The Astros system has taken a huge step forward from where it was to start the season. There are many guys proving they are legit prospects and many justifying their high draft picks or signing bonuses. Below is the updated Astros Top 30 prospects.
1. Pedro Leon, SS/CF
Level: AAA DOB: 05/28/98
The first two here could be heavily debated but I ended up going with Leon. The Astros were rumored to be the favorites for Leon for quite a while but COVID threw a wrench in the plans. He was eventually signed in January of this year for $4 million. He is seen as a fast riser due to his age but also due to his physical skillset, and that has been true in 2021. He has a short and compact swing with power to all fields. He also possesses an above-average arm in the outfield and is a plus runner on the bases. At the signing, James Click referred to him as a true five tool prospect and he has shown that this year. The Astros have used him at SS, and so far the reports have been solid. He started the season in AA and after a first couple of rough weeks, he turned it on posting an OPS above .900 in both June and July. Leon has the potential to be an impact player at the MLB level and he has shown it already in the minors with the power and speed combination.
— Astros Future (@AstrosFuture) July 5, 2021
2. Korey Lee, C
Level: AA DOB: 07/25/98
Lee was the Astros first round pick in 2019 out of California. Broadly built at 6’2″, 205 lbs., Lee is a strong athlete with a strong lower half and shows solid across the board defensive skills and above average arm strength, projecting as a solid average catcher at the highest level. With the bat, he shows a nice mix of hit and power, with a simple stroke that keeps the barrel in the hitting zone for a long time. His approach is also pretty advanced already, and generates a healthy quantity of walks. Lee projects as a 20+ home run threat down the line. With the ability to hit for a solid average and get on base from the backstop position, this gives Lee a strong shot to be a future regular at catcher. Lee has put it together on the field this season crushing 11 HR and hitting .316 while throwing out 43% of base stealers. He is the future at the catch position.
— Astros Future (@AstrosFuture) July 5, 2021
3. Jeremy Pena, SS
Level: AAA DOB: 05/28/98
Pena was drafted by the Astros in the 3rd round of the 2018 draft. During the draft process, Pena was seen by many as the best defensive shortstop in the class, and he has done nothing to disprove this notion. He has solid speed which leads to good range and possesses a plus arm. On the offensive side, Pena has added weight and improved his power, evident by his .440 slugging in 2019. He has a solid understanding of the strike zone and has the ability to draw walks and limit his strikeouts while also being a threat to steal bases. He was really due to breakout in 2020 at AA (despite already landing on top 100 lists) but no season with COVID. He performed well in the Dominican Winter League in 2020 posting a .779 OPS in 30 games. Unfortunately, he broke his wrist early in Spring and will probably miss the entire season. He still profiles as a big leaguer though and can be carried with his defense.
4. Hunter Brown, RHP
Level: AAA DOB: 08/29/98
Brown was drafted by the Astros in the 5th round of the 2019 draft out of Wayne State University. He only pitched in 23 innings following the draft but he has shown enough to deserve a high ranking. Brown runs his fastball up to 98 (despite throwing mid 80s in high school) and has shown the ability to maintain his velocity in multiple innings. He also possesses a big breaking curveball and sharp slider, which both flash above average. Brown probably has the highest upside of any arm in the system and the makings of a top of the rotation pitcher. He has a great pitcher’s build and has had some success going deeper into games this season. This season he has struck out 83 in 55.1 innings between AA and AAA and has a roundball percentage over 50%. You can read more about him here.
Hunter Brown (@xhunterbrownx) strikeout mix over his last three starts. He has elite top of the rotation stuff.
