Now that 2022 is here, it is time to start looking at the top three prospects at each position as we lead up to the Astros top 30 prospect list. With these rankings, I will focus on prospects who primarily played this position. This week I will be looking into the second base position.
Previous Top Three:
1. Enmanuel Valdez (AA)
Valdez has been in the Astros system since 2016 but finally had his breakout year in 2021. The left handed hitter started the year in High-A and hit .254 but had 21 HR and 72 RBI in 75 games. He was promoted to Double-A and hit .256 with a .880 OPS and another 5 HR. Overall he had 26 HR, 90 RBI this season which led the Astros minor league system. He has a stocky build at 5-9, 190 lbs and a swing with a lot of loft allowing him to drive it well. He will need to walk a bit more, but he is still only 23 years old.
2021 Stats: 98 G, .255 BA/.326 OBP/.534 SLG, 22 2B, 1 3B, 26 HR, 90 RBI, 5 SB, 122 wRC+
2. David Hensley (AA)
Hensley was a 26th round pick by the Astros in 2018 but has already defied the odds putting together a solid season playing all over the infield. He played 46 games at 2nd, 35 at SS and 17 at third base. In 2021 Hensley hit .293 with .808 OPS and 25 2B in 105 games in. Double-A. While he doesn’t have a ton of power, he still had a .439 SLG and 37 XBH in 105 games. He was 25 in 2021 but has the ability to be a utility guy at the big league level.
2021 Stats: 105 G, .293 BA/.369 OBP/.439 SLG, 25 2B, 3 3B, 9 HR, 51 RBI, 11 SB, 118 wRC+
3. Kobe Kato (A)
Kato was a 13th round pick by the Astros in the 2021 draft out of the University of Arizona. In his debut season played in 31 games in Low-A and hit .242 but had a .405 OBP with a 20.7 BB%. He didn’t show much power, just like college, but had an impressive 24 BB/16 SO ratio in those 31 games. Kato has incredible plate discipline and is a threat to steal bases as well. 2022 will be a good challenge for him as he gets a full season to show what he can do. You can read my interview with him here.
2021 Stats: 31 G, .242 BA/.405 OBP/.341 SLG, 3 2B, 2 HR, 14 RBI, 3 SB, 119 wRC+