The Grapefruit League is approaching its halfway mark, as the Houston Astros are roughly two weeks into scheduled games. With that, there has been plenty of opportunities for prospects to play with the Major League club and show what they can do. Below are a few prospects that stood out to Jimmy Price and Kenny Van Doren.
Hitter – Corey Julks
The eighth-round pick out of the University of Houston is off to a nice start this spring. Over the last week, Corey Julks played in a few games, going 2-for-5 with a two-run home run Saturday over the spring training Green Monster against Boston. Overall this spring, Julks has a .901 OPS in 13 at-bats.
The 27 year old is coming off a breakout season where he finished with 31 home runs and 22 stolen bases at the Triple-A level, as he inched closer to the major league level. Given the lack of outfield depth in the upper minors, Julks figures to be a piece that will get a chance to debut at some point in 2023. -Jimmy Price
Honorable Mention: Jacob Melton
Hitter – C.J. Stubbs
Entering Tuesday, C.J. Stubbs went 4-for-9 in his first seven Grapefruit League games, slapping all four hits for singles. It wasn’t until the ninth inning against the New York Mets that Stubbs flashed the power he tapped into late into 2022 — 11 home runs in 41 games for the Corpus Christi Hooks. With two runners on, Stubbs clubbed a game-tying home run to knot up the contest at five runs apiece.
Stubbs’ power stroke only furthered an impressive spring for the 26-year-old non-roster invitee, who is vying for an opportunity to start in Triple-A. Through his first eight games, the righty went 5-for-10 with one home run, three RBI, two walks and two strikeouts. In that same sample, Stubbs played four games at catcher, three at first base and one as the designated hitter. -Kenny Van Doren
Honorable Mention: Jordan Brewer
Pitcher – Jimmy Endersby
The Astros signed Jimmy Endersby as an undrafted free agent in 2020, and the righty has already defied the odds. The 25 year old has pitched in two spring training games, and while the first didn’t go well, he dominated in his second outing last Saturday, tossing two perfect innings with three strikeouts.
The right-hander had some minor-league success but struggled at the Triple-A level in 2022. Endersby should prove to be worthy rotation depth, and with some injuries already, we may see him debut in 2023. -Jimmy Price
Honorable Mention: Devin Conn
Pitcher – Jaime Melendez
Reassigned to minor-league spring training Tuesday, Jaime Melendez impressed in his two Grapefruit League appearances. The righty made his second outing Monday against the Boston Red Sox, pitching two-scoreless innings in relief with a pair of strikeouts and one walk.
The non-roster invitee totaled three innings in Major League spring training, throwing 24 of his 43 pitches for strikes. While command will likely be on the forefront of improvements this season, Melendez still showed impressive velocity, touching 97.2 mph on his four-seam fastball. -Kenny Van Doren
Honorable Mention: Cesar Gomez