Houston Astros Top 30 Prospects for 2018 (Mid-Season Update)

Houston Astros Top 30 for 2018 Prospects (Mid-Season Update)

Now that the draft is finished and the Astros have injected the system with more talent, its time to update the Astros top 30 prospects. There are definitely some prospects who have gone up and down since the beginning of the season.

1. Forrest Whitley, RHP

Current Level: AA
ETA: 2019
DOB: 09/15/97

Whitley was the Astros first round pick in 2016 and he has rocketed through the Astros system. Whitley put together a dominant 2017 in which he had a 2.83 ERA with 143 K in 92.1 innings over 3 different levels. Whitley has a mid 90s fastball with multiple plus off-speed offerings. Baseball America rated Whitley’s slider and changeup as the best in the Astros system. He came back from his suspension this season and started well. He left his last start early with an injury, though there hasn’t been a real update yet.

2018 Stats: 6 G, 4.29 ERA, 21.0 IP, 14 H, 10 ER, 8 BB, 30 K

2. Kyle Tucker, OF

Current Level: MLB
ETA: 2018
DOB: 01/17/97

Tucker has flown through the system since being the #5 overall pick in 2015. In 2017 he had a very good year clubbing 25 HR with a 141 wRC+ as a 20 year old reaching AA. Tucker started the season a bit slow but really caught fire. He was hitting .306 with 24 2B, 14 HR, 66 RBI in 80 games before he was called up to the Astros. Tucker is still very young at just 21 years old and should be a staple in the middle of the lineup for years to come.

2018 Stats: 80 G, .306 BA/.891 OPS, 24 2B, 14 HR, 66 RBI, 14 SB

3. Yordan Alvarez, 1B

Current Level: AAA
ETA: 2019
DOB: 06/27/97

Alvarez was acquired in a deadline deal that sent Josh Fields to Los Angeles. He was a breakout prospect last year reaching High-A at just 19 years old. The Astros were aggressive with him this season starting him at AA and he responded well. Alvarez hit .325 with 13 2B, 12 HR, 46 RBI in 43 AA games. He was recently promoted to AAA. Alvarez has plus power and a good understanding of the strike zone.

2018 Stats: 46 G, .311 BA/.962 OPS, 14 2B, 12 HR, 46 RBI, 5 SB

4. Cionel Perez, LHP

Current Level: AA
ETA: 2018
DOB: 04/21/96

Perez originally agreed to a deal with the Astros worth $5.15 million but the deal was voided due to a physical. Perez was later signed for $2 million. He made his debut in 2017 and posted a 4.13 ERA across three different levels. Perez started this year out in AA and has been dominant striking out 83 in 68.1 innings. Perez has a 95-97 MPH and a low to mid 80s slider. The Astros called him up for a few days but he was sent back down. He will be up again this year.

2018 Stats: 1.98 ERA, 68.1 IP, 54 H, 22 BB, 83 K, 10.9 K/9

5. Seth Beer, OF

Current Level: A
ETA: 2019
DOB: 09/18/96

Beer was the Astros first round selection this season (#28 overall) after dominating college baseball for three straight seasons. In his college career he hit .321 with a .489 OBP, 56 HR, 180 BB/98 K in 188 games. He fell in the draft because scouts questioned where he would play and if he could hit with wood bats. He has proved them wrong so far as he is hitting .357 with 5 HR, 17 RBI in 23 games.

2018 Stats: 23 G, .357 BA, 6 2B, 5 HR, 17 RBI

6. J.B. Bukauskas, RHP

Current Level: A-
ETA: 2020
DOB: 10/11/96

Bukauskas was the Astros first round pick in 2017 out of the University of North Carolina. JB had a very good college career posting a 3.18 ERA over 3 seasons. In his junior season he went 9-1 with a 2.53 ERA and 116 K in 92.2 innings. Bukauskas only pitched 10 innings in the Astros system following the draft. Bukauskas features a plus fastball and an elite slider. He has struggled with some minor injuries in 2018 but it looks like he is back and nearly 100%.

