Houston Astros Top 10 Prospects (Mid-Season Update)
Now that the trade deadline has passed, and the season is more than half way over, we will re-rank our top 30 prospects. Here is the new top 10!
10. Rogelio Armenteros, RHP
Current Level: AAA
Armenteros was signed for just $40,000 in late 2014 out of Cuba. After making his stateside debut in 2015 and going 3-2 with 61 K in 61 innings, he has established himself as a legit pitching prospect. Armenteros finished 2016 leading the Astros minor league system in strikeouts with 140 K in 127.1 innings pitching with Quad Cities, Lancaster, and Corpus Christi. Armenteros continued his dominance this season posting a 1.96 ERA with 74 K in 65.1 innings in AA before being promoted to AAA. He has succeeded there as well with a 2.86 ERA and 32 K in 28.1 innings in 5 starts. He has a low to mid 90s fastball and a plethora of off-speed pitches with his curveball probably being his best. He does a good job mixing things up and keeping hitters off balance.
2017 Stats: 7-3, 2.21 ERA, 93.2 IP, 73 H, 29 BB, 106 K, 10.2 K/9
9. Daz Cameron, OF
Current Level: A
Cameron was the 37th overall pick in 2015. He showed off his tools in his first season stealing 24 bases in 51 games. Cameron started the 2016 season with Quad Cities but struggled early hitting just .143 in 21 games. Unfortunately, he season ended after being hit by a pitch breaking his left index finger. Cameron started 2017 slow as well but really turned it on in June and has turned in a solid season now. He is well built at 6’2″ and 185 lbs. He has very good speed but is a good center field defender due to his reads and reactions. He also projects to have at least average power. Cameron is still just 20 years old.
2017 Stats: 93 G, .241 BA/.317 OBP/.436 SLG, 20 2B, 7 3B, 11 HR, 55 RBI, 22 SB, 32 BB/93 SO
8. Colin Moran, 3B
Current Level: AAA
Moran was originally drafted by the Marlins with the 6th pick in the 2013 draft. At the time, Moran was seen as one of the best college hitters available and a guy expected to move fast. In the summer of 2014, Moran was traded to Houston as part of the Cosart trad.. Unfortunately he didn’t have a great 2016 season hitting just .259 with 18 2B and 10 HR in AAA. Moran did get 23 at bats with Houston but had just 3 hits and 2 RBI. He turned things around in 2017 though and hit .308 with 18 HR in 79 games for Fresno earning him another trip to Houston. It started well but in his 2nd game he fouled a pitch off his face and had to have facial surgery. Unfortunately, he will be missing some time.
2017 Stats: 40 G, .212 BA/.287 OBP/.321 SLG, 5 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 20 RBI, 12 SB, 14 BB/59 SO
7. David Paulino, RHP
Current Level: MLB
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 is still young and has a very high ceiling.
2017 Stats: 2-0, 6.52 ERA, 29.0 IP, 36 H, 7 BB, 34 K, 10.6 K/9
6. Yordan Alvarez, LF
Current Level: A+
Alvarez was signed by the Dodgers as an international free agent for $2 million on June 16th, 2016 and later traded to the Astros for Josh Fields. The Cuban prospect was seen as a potential high reward player. Alvarez has a strong, lean build and some scouts have noted that he is now up to 6’5″ and 220 lbs. He has a simple left handed swing but doesn’t generate much power yet due to his swing path. Scouts say that he flashes average to above average power at workouts, it just hasn’t shown up in the game. This season he dominated in Quad Cities hitting .360 with 9 HR, 33 RBI in 32 games. He was promoted to Buies Creek where he has continued to produce at just 19 years old. He has played the majority of the time in left field this year.
