Every year in the minors, and particularly the Astros system, a prospect will “breakout” and become a player to watch. There are many prospects that could be on the list making it hard to just choose one. Therefore, I will provide a few candidates and y’all get to vote on who is the Astros breakout prospect of 2022.
Justin Dirden, OF
Dirden was another undrafted free agent following the 2020 draft and put together a great 2022 season. After having a breakout 2021, the lefty hitter slashed .302/.384/.558 with a system leading 40 doubles. He also had 24 HR and led the system with 101 RBI. Dirden played 92 games in Double-A and 32 games in Triple-A. He should be pushing for a call-up to the Astros next season.
2022 Stats: 124 G, .302 BA/.384 OBP/.558 SLG, 40 2B, 5 3B, 24 HR, 101 RBI, 12 SB, 135 wRC+
Edinson Batista, RHP
Batista has been in the system for a few years but had a breakout 2022 season. The right-hander started the season in Single-A and posted a 2.60 ERA with 113 K in 93.1 innings allowing just 59 hits. He was promoted to High-A where he had a 3.14 ERA in 14.1 innings. Overall, the 20-year-old struck out 127 in 107.2 innings with a 2.67 ERA.
2022 Stats: 24 G, 2.67 ERA, 107.2 IP, 68 H, 32 ER, 52 BB, 127 K, 10.6 K/9
Joey Loperfido, OF
Loperfido started the season pretty strong but probably had the best finish out of any Astros prospect. After hitting .270 in April, the lefty hit .325 the rest of the way. This included .339 with a .976 OPS over his final 63 games. Overall he slashed .316/.408/.492 with 25 2B, 12 HR, 69 RBI and 32 SB. He also played above average defense in the outfield and at first base. Hopefully he starts in Double-A in 2023.
2022 Stats: 108 G, .316 BA/.408 OBP/.492 SLG, 25 2B, 4 3B, 12 HR, 69 RBI, 32 SB, 149 wRC+
Miguel Ullola, RHP
Ullola had one of the more dominant seasons in 2022. As a 20-year-old, he struck out 120 in just 72 innings, good for 15.0 K/9. On the flip side, he also walked 55 in 72 innings. That was the only downside. He was nearly unhittable allowing just 39 hits over 72 innings. As a reliever he had a 1.70 ERA with 76 K in 42.1 innings. Maybe that is where he ends up for his career, but he has the stuff to dominate at the end of the pen.
2022 Stats: 22 G, 3.25 ERA, 72.0 IP, 39 H, 26 ER, 55 BB, 120 K, 15.0 K/9
Quincy Hamilton, OF
Hamilton made quite the rise during the 2022 season. After starting the year in Single-A and posting a .885 OPS, he was promoted to High-A where he had a .966 OPS in 49 games. He was then promoted to Double-A where he played another 34 games. Overall he had a .857 OPS with 28 2B, 17 HR, 27 SB and 76 BB in 119 games.
2022 Stats: 119 G, .280 BA/.396 OBP/.461 SLG, 28 2B, 17 HR, 68 RBI, 27 SB, 135 wRC+
Kenedy Corona, OF
Corona was acquired in the deal that sent Marisnick to the Mets. He started the year in Single-A and had a .837 OPS in 45 games earning a promotion to High-A. In High-A, he had a .871 OPS in 62 games. Overall the right-hander had a .857 OPS with 24 2B, 19 HR, 28 SB in 107 games. A nice breakout 2022 season for him.
2022 Stats: 107 G, .278 BA/.362 OBP/.495 SLG, 24 2B, 4 3B, 19 HR, 67 RBI, 28 SB, 133 wRC+