2018 Stats: 5 G, 5.11 ERA, 12.1 IP, 16 H, 6 BB, 16 K

7. Freudis Nova, SS

Current Level: Rookie
ETA: 2021
DOB: 01/12/00

Nova was a big signing by the Astros in 2016 when he signed for $1.2 million. Nova was seen as one of the best prospects of the 2016 international group. Nova played in 47 games in the DSL in 2017 slashing .247/.342/.355 at 17 years old good for a 110 wRC+. Nova is very gifted defensively and has a ton of upside with the bat. Scouts have noted his exceptional bat speed and consistent hard contact. He has got out to a hot start hitting .339 in 17 games this season.

2018 Stats: 17 G, .339 BA/.839 OPS, 2 2B, 2 HR, 12 RBI

8. Corbin Martin, RHP

Current Level: AA
ETA: 2019
DOB: 12/28/95

Martin was drafted out of Texas A&M in 2017. Martin was a very interesting pick as many scouts were torn on him and where he would go in the draft. He struggled with command at times leading some to think he will be a reliever. He pitched well as a starter for the Astros though this year posting a 2.20 ERA with 9 BB/43 K in 32.2 innings. He has a mid to high 90s fastball but dialed it down a bit as a starter. His curveball is a plus off-speed offering and is more of a power type curve. He has dominated this season posting a 1.73 ERA in 73 innings making it to AA.

2018 Stats: 16 G, 1.73 ERA, 73.0 IP, 44 H, 14 ER, 20 BB, 68 K

9. Rogelio Armenteros, RHP

Current Level: AAA
ETA: 2018
DOB: 06/30/94

Armenteros was originally signed out of Cuba for just $40,000. He started this season out in Corpus Christ and made quick work of Double-A posting a 1.93 ERA (2.61 FIP) with 74 K in 65.1 innings. He was promoted to Triple-A where he went 8-1 with a 2.16 ERA (3.45 FIP) and 72 K in 58.1 innings over 10 starts. Armenteros has a low 90s fastball and a good changeup. Armenteros has spent the entire 2018 season in AAA and has continued to pitch well posting a 3.28 ERA with 78 K in 74 innings.

2018 Stats: 14 G, 3.28 ERA, 74.0 IP, 66 H, 25 BB, 78 K

10. Jorge Alcala, RHP

Current Level: AA
ETA: 2020
DOB: 07/28/95

Alcala has been in the Astros system since 2015 and has steadily made his way up the ladder. He had a good 2017 season with a 3.05 ERA. While his walk and strikeouts rates weren’t great, he was nearly unhittable all season allowing just 71 hits in 109.1 innings, good for a .184 batting average against. Alcala has a 98-100 MPH fastball, touching 102. He will have to harness his stuff but he has a ton of upside. Alcala made quick work of High-A and moved to AA early on this season. He has pitched well with 69 K in 64.2 innings and a 2.92 ERA.

2018 Stats: 14 G, 2.92 ERA, 64.2 IP, 45 H, 21 ER, 30 BB, 69 K

11. David Paulino, RHP

Current Level: AAA
ETA: 2018
DOB: 02/06/94

Paulino was the PTBNL in the trade that sent Veras to Detroit. He missed all of 2014 due to TJ Surgery but has made a resurgence since. He pitched well in 2016 and was eventually called up to the Astros where he pitched just 7 innings. Paulino mixes a mid 90s fastball with a big curveball. Paulino made 3 starts for Fresno before rejoining Houston in 2017. He showed flashes of potential but unfortunately was suspended for 80 games due to a positive test for PEDs. He has struggled with injuries this year but still has room to keep growing.

2018 Stats: 5 G, 5.14 ERA, 21.0 IP, 19 H, 5 BB, 28 K

12. Joe Perez, 3B

Current Level: Rookie
ETA: 2021
DOB: 08/12/99

Joe Perez was the Astros 2nd round pick (53rd overall) in 2017. He was highly thought of as a starting pitcher but it was known he would need Tommy John surgery. However, the Astros drafted him as a third baseman. As an hitter, he possesses huge power and is a good enough athlete that he should stay at third. Perez did indeed have surgery right after signing with the Astros but has came back and played in a few games this season.

