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Houston Astros Top 30 Prospects For 2022 (Mid-Season Update)

The All-Star break, the MLB Draft, and the trade deadline have all passed now. While the Astros shipped out a few prospects in some deadline deals, they also added a nice bank of talent during the 2022 MLB Draft. Let’s take a look at my updated top 30 (and a few more) Astros prospects.

1. Hunter Brown, RHP

Level: Triple-A DOB: 08/29/98

Brown was drafted by the Astros in the 5th round of the 2019 draft out of Wayne State University. Brown runs his fastball up to 99 MPH (despite throwing mid 80s in high school) and has shown the ability to maintain his velocity in multiple innings. He also possesses a big breaking curveball and sharp slider, which both flash above average. He even ran his slider up to 95 MPH this season. Brown has the most upside in the system and all the makings to be a top of the rotation starter. He has a great pitcher’s build and has had success going deeper into games this season. Brown has spend the full season at Triple-A in 2022. You can read more about him here.

2. Yainer Diaz, C

Level: Triple-A DOB: 09/21/98

Diaz was acquired this season from the Indians in the trade that sent Myles Straw to Cleveland. He has hit well at every stop in this minor league career and had his best season in 2021 where he hit .324 with 25 2B, 17 HR in 98 games. Diaz is a bat first catching prospect who has proven his ability with the bat where ever he has been assigned. Diaz has a good command of the strike zone and rarely strikes out. He has plus power and has shown the ability to drive the ball the other way at a high rate. Behind the plate he has some work to do but has solid arm strength for the position.

3. Drew Gilbert, OF

Level: Single-A DOB: 09/27/00

Drew Gilbert was drafted by the Astros in the first round of the 2022 draft, the Astros first first round selection since 2019. Gilbert is a spark plug of a player, but don’t let that take away from his skillset either. The lefty possesses really good hand-eye coordination which allows him to consistently barrel baseballs. He also flashes some power which could see him as a 20 HR guy in the bigs. Gilbert has plus speed which he uses to his advantage on the bases and also in center field. He is currently a center field and projects to stay there at the big league level. As a junior at Tennessee, the lefty .362 with 21 2B, 11 HR, 70 RBI in 58 games. He is a fiery competitor and leaves it all out on the field.

4. Pedro Leon, OF

Level: Triple-A DOB: 05/28/98

The Astros were rumored to be the favorites for Leon for quite a while but COVID threw a wrench in the plans. He was eventually signed in January of 2021 for $4 million. He has a short and compact swing with power to all fields. He also possesses an above-average arm in the outfield and is a plus runner on the bases. At the signing, James Click referred to him as a true five tool prospect and he has shown that this year. The Astros have used him at SS, and so far the reports have been up and down. While he has some swing and miss to his game, he has been able to get on base and still hit for power too. Leon has the potential to be an impact player at the MLB level and he has shown it already in the minors with the power and speed combination.

5. Colin Barber, OF

Level: High-A DOB: 12/04/00

Barber was drafted in the 4th round of high school in the 2019 draft. He signed for $1 million, which was almost $600k over slot. Barber has very good bat speed and possesses above-average raw power and plus speed to keep him as a potential center fielder. In 2021, he started the year in High-A before having season ending shoulder surgery. This year he went back to High-A and has shown off with the bat posting an OPS of nearly .900. He has a patient approach at the plate and the ability to hit the ball all over the park. Baseball America said his work ethic has been rivaled to that of Alex Bregman‘s from within the organization.

6. Korey Lee, C

Level: Triple-A DOB: 07/25/98

Lee was the Astros first round pick in 2019 out of California. Lee is a strong athlete with a strong lower half and shows solid across the board defensive skills and above average arm strength, projecting as a solid average catcher at the highest level. With the bat, Lee has shown the ability to drive the ball to the pull side at a high rate. Lee projects as a potential 20+ home run threat down the line. With the ability to hit for average and get on base from the backstop position, this gives Lee a strong shot to be a future plus at catcher. Read more on Lee here.

7. Joe Perez, 3B

Level: Double-A DOB: 08/12/99

Joe Perez was THE breakout prospect of the 2021 season. The former 2nd round pick dealt with some injuries early in his career but was healthy in 2021 and it showed. He ended up playing across three different levels hitting .291 with a .849 OPS and a 125 wRC+. Overall he had 34 2B, 18 HR in 106 games. Perez showed plus power to all fields and after an adjustment period in Double-A, he held up well against competition well above his age. He is still improving defensively but has more than enough arm to make all the throws at third. The Astros have also experimented with him in the corner outfield spots. Read more on Perez here.