— Astros Future (@AstrosFuture) July 21, 2021
5. Forrest Whitley, RHP
Level: AAA DOB: 09/15/97
At this point, everyone knows who Forrest Whitley is. After a dominant 2017 which saw him strike out 143 over 92.1 innings while reaching AA at just 19 years old, he has struggled a bit to recapture that magic the last couple seasons. A suspension and a few nagging injuries has held him back. Whitley possesses a fastball that has nice life and gets up to 98 MPH which he pairs with a devastating changeup. He also has a very good curveball and above average slider. Forrest had Tommy John surgery ending his 2021 season, and maybe his 2022 season as well. He is still only 23 and has plenty of upside left though.
6. Alex Santos, RHP
Level: A DOB: 02/10/02
Santos was drafted by the Astros in the 2nd round of the 2020 MLB draft. Due to COVID, he was unable to make his professional debut. Santos has a mid 90s fastball with a high spin rate and pairs that with two solid secondary offerings, a curveball and a changeup. He also is a good athlete at 6-3, 215 lbs. Santos has an extremely high ceiling and started to show that some in 2021 pitching in full season baseball at just 19 years old. He has been up and down, but shown flashes of why he was a second round pick.
— Astros Future (@AstrosFuture) July 25, 2021
7. Tyler Whitaker, OF
Level: N/A DOB: 08/02/02
With the Astros first pick in the 2021 draft, they took a prospect who fell right in their laps. Whitaker was an absolute steal where the Astros got him in the third round. He possesses a plus arm in the outfield and big raw power. He started as a shortstop and has since moved to the outfield. Whitaker is a good athlete for his size and a plus runner. He has some swing in miss to his game but has the upside to be a big run producer at the major league level. He is 6-4, 190 lbs and still has plenty of room to grow.
8. Peter Solomon, RHP
Level: AAA DOB: 08/16/96
Solomon was another high upside pick in the 2017 draft. A guy who had electric stuff but control issues. He came into the Astros system and had a great 2018 season (2.32 ERA, 114 K in 100.2 IP). Unfortunately he got hurt early on in 2019 after two starts and missed the rest of the year after undergoing Tommy John Surgery. He has came back this year, and even made his MLB debut. He has been up and down in Sugar Land but his ups have been really good. Solomon has multiple solid pitches including an fastball that can sit mid 90s.
— Astros Future (@AstrosFuture) July 20, 2021
9. Jake Meyers, OF
Level: AAA DOB: 06/18/96
Meyers was a 13th round pick back in the 2017 draft. He pitched and hit in college but the bat won out as he became a full-time outfielder his sophomore year. Meyers uses his pitching background in the field as he has great anticipation in the outfield. He has plus range, great arm and above average speed. Jake plays all three outfield positions well. He has made huge strides with the bat showing off his power and hitting for higher exit velocities. This has led to great results hitting .343 with 16 HR in AAA this season. At this least, he will probably be a quality fourth outfielder with a chance to be more. He was recently called up to Houston. Read my interview with Meyers here.
3 HR last night for Jake Meyers! pic.twitter.com/Q2mp0YPefe
— Astros Future (@AstrosFuture) June 21, 2021
10. Joe Perez, 3B
Level: AA DOB: 08/12/99
Perez was drafted by the Astros in the 2nd round of the 2017 draft. Most thought he would be a pitcher but the Astros wanted to use him as a third baseman. Following the draft he had Tommy John Surgery and then came back and hold some shoulder issues. He was finally healthy in 2021 and has shown why he was drafted so high. He started the year in Low-A and had a .907 OPS before being promoted to High-A where he posted a 1.120 OPS. He has since been promoted to Double-A. Perez has shown above average power and he possesses a plus arm at the hot corner. Really good season so far for the 21 year old. You can read more about Perez here.
— Astros Future (@AstrosFuture) July 10, 2021
11. Colin Barber, OF
Level: A+ DOB: 12/04/00
Barber was drafted in the 4th round of high school in the 2019 draft. He signed for $1 million, which was almost $600k over slot. Barber has very good bat speed and possesses above-average raw power and plus speed to keep him as a potential center fielder. In 2019, as an 18 year old, he performed well with a .780 OPS in 28 games. He has a ton of upside and started the year in High-A before having season ending shoulder surgery. He has a patient approach at the plate and a solid arm in the outfield as well. He is still just 21 years old.