2018 Stats:  4 G, .364 BA (4-for-11), 3 BB/1 SO, SB

13. Hector Perez , RHP

Current Level: A+
ETA: 2020
DOB: 06/06/96

Perez was signed by the Astros in 2014 out of the Dominican Republic. He has good stuff but has yet to really harness it. He had a solid season overall in 2017 but also had 67 walks in 89.1 innings, good for 6.8 BB/9. Perez has a power fastball sitting in the mid to upper 90s and a very good slider. He also has a curveball and changeup, though they aren’t dominant yet. Perez has been solid this year but the walks are still a problem has he has walked 40 in 72.2 innings this season.

2018 Stats: 15 G, 3.84 ERA (3.79 FIP), 72.2 IP, 50 H, 31 ER, 40 BB, 83 K

14. Jairo Solis, RHP

Current Level: A
ETA: 2021
DOB: 12/22/99

Solis kind of popped up out of nowhere last season. He was signed by the Astros for $450,000 in 2016 out of Venezuela. He made his debut in the Dominican Summer League and had a 2.73 ERA with 8 BB/28 K in 26.1 IP.  The Astros aggressively promoted him stateside at just 17 and he finished with a 2.64 ERA and 69 K in 61.1 innings. Right now his fastball is around 93-94, touching 96, but could still see more velocity as he matures. He also has a slider that could be plus and is a very good athlete on the mound. This year has been a bit tougher for him but he has started pitching better of late and is also in full season baseball at just 18 years old.

2018 Season Stats: 8 G, 3.00 ERA, 27.0 IP, 22 H, 9 ER, 22 BB, 27 K

15. Myles Straw, OF

Current Level: AAA
ETA: 2018
DOB: 10/17/94

Straw had a breakout prospect in 2016 when he hit .374 in 68 games for Quad Cities (.358 overall). Straw continued his hotting for 2017 hitting .290 with .405 OBP between high-a and AA. He also had 94 BB/79 K in 127 games with 38 SB. Straw is one of the fastest runners in the Astros system and has improved his base stealing as he is 48 of 55 in steals this year in 87 games. He started the season in AA but was promoted to AAA after 65 games. Overall he is hitting .322 with .414 OBP. He is good defensively and should be able to stick in center field with his mix of speed and defense.

2018 Stats: 87 G, .322 BA/.810 OPS, 12 2B, 5 3B, HR, 20 RBI, 48 SB

16. Gilberto Celestino, OF

Current Level: A-
ETA: 2021
DOB: 02/13/99

The Astros signed Celestino for $2.5 million back in 2015 and was the #7 international prospect that year according to MLB. Celestino is very athletic and a good defender in CF. In 2017 he played for the Greeneville Astros and hit .262 but showed some of his offensive tools with 10 2B, 4 HR in 59 games. Baseball America rated Celestino’s arm as the best defensive arm in the Astros system. He has above average tools in his arm, speed, and glove (BP) and while he doesn’t have a ton of power, he still has room to grow. He was assigned to Tri-City this season and has hit well batting .333 in 25 games,

2018 Stats: 25 G, .333 BA/.890 OPS, 6 2B, 3 HR, 18 RBI, 13 SB

17. Cristian Javier, RHP

Current Level: A+
ETA: 2020
DOB: 03/26/97

Javier is a bit of an unknown in the Astros system but he has been dominant over his brief career. His first year in the Astros system, 2015, he had a 2.13 ERA in the DSL. In 2016 between the GCL and Greeneville he had a 2.29 ERA. Javier followed that up with a very good 2017 season with a 2.25 ERA and 80 K in 60 innings. His stuff is good but has an advanced pitchability that allows him to dominate at the lower levels. He has been absolutely dominant in 2018 striking out 100 in 72.2 innings with a 1.61 ERA.