8. Jacob Melton, OF

Level: Single-A DOB: 09/07/00

Melton was drafted by the Astros in the 2nd round of the 2022 draft out of Oregon State. Melton had a standout junior year in college slashing .360/.424/.671 with 22 2B, 17 HR, 21 SB as he earned Pac-12 player of the year honors. Melton is a left handed swinging outfielder who stands at 6’3″ and 210 lbs. Melton has an advanced approach at the plate and has above average power with the potential to be plus as he also makes a lot of contact. The lefty is a plus runner on the bases and in the outfield and should stick in center field defensively.

9. Ryan Clifford, OF

Level: Rookie DOB: 07/20/03

The Astros drafted Clifford in the 11th round of the 2022 draft out of Crossroads FLEX HS in North Carolina, but don’t let his draft position fool you. He was a Vanderbilt commit and the Astros went way over slot signing him for $1,256,530, the second highest bonus of their draft pool behind Drew Gilbert. Clifford is a big lefty standing at 6’3″ and 200 lbs. Clifford has the ability to hit for average and power with a beautiful left handed swing. He may profile for the corners and some scouts referred to him as an athletic Seth Beer.

10. David Hensley, INF

Level: Triple-A DOB: 03/28/96

Hensley was drafted by the Astros in the 26th round of the 2018 draft. He has made an impressive rise in the system doing from a 26th round pick to Triple-A. Hensley stands tall at 6’6″ but has the ability to provide solid defense at all infield positions. While he has played the majority of his games at shortstop (and other infield positions) he has also played some in the outfield. Hensley has a patient approach at the plate drawing walks at a high clip. Hensley possesses some solid power with most of his power going the opposite way. He has also produced very good exit velocities this season. Hensley could be a guy who fills the Aledmys Diaz type role for the Astros in the near future. Read more on Hensley here.

11. Jaime Melendez, RHP

Level: Double-A DOB: 09/26/01

Melendez was signed by the Astros out of Mexico and he has made a quick rise in the system. He was a quick rise in 2021 making his way to Double-A at just 19-years-old. He is a smaller pitcher (5-8) but is built well at 190 lbs. Melendez has a fastball that he can run up to 95 MPH consistently and a good slider but also pitches with deception thanks to his vertical approach angle on his pitches. He has a ton of upside and has shown some of that this season in Double-A.

12. Justin Dirden, OF

Level: Triple-A DOB: 07/16/97

Dirden was another undrafted free agent following the 2020 draft but put together a great season slashing .274/.397/.537 with 15 HR in 83 games. The outfielder showed a nice combination of power and patience with a 14.9 BB% and a .263 ISO. Overall. he had a 149 wRC+ in 83 games. The lefty swinger has above average power and has shown the ability to drive the ball to all fields. Despite his size, he is a good athlete and could stick at center field at the big league level. He has destroyed the Texas League this year and is one stop away from a call-up. Read more on Dirden here.

13. Forrest Whitley, RHP

Level: Triple-A DOB: 09/15/97

At this point, everyone knows who Forrest Whitley is. After a dominant 2017 which saw him strike out 143 over 92.1 innings while reaching AA at just 19 years old, he has struggled a bit to recapture that magic the last couple seasons. A suspension and a few nagging injuries has held him back. Whitley possesses a fastball that has nice life and gets up to 98 MPH which he pairs with a devastating changeup. He also has a very good curveball and solid cutter. Forrest had Tommy John surgery ending his 2021 season but is back this year in Triple-A working his way back. I still believe in his upside and despite the setbacks, he has still shown some filthy stuff this season.

14. Alex Santos, RHP

Level: Single-A DOB: 02/10/02

Santos was drafted by the Astros in the 2nd round of the 2020 MLB draft but due to COVID, he was unable to make his professional debut that season. Santos has a low to mid 90s fastball with a high spin rate and pairs that with two solid secondary offerings, a curveball and a growing changeup. He also is a good athlete at 6-3, 215 lbs. Santos has an high ceiling and has shown glimpses of that this season in Single-A at just 20 years old.

15. Spencer Arrighetti, RHP

Level: High-A DOB: 01/02/00

Arrighetti has had an interesting ride to this point. He college career consisted of three different schools with him ultimately getting drafted in the 6th round of the 2021 draft out of the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. He has a low to mid 90s fastball which has topped at 98 MPH this season, and a good slider to go with it. He has an improving curveball and changeup as well. The right-hander has racked up the strikeouts this season playing in High-A and despite giving up some runs, he looks ready for the next challenge. Read more on Arrighetti here.

16. Misael Tamarez, RHP

Level: Double-A DOB: 01/16/00

The Astros signed Tamarez out of the Dominican Republic in 2018. He pitched in rookie league in 2019 but broke out a big way in 2021. As a 21 year old between Low-A and High-A, Tamarez posted a 3.76 ERA with 103 K in 76.2 innings. Tamarez has a strong frame at 6-1 and over 200 lbs. His fastball this season has been mid 90s hitting 97 MPH. He also possesses has a changeup and improving slider that can give him a deadly three pitch mix. He has the making of another under the radar pitching prospect who can make an impact in the next couple years.

