On Thursday night, MLB Pipeline unveiled its top 100 prospects list, arguably the most respected one around the Major Leagues. As usual, we got to see who the best youngsters are right before the season gets underway. The bad news is that the list doesn’t include a single ballplayer from the Houston Astros.
Is this a reason to be worried? It could be, especially if you look beyond the next two years. This clearly tells us that the Astros don’t have as much MiLB talent as the other 29 organizations. Just to give you an idea, the Mariners have six of their prospects, the Orioles have five, and the Royals have four.
Back in 2019, the Astros finished the year with four prospects on the cited list: RHP Forrest Whitley, OF Kyle Tucker, OF Yordan Álvarez, and RHP Josh James. Now, they’re off the list as Whitley hasn’t been able to pitch at all since 2019 and the other three are already with the big-league team.
And that’s the positive aspect. The ‘Stros still have young, talented players on their MLB roster such as Yordan, Kyle, Framber Valdez, Luis García, etc. But still, they seem to be approaching a time where a farm system rebuild may be imminent, a stage that would definitely demand the best moves from GM James Click.
Why do I say this? Because the future of the team is partially in Click’s hands. The major executive has to figure things out to stay competitive while at the same time bringing quality young players aboard. The Astros can’t allow themselves to get old without thinking about feeding their farm system’s youth. But also, they can’t disappoint their fans with poor performances as it’s just not their culture.
Even without one of their players landing in the top 100 prospects list, the Astros can still enjoy a margin of error with interesting pieces to work with while they make moves to bring a couple of prospects aboard. Center-fielder Pedro León might be close to arriving at the MLB, the same with catcher Korey Lee, righty Hunter Brown, shortstop Jeremy Peña, and the eternally awaited Forrest Whitley.
And yes, the Astros do seem to have a penchant for developing talent to its maximum potential.
Still, either via the Int’l signing period or via trade, improving their farm should be among the Astros’ duties for the foreseeable future if they want to keep competing in the long run. From re-signing Carlos Correa to seeing who they want to extend next, Click has plenty of work to do.