2018 Stats: 15 G, 1.61 ERA, 72.2 IP, 40 H, 13 ER, 31 BB, 100 K

18. Riley Ferrell, RHP

Current Level: AAA
ETA: 2019
DOB: 10/18/93

Ferrell was a 3rd round selection of the Astros in the 2015 draft out of TCU after dominating there for 3 seasons. Early into his 2016 season, Ferrell had surgery to remove an aneurysm in his throwing shoulder ending his season. Ferrell has a mid to high 90s fastball and a mid 80s slider. Ferrell could see time in Houston this year if he performs well in the minors and a spot opens up. Ferrell started the year slow but really dominated during May and June before being promoted to AAA.

2018 Season Stats: 24 G, 2.70 ERA, 26.2 IP, 20 H, 8 ER, 19 BB, 36 K

19. Garrett Stubbs, C

Current Level: AAA
ETA: 2019
DOB: 05/26/93

Stubbs was drafted by the Astros out of USC in 2015. He was known as a great defender but has really made good strides with the bat all the way up to 2017. Stubbs put together a breakout 2016 season which saw him slash .304/.391/.469 with 10 HR, 15 SB in 84 games between A+/AA.  Stubbs had a down 2017 hitting just .232 but has rebounded nicely hitting .337 in 51 AAA games this season.

2018 Stats: 51 G, .337 BA/.880 OPS, 12 2B, 4 3B, 2 HR, 19 RBI, 5 SB

20. J.J. Matijevic, OF

Current Level: A+
ETA: 2020
DOB: 11/14/95

The Astros selected Matijevic 75th overall (2nd round) in the 2017 draft. Matijevic destroyed the Pac12 during his junior season hitting .383 with 30 2B, 10 HR, 65 RBI for the University of Arizona. The only problem was scouts weren’t sure where he would end up in the field with the two options being second base of left field. Matijevic has played primarliy outfield this season and has hit well posting a .907 OPS with 28 XBH in 55 games.

2018 Stats: 55 G, .300 BA/.907 OPS, 14 2B, 4 3B, 10 HR, 25 RBI, 8 SB

21. Patrick Sandoval, LHP

Current Level: A+
ETA: 2020
DOB: 10/18/96

Sandoval was drafted by the Astros was drafted in the 11th round of the 2015 draft. He pitched in rookie leagues for the first two seasons before making his full season debut last in 2017. He was solid striking out 78 in 61.2 innings with a 4.09 ERA. He has dominated 2018 though posting a 2.19 ERA with 11 BB/83 K in 74 innings. He has a low 90s fastball and is only 21 years old.

2018 Stats: 16 G, 2.19 ERA, 74.0 IP, 61 H, 11 BB, 83 K

22. Jayson Schroeder, RHP

Current Level: Rookie
ETA: 2022
DOB: 11/14/99

Schroeder was the Astros second round pick this year. Schroeder was ranked in the top 100 prospects both by Baseball America (72nd overall ranking) and by MLB.com (98th overall ranking) and has consistently been sitting in the 92-93 mile per hour range on his fastball with good power and sink. Baseball America considers his secondary offerings to be a bit fringe currently, though it is believed that his arm slot and feel for spin (surely an attractive quality from the spin-happy Astros’ perspective) will lend itself well to a power slider as he matures.

2018 Stats: N/A

23. Abraham Toro, 3B

Current Level: AA
ETA: 2020
DOB: 12/20/96

Toro-Hernandez was drafted by the Astros with the 5th round pick in the 2016 draft. Toro made his full season in 2017 and had a 149 wRC+ with 14.0 BB% and 17.8 K%. He started this season in Buies Creek and continued to post solid numbers earning a promotion to AA. Overall he is hitting .265 with 23 2B and 15 HR in 87 games. He is also a switch hitter.

2018 Stats: 87 G, .265 BA/.854 OPS, 23 2B, 15 HR, 65 RBI, 5 SB

24. Josh James, RHP

Current Level: AAA
ETA: 2019
DOB: 03/08/93

James was drafted in the 34th round of the 2014 draft out of Western Oklahoma State College. The Astros saw something though that influenced them to take him after posting subpar numbers his junior seasons. He has worked his way through the minors improving at each level. Last year in Corpus he posted a 4.38 ERA with 8.5 K/9. So far in 2018, he has seen an uptick in his stuff with his fastball in the high 90s. He has dominated AA and AAA posting a combined 3.13 ERA with 116 K in 74.2 innings.

