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Oops! All Astros: Cesar Rojas & Ryan Gusto

Two minor league pitchers are featured in today’s Astros review.

Throughout the 2022-23 offseason, Crawfish Boxes will be reviewing every player to appear at any level of the Houston Astros system through this past season.

Cesar Rojas

Cesar Rojas is a six-foot-three, 162 lb. right-handed relief pitcher from San Cristobal, DR. Born on May 12, 2002, Rojas signed with the Astros on March 17, 2021.

Rojas didn’t get assigned to a specific affiliate until over a year later, when he joined the DSL Astros Orange on June 3. He has since appeared in 11 contests. In 11 23 innings with the rookie-level club, he’s walked 33 and thrown 11 wild pitches while striking out 13. He’s also given up 24 runs (18 earned) on 10 hits for a 13.89 ERA.

Rojas will begin the 2023 professional season already 21-years-of-age, and is unlikely to be retained in Houston’s system.

Ryan Gusto

Right-handed pitcher Ryan Gusto is a six-foot-four draftee out of Florida SouthWestern State College. Born on March 11, 1999, Charlotte, NC native Gusto was an 11th round selection of the Astros in 2019. Taken 346th overall off the board, he’d be the ninth player chosen at that spot of the draft if he gets to the major leagues.

Gusto signed with the Astros shortly after the draft for $421,699, and was initially assigned to the Tri-City ValleyCats in the now-defunct New York-Penn League. He totaled five games between the Cats and the Rookie-level GCL Astros, striking out 19 and walking seven in 14 23 innings. Gusto only surrendered six hits during that time for a .122 opposing batting average.

Gusto didn’t appear in another contest for the Astros until the 2022 campaign. Assigned to the Fayetteville Woodpeckers in Low-A to start the season, Gusto took four turns in the rotation and appeared once out of the bullpen for the birds. He struck out a batter-per-inning through 24 frames, while walking eight and allowing 15 hits for a sub-1 WHIP. His best game was on April 30, when he earned the victory after pitching six shutout innings, allowing one walk and two hits in a 2-1 win against the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers.

On May 10, Gusto got assigned up a level to the High-A Asheville Tourists. After walking four and striking out four in three innings of his debut on May 12, he went on the injured list for a few weeks.

Once Gusto returned, he surrendered an opposing slash line of .315/.370/.587/ and a 9.35 ERA over 43 13 innings. It was only through the last four games of the season with the Tourists that Gusto showed a little moxie, striking out 17 in 16 innings and holding opposing batters to a .175 average.

Gusto’s June and July were truly months to forget for him, but outside of that, he seems to be a pretty decent prospect with a fastball that tops out at 96 MPH. It looks like those two months were the exception rather than the rule, and with that in mind, Gusto could be on track to make an appearance with the Astros sometime in 2025.

Thanks for reading. Check back every day until spring training as we review two Houston Astros players daily.