17. Jayden Murray, RHP

Level: Double-A DOB: 04/11/97

Murray was acquired by the Astros from the Rays in the Trey Mancini deal. The 23rd round pick from 2019 has posted some really good numbers in the minors and that has continued this year. While 25-years-old, he has a 3.09 ERA this season between Double-A and Triple-A. Murray possesses a mid 90s fastball and a plus slider. He has the makings of a backend of the rotation starter and should be able to contribute fairly soon.

18. J.P. France, RHP

Level: Triple-A DOB: 04/04/95

France was drafted by the Astros in the 14th round of the 2018 draft. The right hander had an incredible 2021 season which saw him strikeout 157 in 114 innings, both highs for the Astros system last season. France has a really good blend of pitches and has shown improved command over the last few months. He mixes a slider, cutter and chanegup off of his fastball that has been up to 95 MPH this season. Read my interview with France here.

19. Andrew Taylor, RHP

Level: Rookie DOB: 09/23/01

The Astros nabbed a tall right hander in Andrew Taylor, who stands at 6’5″ and 190 lbs, with their compensation pick for losing Carlos Correa. Taylor has a low 90s fastball but generates a ton of swings and misses with high spin rate and carry, which is throws the majority of the time. The righty had an impressive college career for Central Michigan posting a 2.45 ERA with 261 K in 195 innings. Taylor also possesses a solid changeup and two breaking pitches.

20. Tyler Whitaker, OF

Level: Single-A DOB: 08/02/02

With the Astros first pick the 2021 draft, the Astros took Whitaker out of high school. Whitaker was ranked the #37 prospect by MLB. Scouts noted that he has a plus arm in the outfield and big raw power. He has played both outfield and shortstop this season. Whitaker is a good athlete for his size. He has some swing in miss to his game but has the upside to be a big run producer at the major league level. He is 6-4 and 190 lbs. This year he has struggled to make contact but is still really young with a lot of upside and has started to get more positive results at the plate.

21. Michael Knorr, RHP

Level: Rookie DOB: 05/12/00

The Astros drafted Knorr in the 3rd round of the 2022 draft. Knorr spent his first three seasons at Cal State Fullerton before moving to Coastal Carolina for his senior year where he struck out 86 in 69 innings. Knorr has a fastball that reaches 98 MPH and a good changeup. He also has some deception in his delivery and if he can command his fastball a bit better, he can move up the system pretty quickly with his fastball/changeup combination.

22. Shawn Dubin, RHP

Level: Triple-A DOB: 09/06/95

Dubin was drafted by the Astros in the 13th round of the 2018 draft after attending two different JuCo schools. He is smaller stature listed at 6-1, 155 lbs but he has added about 20 lbs and is sitting around 175 now. His fastball sits in the mid 90s, touching 99, and he has a plus slider. After a dominant 2019 season, Dubin put together a great 2021 showcasing his abilitiles with 69 K in just 49.2 innings. Dubin has enough pitches to be a starter but if the Astros decide to use him in the pen, he could be electric running it up to triple digits. He has struggled to stay healthy this year though. You can read my interview with Dubin here.

23. Luke Berryhill, C

Level: Double-A DOB: 05/28/98

Berryhill, originally drafted by the Reds and traded to the Astros last off-season. After making some adjustments on advisement from Astros coaches, he turned in a phenomenal 2021 season. He had a career year posting a .974 OPS with a 159 wRC+ in 73 games across three different levels. Berryhill has flashed above average raw power and the potential to work counts and draw walks. Behind the plate, he has above average arm strength and is a good receiver. You can read more on him here.

24. Logan Cerny, OF

Level: Single-A DOB: 09/28/99

Cerny was acquired by the Astros in the deal that sent Garrett Stubbs to Philadelphia. Cerny is a toolsy prospect who comes with a power/speed combination. The wiry outfielder, drafted in the 10th round by the Phillies, has plus speed on the bases and in the outfield. He has some swing and miss in his game but was still able to post an OPS over .800 in his first full season and have success on the bases stealing 35 in 86 games. His speed and defense will allow him to stick in center field as he moves up the system.

25. Trey Dombroski, LHP

Level: Rookie DOB: 03/13/01

Dombroski was drafted by the Astros in the 4th round of the 2022 draft after a standout career at Monmouth University, including 14 BB/130 K in 95 innings as a junior. The lefty stands at 6’5″ and 235 lbs. While he doesn’t blow you away with his stuff, he really knows how to pitch and has very good command. He has a low 90s fastball but mixes in two very good breaking pitches. He immediately becomes one of the better command pitchers in the Astros system.

