral in order to improve his fringe-average control.

    THE FUTURE: The Astros developed Rivera as starter, but his stuff, delivery and control all point to a future as a power reliever. He'll get the chance to fill that role for the Angels in 2021.

  28. 28. Elvis Garcia | RHP
    Elvis Garcia
    Born: Sep 24, 2002
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'11" Wt.: 186
    Drafted/Signed: Venezuela, 2019.
    Signed By: Roman Ocumarez/Jose Palacios.

    TRACK RECORD: With all of the electric arms the Astros scouts have signed and developed out of Latin America in recent years, it would be wise to watch for who might be in their next wave. It could be Garcia, who signed for $180,000 on July 2, 2019, at 16 and quickly trended up after signing. His pro debut was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, but he participated in Dominican instructional league at the end of 2020.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Garcia signed with a fastball that touched 91 mph. After reporting to the Astros' academy, he increased his peak velocity to 94 mph with late riding life to miss bats up in the zone. Garcia isn't very big, but he's athletic with fast arm speed. He still lacks strength, so there's projection for him to continue throwing harder as he physically matures. What helps separate Garcia from his peers are his feel for pitching and starter traits, with easy arm action and a smooth delivery. His curveball has good depth and shape and shows signs of being a future plus pitch. He hasn't focused much on his changeup but has flashed a feel for that pitch as well.

    THE FUTURE: Garcia is a long way away, but the arrows are pointing in the right direction. He will make his pro debut in 2021.

  29. 29. Richi Gonzalez | OF
    Richi Gonzalez
    Born: Dec 29, 2002
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 185
    Drafted/Signed: Dominican Republic, 2019.
    Signed By: Roman Ocumarez.

    TRACK RECORD: Gonzalez signed for $310,000 on July 2, 2019, with tools that had started trending up leading into the signing date and continued after he got to the Astros' Dominican academy. He impressed in both the Tricky League (an unofficial league for July 2 signings) and Dominican instructional league in 2019, but his expected pro debut in 2020 was wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic aside from time at the end of the year at Dominican instructs.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Scouts saw a lot of Gonzalez in the Dominican Republic early in the evaluation process, but later on he looked like a different player. Gonzalez has grown taller while retaining a lean, athletic frame. He has impressive raw tools, including plus speed and a plus arm from center field that could grow to plus-plus as he fills out, to the point where pitching could be a backup plan. That's not on the radar, though, as Gonzalez has performed well so far in unofficial games and live batting practice sessions. He has a habit of barring his arm in his swing, which adds some length, but he can drive balls out of the park to the middle of the field with solid-average raw power and a chance to grow into more.

    THE FUTURE: Gonzalez has yet to be tested in official games, but he teases the potential to be a power/ speed threat who could rise up this list next year. His pro debut in 2021 will be telling.

  30. 30. Blair Henley | RHP
    Blair Henley
    Born: May 14, 1997
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 190
    Drafted/Signed: Texas, 2019 (7th round).
    Signed By: Kris Gross.

    TRACK RECORD: An unsigned 22nd-round pick of the Yankees out of high school, Henley spent three years in the starting rotation at Texas as a solid but unsensational performer. The Astros drafted him in the seventh round and signed him for $150,000. Henley dominated with a 1.60 ERA over 11 appearances in the New York-Penn League after signing, although most of it came in relief.

    SCOUTING REPORT: The Astros are trying to squeeze velocity gains out of Henley the way they have with other pitchers in recent years. His fastball is already up a little bit and sits in the low 90s with the ability to touch 94 mph. Henley is moving away from a two-seamer he relied on in college to throw more four-seamers up in the zone to try to miss more bats. His separator is a plus slider with extremely tight spin (over 3,000 revolutions per minute) and sharp bite to dive underneath barrels. His changeup is a below-average pitch. Henley showed uneven control in college, but was significantly better throwing strikes in his pro debut.

    THE FUTURE: Henley isn't overpowering, but his slider is a legitimate weapon that could carry him to the majors. He should start 2021 at one of the Class A levels.

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