2017 Stats: 60 G, .308 BA/.402 OBP/.523 SLG, 12 2B, 10 HR, 49 RBI, 37 BB/59 SO
5. J.B. Bukauskas, RHP
Current Level: A-
Bukauskas was selected by the Astros with the 15th pick in the 2017 draft. He had a very good junior year posting a 2.53 ERA with 116 K in 92.2 innings. This led many to believe he would be a top 10 pick but he slid a bit and the Astros were able to get a steal with him at 15. He has a plus fastball which sits mid-90s with sink. He also possesses a plus slider which some scouts feel is already MLB ready. The only knock on JB was size (5’11”) but his combination of plus fastball and plus slider should allow him to succeed as either a starter or reliever down the road.
2017 Stats: N/A
4. Franklin Perez, RHP
Current Level: AA
The Astros signed Perez in 2014 at just 16 years old. In 2016, at just 18 years old, Perez made his full season debut with Quad Cities proving why the Astros signed him. He had a 2.84 ERA with 19 BB/75 K in 66.2 IP. While Perez doesn’t have the high 90s fastball, he works it 92-94 MPH (touching 95) while mixing in solid offspeed pitches (curveball, changeup) with the changeup being the best. He has very advanced pitchability for his age. He is very athletic and has a good build for a starter as well. Perez started the 2017 season in Buies Creek and pitched well striking out 53 in 54.1 innings with a 2.98 ERA. He was promoted to AA and has made 3 appearances at just 19 years old.
2017 Stats: 5-3, 3.39 ERA, 66.1 IP, 54 H, 22 BB, 61 K, 8.3 K/9
3. Forrest Whitley, RHP
Current Level: AA
Whitley was drafted by the Astros with the 17th overall pick in the 2016 draft. Whitley is very big, listed at 6’7″ and 240 lbs, but exhibits very good body control and a repeatable delivery on the mound. Whitley pitched 18.2 innings following the draft with an impressive 6 BB/26 K ratio. Whitley has a mid 90s fastball and at just 19 years old already possesses a very good chanegup and slider. He started the season with Quad Cities and was very good posting a 2.91 ERA with 21 BB/67 K in 46.1 innings. He was promoted to High-A and has been even better with 6 BB/43 K in 27.1 innings with a 2.96 ERA. His stock has probably gone up more than anyone in the system and should be a sure fire top 50 prospect.
2017 Stats: 5-4, 2.93 ERA, 73.2 IP, 64 H, 27 BB, 110 K, 13.4 K/9, 4.07 K/BB
2. Derek Fisher, OF
Current Level: MLB
Fisher was drafted by the Astros in the supplemental round (37th overall) in 2014. He has one of the highest ceilings in the Astros system with a solid power/speed combination. After posting a very good 2015, Fisher followed it up with a solid 2016 campaign making his way to AAA. He finished with 21 HR and 28 SB while posting a .367 OBP between AA/AAA. Fisher made improvements over the off-season bringing his strikeout percentage down to 19.3% in AAA. In 84 games with Fresno he hit .318 with 21 HR and 16 SB. Fisher is another outfield prospect with great power/speed potential. Fisher is now with Houston and appears to have an outfield spot locked down.
2017 Stats: 84 G, .318 BA/.384 OBP/.583 SLG, 26 2B, 21 HR, 66 RBI, 16 SB (AAA)
1. Kyle Tucker, OF
Current Level: AA
Most Astros fans knew the name “Tucker” prior to the 2015 draft thanks to Kyle’s older brother Preston. Kyle was the #5 overall pick in 2015 and has easily justified the draft position. Coming out of the draft, Tucker was seen as one of the purest high school hitters available. He made his full season debut in 2016 and hit .285 with 25 2B, 9 HR, 69 RBI between A/A+. The only thing left to be desired was more power from him and that has been on display in 2017. He started the season in High-A and hit .288 with 9 HR before being promoted to Corpus. In AA he has hit .279 with 9 HR in 44 games. Tucker has a pure swing and solid speed. Some profile him as a corner outfielder but he has the bat to play either way. At just 20 years old, he still has plenty of room to grow and could add more power. Tucker should be a top 10-20 prospect in baseball at the end of the season.
2017 Stats: 92 G, .284 BA/.360 OBP/.534 SLG, 25 2B, 5 3B, 18 HR, 69 RBI, 20 SB
**Photo Credit: Tammy Tucker**