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  1. 1. Forrest Whitley | RHP
    Forrest Whitley
    Born: Sep 15, 1997
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'7" Wt.: 238
    Drafted: 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, he ranks as the Astros’ No. 1 prospect for the fourth straight season and has not yet made his major league debut. 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.

    SCOUTING REPORT: Heading into 2021, it has now been three 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 and has the most well-rounded arsenal of plus or potentially plus pitches across the board in the Astros’ farm system.

    With the way he finished 2020, Whitley likely starts 2021 in Triple-A, but barring another setback should make his major league debut at some point during the season.

  2. 2. Luis Garcia | RHP
    Luis Garcia
    Born: Dec 13, 1996
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 244
    Drafted: 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.

  3. 3. Jeremy Pena | SS
    Jeremy Pena
    Born: Sep 22, 1997
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 202
    Drafted: 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.

  4. 4. Alex Santos | RHP
    Alex Santos
    Born: Feb 10, 2002
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 215
    Drafted: HS—Bronx, N.Y., 2020 (2nd rd supp).
    Signed By: Bobby St. Pierre.

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

    TRACK RECORD: Major League Baseball made the Astros surrender their first- and 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. But he was able to regularly throw bullpens at the Citius Baseball facility his father co-owns and send his Rapsodo data to teams. 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, with the most advanced one his curveball, a potential plus pitch to miss bats with 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.

  5. 5. Bryan Abreu | RHP
    Bryan Abreu
    Born: Apr 22, 1997
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 204
    Drafted: 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.

  6. 6. Tyler Ivey | RHP
    Tyler Ivey
    Born: May 12, 1996
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 195
    Drafted: 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: 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: 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: 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. Grae Kessinger | SS
    Grae Kessinger
    Born: Aug 25, 1997
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 204
    Drafted: 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.

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