Who is Joey Loperfido?
If you’re invested in the Houston Astros minor league system even a tenth of how you’re invested in the Astros proper, you’ve probably noticed a certain outfielder/first baseman making some noise at Double-A Corpus Christi.
Joey Loperfido, Duke alum, still just 23, has started out the 2023 campaign in gangbusters style. In the past two weeks, he was promoted from the High-A Asheville Tourists to the Double-A Hooks, gone 22-for-46 with five home runs and 17 RBI, stolen six bases without getting caught, drawn eight walks (versus seven strikeouts), and provided sometimes highlight-reel level defense at second base. Oh, he also plays all three outfield positions as well as first base,
Loperfido was born on May 11, 1999 in Philadelphia, PA. Just a few years after that, he hit .317 in four seasons at Duke, with 18 home runs and 96 RBI, along with 41 steals in 53 attempts. That includes his “coming out” party his senior year, when he slashed .374/.474/.612 with eight jacks and 29 RBI. This resulted in increased draft stock that would see Houston choose him in the seventh round of the 2021 MLB Draft, 208th overall for a below-slot $72,500 bonus.
Joey Loperfido has been a beast this season. After a 3-hit performance with a HR today, he's now up to 10 XBH, 5 HR, and 4 SB in 12 G.— Eric Cross (@EricCross04) April 25, 2023
He's going to make a sizeable jump in my next prospect rankings.pic.twitter.com/dLBqok7Gf0
Lefty-hitting Loperfido didn’t come out blazing either. In his initial professional assignment to the Single-A Fayetteville Woodpeckers following the draft, he hit just .116 in 19 games. His 2022 campaign would be better. He hit .304/.399/.473 for the Peckers through his first 82 appearances of the season, with nine home runs, 45 RBI, and 30 stolen bases. Then promoted to Asheville, he raked to the tune of .354/.434/.552 with another three jacks and 24 RBI in 26 games.
This season Loperfido started with a 1-for-20 slump at Asheville, collecting just a double on April 13. After that ignoble start, something seemed to click for him. His final three games for the Tourists would see him collect four singles, a double, two triples, a homer, three stolen bases and three RBI while striking out only once. The front office thought it was time, and who are we to question them?
Since joining Corpus Christi, Loperfido has hit safely in all eight games, collecting multiple hits in half of them. Overall, he is 14-for-32 with two doubles and four homers, along with 14 RBI, eight walks, and three more stolen bases.
Last season opened with Loperfido entirely outside of MLB’s Prospect Pipeline. He’s currently 16th on that same list, where he has an overall scouting grade of 40. This, despite grading above 40 in all five tools (hit 50, power 45, run 55, arm 45, field 50).
A good athlete, Loperfido has solid speed and the instincts to use it to steal bases and cover ground in the outfield. - Pipeline
I’ve always thought Loperfido was graded a little low. When I saw the Woodpeckers play at Segra Stadium last season, there was no hype surrounding him, but when I saw him make a few shoestring catches and hit the ball with authority more often than not, I started to take note. I don’t think it’s out of the question to expect his ceiling to be somewhere around Christian Yelich’s peak years, and his floor to be somewhere in the neighborhood of Josh Reddick’s Astros years.
MLB Pipeline predicts his arrival time in Houston sometime during the 2024 campaign, but if he keeps playing like this, he may just beat that prediction this year.