26. Will Wagner, 3B

Level: Double-A DOB: 07/29/98

Wagner was an 18th round pick by the Astros in 2021, but looking like a steal to get him so late. The son of former Astros closer Billy Wagner, Will is a right handed thrower, lefty swinger. He plays primarily second and third base in the infield, but has moved around a bit. He is an advanced hitter who has a good command of the strike zone and makes a lot of contact. He will have to hit for a little bit more power but the bat to ball and on-base skills will take him far too. Read more here.

27. Joey Loperfido, OF

Level: High-A DOB: 05/11/99

Loperfido was drafted in the 2021 draft after putting together a really good senior season. The lefty hitting Loperfido has the ability to work counts, draw walks and make a lot of contact. He has some power which he is still getting into in the games but has seen an uptick over the last few months. Loperfido possesses above average athleticism which shows on the bases and in the field. This season he has played at first and second base as well as all three outfield positions. Read more here.

28. Edinson Batista, RHP

Level: Single-A DOB: 05/19/02

Signed a free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2019, Batista struggled a bit early on but has had a breakout season to this point. The right hander has a low to mid 90s fastball but features a wipeout slider that generates a ton of swings and misses right now. He also has a curveball and a changeup which are still a work in progress, as is his command. But the size and pitches are there for him to succeed at the higher levels.

29. J.C. Correa, C

Level: High-A DOB: 09/15/98

J.C. is known by many because he is Carlos Correa‘s younger brother, but he is a legitimate prospect in his own right. He was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2020 after a solid college career at Lamar. Correa put together a good season offensively in 2021 slashing .310/.368/.464 with 32 2B, 9 HR. This off-season, Correa made a position change to catcher and has been working on that in 2022. He has shown a solid arm behind the plate but still working on the blocking/receiving part. The bat is still crushing though with an OPS approaching .900 in High-A.

30. Cristian Gonzalez, SS

Level: High-A DOB: 10/22/01

Gonzalez hasn’t really shown it on the field, but he has a ton of upside. The 6-3 shortstop was signed out of Dominican Republic in 2018. He is only listed at 180 lbs and still has plenty of room to grow. Gonzalez is solid defensively at shortstop but possesses a an absolute cannon for an arm. Cristian has the ability to hit for some average but has been able to add power to his game already at just 20 years old.

31. Collin Price, C

Level: Single-A DOB: 11/15/99

Price is a big bodied catcher, standing at 6’6″, who was drafted in this summer’s draft. He put up some good numbers as a senior at Mercer hitting .315 with 18 HR and 52 BB/34 K. He is a good athlete who has also seen some time in the outfield. Price is very patient at the plate and drives the ball well. It is unclear if he will stick at catcher given his size, but his bat will player at other positions as well.

32. Quincy Hamilton, OF

Level: High-A DOB: 06/12/98

Hamilton was drafted as a 5th year senior after some great numbers at Wright State University. The advanced lefty has done nothing but hit in the Astros system making his way up to Double-A in his first full season. He draws walks, doesn’t really strikeout, and has some solid power. He also is an above-average runner showing the ability to steal bases and play solid defense in the outfield.

33. Miguel Ullola, RHP

Level: Single-A DOB: 06/19/02

Ullola is a young flame throwing right hander. The 20-year-old features a plus fastball that sits mid-90s and touches 98 MPH, even when in multi-inning spots. While he has some command issues, he has overpowered the hitters in Single-A with the fastball/slider combination. He might end up in the bullpen, but that may not be a bad thing given what kind of stuff he could have in one innings spurts.

34. Zach Dezenzo, INF

Level: Single-A DOB: 05/11/00

Dezenzo was another draft pick from the 2022 class out of Ohio State. He broke onto the scene with a good senior season and a really good performance in the MLB Draft League where he posted elite exit velocity numbers. The big right hander, standing at 6’4″ and 220 lbs, played mostly shortstop in college but has played second base and third base so far. He has some swing and miss, but also has the ability to drive the ball well.

35. Corey Julks, OF

Level: Triple-A DOB: 02/27/96

Julks is a local product that grew up in the Houston area, attended the University of Houston, and got drafted by the Astros. Julks was a decent prospect until the middle of last year when some swing changes unlocked his power. Since then, he has shown pop that we didn’t see before. He has played outfield and third base this year, but is most likely going to be in the corners. A solid athlete, he can also steal some bases.

36. Kenedy Corona, OF

Level: High-A DOB: 03/21/00

Corona was originally signed by the Mets but traded to the Astros in the deal that sent Marisnick to New York. Corona is a wiry outfielder that has some pop and speed. After playing in rookie ball the last few years, he has broke out this season showing off the homerun power (14) and speed on the bases (24). He is in High-A at 22 years old and has a lot of upside still to go.

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