Keith Law of The Athletic released his top-100 prospect ranking Monday, tabbing Houston Astros’ Hunter Brown the 80th-best prospects entering the 2023 season. Brown also ranked a top-100 prospect by MLB Pipeline, Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus.
Law left Brown unranked on the 2022 list, leaving the Astros unrepresented prior to the franchise’s second World Series title. Brown, Houston’s top prospect, made his Major League debut in September, starting two of his seven appearances before the postseason.
“He could be a No. 2 starter if the command and control ever improve, or a workhorse starter who walks 80-plus batters a year, or he might be relegated to the bullpen if he can’t throw enough strikes,” Law said.
Brown sported a 2.55 ERA and a 1.085 WHIP in 106 innings pitched for Triple-A Sugar Land. Leading the Pacific Coast League in strikeouts until September, the Detroit product totaled 134 punch outs to his 45 walks. With the Astros, Brown sworded 22 batters to his seven walks issued in 20.1 innings of work.
Law also ranked the Astros farm system the 26th-best entering the 2023 season. After losing draft picks as punishment for the sign-stealing scandal, Houston’s system continues to rank near the bottom.
“Not to be a broken record, but the Astros drafted without scouts for years,” Law said. “And it showed in the results, which were also hurt when the team was drafting at the end of the first round rather than the top. They also almost completely punted on international free agency after 2016.”