12. Freudis Nova, SS
Level: A+ DOB: 01/12/00
Nova has come along pretty slowly since receiving a seven figure bonus in 2016, but had a decent full season in Quad Cities where he posted a 95 wRC+ in 75 games as a 19 year old. He’s still rough around the edges and will need to improve a free swinging approach to get within reach of his considerable ceiling. Still, he offers the potential for a middle of the order bat at a left side infield spot. While he showed some power with the 20 doubles in 2019, he struggled with the plate discipline managing just 15 BB/68 K. Nova has struggled a but in 2021 but things have started to turn around of late. Like Barber, he is still very young.
13. Shawn Dubin, RHP
Level: AAA DOB: 09/06/95
Dubin was drafted by the Astros in the 13th round of the 2018 draft after attending two different JuCo schools. He is smaller stature listed at 6-1, 155 lbs but he has added about 20 lbs and is sitting around 175 now. His fastball sits in the mid 90s, touching 99, and he has a plus slider. Dubin had a dominant season in 2019 and started this season in AAA. He dealt with some arm fatigue but is back 100% now. Dubin has enough pitches to be a starter but if the Astros decide to use him in the pen, he could be electric running it up to triple digits. You can read my interview with Dubin here.
Great video here on Shawn Dubin. He is electric! pic.twitter.com/z53bmSyDWg
— Astros Future (@AstrosFuture) August 6, 2021
14. Dauri Lorenzo, SS
Level: FCL DOB: 10/29/02
The Astros signed Lorenzo in July of 2019 for $1.8 million out of the Dominican Republic. Scouts noted the 18 year old a line drive stroke and drives the ball consistently to all fields. Lorenzo, a switch-hitter, has some power but should develop more. He is also an above average runner with a strong arm. He has the makings of a great prospect and now it is just about putting it together. He debuted in the Astros system this year in the FCL and has a .705 OPS so far in 16 games.
15. Tyler Ivey, RHP
Level: AAA DOB: 05/12/96
Ivey was a 3rd round pick in the 2017 draft. His performance when on the field has been really good, including a 1.57 ERA in 46.0 innings in AA in 2019. Unfortunately he dealt with some injuries in 2019 and then was unable to log any professional innings in 2020 due to COVID. Ivey has an active delivery but does well to repeat it. His fastball sits in the low 90s and he mixes an above-average curveball and a solid slider and changeup. Ivey made his big league debut this year but since has been dealing with some injuries. He still has the makings of a big league pitcher.
16. Matthew Barefoot, OF
Level: A+ DOB: 09/20/97
Barefoot was selected by the Astros in the 6th round of the 2019 draft after putting up some insane numbers at Campbell University. The Astros immediately made some changes to his swing, and then there was no 2020 season due to COVID. Barefoot has came back this year and the changes have paid off. He started in Low-A and earned a promotion to High-A quickly and he has 16 HR and 17 SB this season. Barefoot possesses solid power and speed. He has the ability to hit for average and can play all outfield positions, though he probably ends up in one of the corners. Read more about him here.
— Astros Future (@AstrosFuture) August 3, 2021
17. Jaime Melendez, RHP
Level: A+ DOB: 09/26/01
Melendez was signed by the Astros out of Mexico and he has made a quick rise in the system. After some time in rookie ball in 2019, the Astros started the 19 year old in Low-A this season and he went on to post a 0.49 ERA with 5 BB/38 K in 18.1 innings earning a promotion to High-A. He is a smaller pitch (5-8) but is built well at 190 lbs. He currently has a low 90s fastball and a good slider but also pitches with deception thanks to his vertical approach angle.
