Players number 71 & 72 out of 316 in today’s review.
Christopher Morales is a six-foot-one, 170 lb. right-handed corner outfielder from San Pedro de Macoris, DR. Born on September 30, 2002, he signed with the Astros on July 2, 2019.
Morales’ first professional assignment was to the rookie level DSL Astros in 2021, where he led the entire league with a .520 BABIP in 123 plate appearances. I’m not sure what to do with that, but seems a little high, right? He slashed .277/.407/.446 in 43 games.
Morales started the 2022 campaign with the FCL Astros Orange, and shuffled back-and-forth between them and the Blue squad several times through the season. In 27 games between the two affiliates, he didn’t collect more than one hit in any of them and finished the season on an 0-for-17 slump with 13 strikeouts.
Overall, Morales slashed .159/.293/.217 in 82 PA, with eight walks (just under 10 percent) and 38 whiffs (just under 50 percent). Between his two seasons at the rookie level, he’s gone 0-for-6 in stolen base attempts. Defensively this year, he didn’t make an error, logging 76 innings in left field and 39 in right.
Being overmatched at the rookie level is a bad sign. Morales is clearly not ready for action at even the Low-A level in 2023, for the Fayetteville Woodpeckers. If the Astros choose to work on him for another year, it will begin for him back at the rookie level.
Juan Ruddy Soto is a six-foot-two, 209 lb. right-handed relief pitcher from Tamboril, DR. Born on April 30, 2003, he signed with Houston on January 15, 2021. Six weeks later, the Astros assigned him to the DSL Astros at the rookie level.
Soto went 3-3 in five starts and eight relief appearances, with a 5.45 ERA and a 1.82 WHIP. Most of that WHIP is comprised of free passes, of which Soto gave up over one per inning through the season. He struck out more than he walked, however, so that’s a plus.
After a lateral promotion, the 2022 season would begin for Soto with the stateside rookie club, the FCL Astros Blue. He pitched to an 0-1 record with a 5.05 ERA, but lowered his walk rate to 7.4 over nine, with 34 walks and 48 whiffs in 41 1⁄3 innings. Opponents slashed just .222/.372/.361 against him, with four homers and eight stolen bases in 11 attempts. On a more positive note, Soto’s WHIP went down and his whiff-rate went up in each month of the FCL season. Still a teenager, Soto should begin the 2023 season either with FCL or the Woodpeckers.