We’re reviewing all 316 players to appear at any level of the Houston Astros system in 2022.
Josh James is a six-foot-three, 234 lb. right-handed pitcher from Hollywood, FL. Born on March 8, 1993, he was drafted by the Astros in 2014, with their 34th round selection. Taken off the board 1,006th overall, James was the fourth of now five players taken at that spot to make it to the majors. Craig Kimbrel leads the fraternity with a 21.8 WAR.
After signing to a deal that included a $15,000 bonus, James worked his way up through Houston’s system, making his major league debut in 2018. Prior to the 2022 season, he pitched in 73 contests for the Astros, going 8-1 with a 4.64 ERA. He started six times and came out of the bullpen on the other 67 appearances. In 106 2⁄3 innings, he walked 61 and struck out 158. That’s 13.3 K/9, with a 1.322 WHIP and an opposing slashline of .204/.323/.390.
James started the 2022 season at the Triple-A level with the Sugar Land Space Cowboys. On April 13, he pitched a perfect ninth inning, collecting one strikeout and his first save of the season in a 2-1 victory against the Round Rock Express. Through the first 10 weeks of the season, James appeared in 23 games for Sugar Land, walking 17 and striking out 22 in 21 1⁄3 innings. Opponents slashed .292/.402/.472 and saddled James with a 7.59 ERA and a 2.063 WHIP. After his appearance on June 15, he had to go on the injured list with a right lat strain.
On August 25 and 28, James started a pair of games for the Low-A Fayetteville Woodpeckers, striking out six over two perfect innings. Rehab complete, he rejoined Sugar Land. On August 31, he struck out the side and allowed one hit to earn a win in an 8-6 triumph against the Albuquerque Isotopes.
In total, James pitched 27 2⁄3 innings for Houston’s minor league teams, and finished the season with a 6.51 ERA with four saves. He whiffed 29 and walked 17. He didn’t get a chance to pitch for Houston through the entire season. The Astros didn’t extend James an offer by the deadline.
It’s unclear what James will do in the future, but I doubt the Astros resign him anytime soon.