Astros Prospects to Watch in Spring Training

Astros Prospects to Watch in Spring Training

Spring Training has officially started with the first game being played later today. I wanted to look at a few prospects to watch this spring, so I asked some of the contributors here at AstrosFuture.com to provide one prospect they were interested in seeing. Below is who we identified as prospect to watch…

Taylor Jones

Jones was drafted in the 19th round of the 2016 draft and after a rough 2017 season, he has put together two really good seasons in 2018 and 2019. Jones posted a .854 OPS with 18 HR in 2018 and followed that up with a .889 OPS and 22 HR in 2019 at AAA. He will be 26 this season, but has the ability to make an impact. Last year, the Astros utilized him at first base, third base, and left field, adding to his versatility and increasing his chance to make the big league club. I don’t think he will make the opening day roster, but he should make his MLB debut sometime this year, and he has the tools to stick. I want to see how he performs this spring as he should get plenty of time with the Astros and face off against MLB pitching. – Jimmy

Jeremy Pena

I’m excited to watch Jeremy Pena in Astros camp this year. Pena is the best pure shortstop in the system not on the major league roster, and he is probably ready right now to play in the big leagues from a defensive standpoint. Out of college he was considered one of the top defenders in all of the 2018 draft class and the Astros rewarded him with a 3rd round pick. The question, however, was the offense. Questions he answered last season when he slashed .303/.385/.440 with 28 extra-base hits and 20 stolen bases across 109 combined games for Quad Cities and Fayetteville. He has never played past A+ so the odds of him making his big league debut in 2020 are pretty low, but if he can swing the bat with any authority in camp with the Astros this spring and stays hot at AA then he should easily be a top-100 prospect by this time next year. – Stephen

Blake Taylor

Acquired along with Corona Kennedy from the Mets this offseason in the trade that sent Jake Marisnick to New York, Blake Taylor was originally a 2nd round pick (51st overall) of the Pittsburgh Pirates back in the 2013 first year players draft out of high school. A 6’3”, 24 year old left-handed reliever who only made the full time switch to the bullpen back in 2018, Taylor has a solid three pitch mix headlined by a 89-93 mph fastball that can touch 95-96 mph when needed, a 50 grade curveball, and a average to solid changeup. Developed as a starter for most of his career, Taylor has a measly 1.6 k/bb and 8.2 k/9 line for his career, however if you isolate his 2019 numbers you see a climb to 3.1 k/b and 10 k/9. Taylor isn’t a prototypical LOOGY, which is beneficial with the new three batter minimum rule coming into effect this year. He had solid numbers against both RHB and LHB. – Preston

Enoli Paredes

Enoli Paredes may not be the most well-known name on this list, but I expect Paredes to be a pleasant surprise this spring.  Paredes finished the 2019 season in Corpus Cristi, posting a 3.78 ERA while striking out 69 batters in 50 innings pitched.  Paredes’ fastball sits around 95-99 MPH, while his slider sits in the low 80’s. He isn’t the biggest of pitchers, but that doesn’t hold him back one bit. While many smaller frame guys automatically get penciled for the bullpen, Paredes has a legit chance to stick around as a starter. If Paredes can continue to build on his success from 2019, don’t be shocked to see Paredes move up to Round Rock. – Michael

Bryan Abreu

An international free agent signing by Houston in 2013, Abreu has made tremendous strides in his time in the Astros farm system en route to his major league debut last year. Despite his small sample size of 8.2 innings, Abreu struck out 13 batters displaying his electric stuff. His fastball sits at about 95 mph and has great swing and miss stuff. Pitching Coach Brett Strom has given Abreu high praise this spring saying that he, “can be an exceptional major league starting pitcher.” In 76.2 innings for Double A Corpus Cristi Abreu held a 5.05 ERA in 20 games pitched, but what stands out was his 101 strikeouts and his 11.86 K/9. With the fifth spot in the rotation open, the Astros will undoubtedly be shuffling through pitchers this spring to find candidates to fill that spot. Abreu has a very high ceiling with an electric arm. This spring will determine whether he begins his 2020 campaign on the major league staff or as a Triple A starter. – Leo

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**Photo Credit: Tammy Tucker**

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