Every year in the Astros system there is a prospect that has a breakout season. We have seen it from guys like Francis Martes, Ramon Laureano, Brett Phillips, Rogelio Armenteros, Yordan Alvarez and more. Here, I will list a few guys who are outside the top 30 that I think could have a breakout season. Just for reference, here are my potential breakout list the last three years:
Carlos Machado, OF
Machado has been in the Astros system since 2015 and has been playing foreign leagues and rookie ball but has made progress at every level. After hitting .324 in 41 games in 2017, he followed that up hitting .304 in 52 games for Tri-City in 2018. This was good for a 123 wRC+ at just 20 years old. Over the last two seasons Machado has a 130 wRC+ with just a 12.2 K% in 93 games. Baseball Prospectus noted that Machado is a solid contact hitter with good plate discipline. He should be able to grow into more power as he is listed at 6’2” and 170 lbs.
Ernesto Jaquez, RHP
Jaquez was signed by the Astros as an international free agent in 2017. He had a mini breakout in 2018 posting a 1.75 ERA in 56.2 innings, making his way to Tri-City. Oz Ocampo noted this summer that Jaquez sites 90-92 with his fastball and mixes in a slider, changeup and curveball for strikes. He is listed at 6’2” and 190 lbs, giving him room to add on size. Without Greeneville in the system and Jaquez already making it past GCL, he looks to be a guy who could make his full season debut at some time in 2019.
Enmanuel Valdez, 2B/3B
He was a choice of mine last year but the full breakout didn’t happen. I think it could be in 2019. Valdez was signed by the Astros in 2015 and debuted in 2016. At the time of the signing, BA noted Valdez as a player with a small, compact frame but had very good hand-eye coordination and barreled up balls consistently. During his time in the system he has shown pop while also maintaining solid walk and strikeout rates. In 2018 he played for Tri-City and had a .731 OPS with 16 2B, 8 HR, 11 SB in 63 games. He will be 20 years old in 2019 and should make his full season debut with Quad Cities.
Enoli Paredes, RHP
Paredes is a little older than the other guys on the list and is a little more known. Paredes was signed during the same period as Valdez. While he is smaller (5’11”), he was up to 94 MPH shortly after signing and a solid curveball and chanegup. They also noted he was a very good athlete. Paredes pitched between A/A+ in 2018 and struck out 90 in 69 innings (24 games, 5 starts). One scout I saw said Paredes was consistently 93-96 and could probably be a 95-98 MPH guy in short stints. He will be 24 in 2019 but should be in AA and if he has a good season, he could start to gain some traction as a big league reliever.