We’re reviewing all 316 players to appear at any level for Houston in 2022.
Karniel Pratt is a five-foot-10, 170 lb. right-handed outfielder from St. Peters, Saint Martin. Born on January 3, 2005, he signed his first professional contract with the Astros on June 1. Three days later, he was assigned to the DSL Astros Blue.
Pratt ranked fifth on the Blue squad with 54 appearances, and slashed .210/.369/.273. The lopsided line was due in no small part to Pratt’s not-age-standard patience. To wit, he drew 33 walks in 178 plate appearances, an 18.4 base-on-balls rate. His 60 strikeouts are a concern, but Pratt still isn’t 18-years-old yet. He also stole 12 bases in 17 attempts.
On June 28, in a 9-0 win against the DSL KC Stewart, Pratt went three-for-four with a double and three runs scored. On July 30, he hit his first professional home run, going two-for-three with two RBI in a 9-7 win against the DSL Diamondbacks Black.
Defensively, Pratt played 164 innings in right field (four errors in 46 chances), 154 in left (two errors in 40 chances, five assists), 28 1⁄3 innings in center (one error in four chances), and 21 1⁄3 innings at second base (two errors, 11 chances).
Although Pratt is unpolished defensively, his five outfield assists from left certainly open some eyes. I’d be surprised if he opens the season anywhere but DSL for one more year.
Michael Horrell is a six-foot-three, 195 lb. right-handed pitcher from Winston-Salem, NC. Born on December 18, 1996, he was a 30th-round choice of the Astros in 2019, out of Campbell University. He was named the Big South Conference Pitcher of the Year for his efforts as a senior. Taken with the 916th overall pick, only two players chosen at the position have made it to the majors, including Kevin Sefcik (1.5 WAR). Horrell signed for a $1,000 bonus.
Horrell finished out his 2019 calendar season with the Short-Season-A Tri-City ValleyCats, and split the 2021 campaign between the High-A Asheville Tourists and the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks. The 2022 season would see him play most of the year with the Hooks, aside from two rehab games with the Rookie club.
Horrell pitched 22 games for the Hooks, going 1-2 with a 5.76 ERA, a 2.258 WHIP, and a .344/.458/.440 opposing slash line. He hit four batters and threw three wild pitches, striking out 28 over 29 2⁄3 innings. He’ll open the 2023 season at the age of 26.