2018 Stats: 15 G, 3.13 ERA (3.14 FIP), 74.2 IP, 51 H, 26 ER, 34 BB, 116 K

25. Framber Valdez, LHP

Current Level: AA
ETA: 2019
DOB: 11/19/93

Valdez was signed by the Astros in March 2015. It didn’t take him long to debut as he tossed 36.2 innings for the DSL Astros that same summer. Valdez is a lefty from the Dominican Republic that gained some traction after his 2016 season and his performance in Spring Training in 2017. In 2017 he had 126 K in 110.1 IP. He has a low to mid 90s 2 seam fastball which helps generate a ton of ground balls. He also has a good curveball and changeup. While the ERA is up this year, he has struck out 85 in 74.1 innings.

2018 Stats: 16 G, 4.60 ERA, 74.1 IP, 77 H, 23 BB, 85 K

26. Josh Rojas, 3B

Current Level: AA
ETA: 2020
DOB: 06/30/94

Rojas was drafted in the 26th round of the 2017 draft but has already been a quick riser making it to Double-A baseball in less than a year. He is a utility guy who can play all over the field and has good strike zone discipline, with some sneaky pop too. His final year in college he hit .294 with 28 BB/19 K. In 2017 following the draft he hit .256 with 10 HR and 40 RBI in 52 games for Quad Cities. This year he has dominated two levels posting phenomenal walk and strikeout rates, increasing his stolen base production, and collecting 38 XBHs in 83 games.

2018 Stats: 83 G, .280 BA/.820 OPS, 26 2B, 5 3B, 7 HR, 41 RBI, 24 SB

27. Ronnie Dawson, OF

Current Level: A+
ETA: 2021
DOB: 05/19/95

Dawson was a 2nd round pick out of Ohio State in 2016. After dominating his junior year in college many expected him to be a fast mover in the system. Unfortunately, his 2017 season started very slow hitting just .217 with 5 HR in the 61 first half games (89 wRC+). He really turned it up in the second half though hitting .330 with 11 2B, 9 HR in 55 second half games (169 wRC+) with Quad Cities before being promoted to A+. He has had a slow 2018 season hitting just .247 in 75 games.

2018 Stats: 75 G, .247 BA/.730 OPS, 14 2B, 8 HR, 42 RBI, 24 SB

28. Tyler Ivey, RHP

Current Level: A+
ETA: 2021
DOB: 05/12/96

Ivey was the Astros third round pick in the 2017 draft. He has prototypical size and a low 90s fastball with a solid mix of off-speed pitches. He has been solid this year posting a 3.52 ERA with 18 BB/84 K in 71.2 innings.

2018 Stats: 16 G, 3.52 ERA, 71.2 IP, 59 H, 18 BB, 84 K

29. Brandon Bielak, RHP

Current Level: AA
ETA: 2020
DOB: 04/02/96

Bielak was the Astros 11th round pick in 2017 and has dominated in his short minor league career. Overall he has 27 BB/126 K in 100.2 innings with a 1.43 ERA. He has moved fast through the system and is already in AA where he has yet to allow a run in 11.1 innings.

2018 Stats: 16 G, 1.75 ERA, 67 IP, 51 H, 22 BB, 84 K

30. Jonathan Arauz, SS

Current Level: A+
ETA: 2021
DOB: 08/03/98

Astros acquired Arauz from the Phillies as a add on piece in the Ken Giles trade. While Arauz doesn’t have one stand out tool, he is solid across the board. Arauz split time between Tri-City and Quad Cities at 18 years old in 2017 and held his own. This year he started well in Quad Cities and has since been promoted to Buies Creek.

2018 Stats: 80 G, .261 BA/.747 OPS, 14 2B, 6 3B, 6 HR, 34 RBI, 7 SB

Astros Minor League Recap: July 10th
Astros Minor League Recap: July 9th