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Houston Astros Sign Pitcher Norbis Diaz to Minor-League Contract

Houston Astros
Houston Astros

The Houston Astros added another arm to their 2023 international signing period class in Norbis Diaz. The 18-year-old right-handed pitcher officially signed Tuesday, marking the 15th free agent to join the organization since Jan. 15.

Diaz, a right-handed pitcher from El Vigia, Venezuela, measured 6-foot, 165 pounds. Houston assigned Diaz to the Dominican Summer League Astros Blue on Monday. The organization also assigned the following 2023 signees to the DSL Astros Blue on Monday: outfielders Juan Sierra, Esmil Valencia and Eduardo Perez, right-handed pitchers Joan Ogando and Manuel Mendoza and shortstops Camilo Diaz and German Ramirez.

Who Is Fayetteville’s Next Hitting Coach?

Astros Future reported Sunday that pitching coach Zach Wilkins will report to Single-A Fayetteville for the 2023 season. But with Jose Puentes not returning to the Woodpeckers this year, the affiliate is currently without a confirmed hitting coach. A source said Monday that Florida Complex League Astros Orange hitting coach Andrew Cresci is a name floating through the system for the promotion.

Under Cresci, who was in his first season of professional coaching, the Astros Orange finished top six among FCL teams in runs, RBI, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage and top four in OPS with it being the highest by an Complex League Astros team ever. The Astros Orange also hit the most home runs in the final two weeks of the 2022 season among FCL clubs.

Cresci stated he believes he will start the 2023 season in the Florida Complex League. The Astros are expected to release their minor-league staffs in the coming weeks.

Astros’ Brown Named Top-101 Prospect

Baseball Prospectus ranked Hunter Brown the 45th-best prospect on its Top-101 list Friday. Brown ranked the 28th-best prospect by Baseball America and the eighth-best right-handed pitching prospect by MLB Pipeline.

“I’ve still got to try and make a roster,” Brown said Saturday at Astros FanFest. “I’m just really looking forward to another opportunity to go into spring and show Dusty (Baker) and the rest of the staff what I can do.”

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