18. Chayce McDermott, RHP
Level: N/A DOB: 08/22/98
McDermott was drafted by the Astros in the 4th round out of Ball State. Like many college athletes, McDermott returned to school for another year due to COVID. This looks like a great decision for him. McDermott works with a fastball in the mid 90s and can tough 98 MPH. He has a plus curveball and a changeup as well. He had a really good year in 2021 where he struck out 125 in 82.2 innings with a 3.05 ERA at Ball State. He is a good athlete and has a good build at 6-3, 197 lbs. He is also the brother of Sean McDermott who plays in the NBA.
19. Jairo Solis, RHP
Level: AAA DOB: 12/22/99
This one hurts. Solis was looking like an elite prospect but this season he had to get a second Tommy John Surgery. Way back in 2018 Solis held his own in full season baseball as an 18 year old. He has pitching in the minors since due to injuries. When healthy he has a low to mid 90s fastball with late life. He also has a solid slider and changeup. Solis had the makings of a top flight pitching prospect, but now we will have to wait and see how he comes back after TJ.
20. Alex McKenna, OF
Level: AA DOB: 09/06/97
McKenna was a 4th round selection in the 2018 season and hit well following the draft. 2019 was a struggle for him though as he dealt with injuries and never got it going. After a missed 2020 season (COVID), he came back strong in 2021. McKenna started year in High-A and hit .305 with 1.005 OPS and 13 HR in 41 games. He was promoted to AA where played in 6 games before suffering another injury. McKenna is a solid outfielders with a nice power speed combination. His strikeouts were a bit high, and he can add some weight, but he showed this year why he was 4th round pick back in 2018. Read more about McKenna here.
— Astros Future (@AstrosFuture) July 5, 2021
21. Misael Tamarez, RHP
Level: A DOB: 01/16/00
The Astros signed Tamarez out of the Dominican Republic in 2018. He pitched in rookie league in 2019 but has broke out a way in 2021. As a 21 year old in Low-A, he has struck out 64 in 43 innings including 34 K over his last 18 innings. Tamarez has a strong frame at 6-1 and over 200 lbs. His fastball this season has been mid 90s hitting 97 MPH. He also possesses has a changeup and improving slider that can give him a deadly three pitch mix. He has the making of another under the radar pitching prospect who can make an impact in the next couple years.
— Astros Future (@AstrosFuture) August 6, 2021
22. Cristian Gonzalez, SS
Level: A DOB: 10/22/01
Some may see this as an aggressive ranking, but I have seen and heard nothing but good things on Gonzalez. The 6-3 shortstop was signed out of Dominican Republic in 2018. He is only listed at 180 lbs and still has plenty of room to grow. Gonzalez is solid defensively at shortstop but possesses a plus arm in the field. Cristian has the ability to hit for some average but has been able to add power to his game already this season at 19 years old. Between rookie ball and Low-A he is hitting .290 with 3 HR this season.
23. Shay Whitcomb, SS
Level: A+ DOB: 09/28/98
Whitcomb was the Astros 5th round pick in the 2020 MLB draft out of UC San Diego. He is a big bodied shortstop, standing at 6-3 and 202 lbs. He is a bat first infielder who stood out offensively in college who hit .315 with .939 OPS in 136 games at UC San Diego. Another positive sign, he went to Cape Cod League in 2019 and had 9 2B, 8 HR and a .976 OPS in 34 games. This year Whitcomb started in Low-A and after .282 with 7 HR, 14 SB he was promoted to High-A where he has continued the power/speed trend with 8 HR and 9 SB. He is versatile and can play all infield positions at a solid level. The next test for him will be in Double-A.
24. Zach Daniels, OF
Level: A+ DOB: 01/23/99
Daniels had two pretty rough seasons in college before putting it together as a junior at Tennessee. While he only played in 17 games (before the season was cancelled due to COVID) he slashed .357/.478/.750 with 8 2B, 4 HR, and 3 SB. Daniels possesses above-average power and above-average speed making him one of the most intriguing prospects in the Astros’ system. Baseball America wrote that he is the prospect with the most power, best athlete and fastest baserunner in the system. Daniels started the season in Low-A and hit 6 HR with 14 SB before earning a promotion to High-A.
