Another chapter in our every-Astro series.
Heitor Tokar is a six-foot-six, 276 lb. right-handed pitcher from Marilla, Brazil. Born on October 25, 2000, Tokar signed with the Astros through free agency on July 2, 2017 for $300,000.
From 2018 through 2021, Tokar played with the rookie clubs and with the Low-A Fayetteville Woodpeckers. While playing for the Dominican Astros Blue in 2018, he ranked seventh in the circuit with a WHIP of 0.762.
In 2022, he made his High-A debut with the Asheville Tourists. Injured through the middle part of the season, Tokar managed to pitch in 20 games for Asheville, allowing opposing batters a slash line of .313/.376/.497. He gave up 13 home runs and walked 32 over 76 1⁄3 innings, striking out 64 along the way.
Tokar pitched to a 3-4 record and an 8.02 ERA, giving up a 1.755 WHIP and uncorking 18 wild pitches to boot. Despite that, he’s still pretty young, 22-years-old later this week, and should get another season to see what he’s got with the Tourists.
Zack Matthews is a six-foot, 205 lb. right-handed reliever from Edmond, OK. Born on January 31, 1999, he went undrafted out of the University of Oklahoma. He went under the knife for Tommy John surgery on January 1, 2020, and later signed with the Astros through free agency on June 19 that same year.
In 2021, Matthews made his professional debut with the FCL Astros at the rookie level, pitching 1 1⁄3 innings. He produced a more robust sample size with his performance in 2022.
Like a lot of undrafted collegiate sorts, Matthews strikes out a lot of batters and also struggles mightily with his control. He walked 26 in 26 2⁄3 innings in total, striking out 41 in the balance to finish with a 1.838 WHIP. Opponents hit .230/.409/.410 in 132 plate appearances, and stole a dozen bases without getting caught. He was at his best on August 27, in a 3-2 loss to the Charleston RiverDogs. Matthews pitched a perfect inning of relief in that game, striking out two.
Matthews has a way to go before reaching the majors, but he also has a decent amount of time to iron things out while he relearns to pitch following the TJS. Look for him back with Fayetteville to start out the 2023 season.