We take a look at another pair of ballplayers from Houston’s system in 2022.
Fabricio Reina is a six-foot-three, 175 lb. right-handed reliever from Maracay, VZ. Born on February 26, 2000, he signed his first pro deal on a development deal with the Astros on March 22, 2017.
Reina played from his signing through the 2019 season at Houston’s assorted rookie-level clubs, posting a multi-season 6-12 record with a 6.71 ERA & a 1.76 WHIP. The 2021 season would see him promoted to the Low-A level with the Fayetteville Woodpeckers, for whom he went 3-4 with a 7.65 ERA and a 1.96 WHIP. He struck out 37 against 50 walks, hitting 13 batters and throwing 16 wild pitches in 42 1⁄3 innings.
Reina repeated a season with the Woodpeckers in 2022. His first three games would see him allow 11 earned runs in 3 2⁄3 innings, with six walks and six strikeouts.
After that inauspicious start, Reina seems to have turned a corner. In 23 innings following it, he racked up an opposing slash line of .163/.290/.188, with 24 strikeouts against 14 walks. He only hit two batters and allowed eight earned runs. On May 12, he whiffed five over 3 1⁄3 hitless innings, earning his first win of the season in a 7-2 victory against the Carolina Mudcats.
Regardless of his late-in-the-game progress, the Astros released Reina on August 12.
Waner Luciano is a six-foot-one, 170 lb. third baseman from Santo Domingo, DR. Born on January 13, 2005, he signed his first professional deal with the Astros earlier this year.
On June 18, in a 15-13 win against the Cleveland DSL Red squad, he hit a single, a double, and a triple, scoring twice and knocking two in. On August 6, he hit a double and a home run with four RBI in a 14-0 whitewashing of the DSL KC Stewart club.
Joker hasn’t even turned 18 yet, and he ranked second on the Astros Orange squad with 56 appearances. He slashed a line of .229/.383/.424 with six homers and 32 RBI. He also stole nine bases in 11 attempts, and drew a club-best 34 walks against only 42 whiffs in 222 plate appearances.
Luciano’s patience at the plate is truly beyond his years, and his utility at every infield position can’t be understated. Mostly a third baseman, Luciano also appeared 34 2⁄3 innings at first base, 30 innings at second base, and six innings at shortstop, all without an error. He played 355 2⁄3 innings at the hot corner, finishing with a .943 fielding percentage.
Although Luciano was punching above his weight in his first pro season, he’s likely still too raw to send to the named affiliates. Despite that, he’s a likely candidate for a lateral promotion to the stateside Florida Coast League, also at the rookie level.