25. Jonathan Bermudez, LHP
Level: AA DOB: 10/16/95
Bermudez was a 23rd round pick back in 2018. Bermudez put up a solid 2019 season but has really had a breakout 2021. The lefty has posted a 3.34 ERA with 16 BB/98 K in 70 innings in Double-A. Bermudez has a good build at 6-2 and 230 lbs. Bermudez is a smoke and mirrors kind of pitcher (meaning he is deceptive) but still possesses a low 90s fastball with a big sweeping slider and a solid changeup. He knows how to attack hitters and can throw strikes with all three of his pitches. He is 25 years old, but looks like a pitcher who can help the Astros in the near future. You can read more about Bermudez here.
— Astros Future (@AstrosFuture) August 2, 2021
26. Tyler Brown, RHP
Level: A+ DOB: 10/02/98
Brown was drafted by the Astros in the 3rd round of the 2020 draft after dominating college baseball in relief. He was a closer for Vanderbilt for the last two seasons and in 2019 he put up a really good year with 9 BB/65 K in 49.1 innings while picking up 17 saves and a 2.19 ERA. He was off to another good start in 2020 (14 K in 10.2 IP) before COVID cancelled the remainder of the season. Brown has a mid 90s fastball that he mixes with a solid slider and a changeup. Brown is listed at 6-4, 242 lbs and the Astros are using him as a starter. The overall numbers are a little rough but Asheville is a tough place to pitch. He does have 63 K in 59.1 innings this season.
27. Jordan Brewer, OF
Level: A DOB: 08/01/97
An older prospect who took a long route to pro ball, Brewer has a football background and oozes tools including plus plus speed and above average power. Coming off a huge year for Michigan in 2019, he struggled at the plate a bit in his pro debut, but has the potential to impact the game in a number of ways. The hit tool is his biggest question mark as his swing tends to get long, but if he becomes even an average hitter, he could be a legit prospect. This year in Low-A he is hitting .264 with 3 HR, 16 SB.
28. J.C. Correa, INF
Level: A+ DOB: 09/15/98
J.C. is known by many because he is Carlos Correa’s younger brother, but he is a legitimate prospect in his own right. He was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2020 after a solid college career at Lamar. Correa started the year in Low-A and slashing .306/.392/.477 in 56 games earning a promotion to High-A. Correa is a solid defender in the infield but he will be carried by his bat. He has a knack for making contact, striking out just 35 times in 68 games this season, but has also drawn 30 walks. He only has 6 HR this season, but has 22 doubles. If he continues to hit, his status will keep rising as he moves into the upper levels.
29. Brett Conine, RHP
Level: AAA DOB: 10/16/96
Conine was drafted by the Astros in the 11th round of the 2018 draft. He made the transition from reliever to starter in the pros and the transition has went well. After a solid showing in 2018, he followed that up with very good season in 2019 posting a 2.20 ERA with 134 K in 114.1 innings. He has a fastball in the low 90s, a slider, curveball, and improving changeup. This year he has struggled some in AAA with a 4.87 ERA, though the numbers have been a little better at home. For more on him, check out this interview.
30. Yainer Diaz, C
Level: A DOB: 09/21/98
Diaz was just acquired by the Astros in the trade that sent Myles Straw to Cleveland. Diaz is a bat first catching prospect but that’s not to say he is a slouch behind the plate. He still has a ways to go receiving but the Astros have done well developing the defensive side of catchers and will hopefully do the same with Diaz. He also possesses an above average arm. At the plate, he has a has a nice approach to all fields and the ability to hit for average. This year he is hitting .321 with a .833 OPS in 64 games in Low-A.