Houston Astros Farm System Analysis 2023 Edition

The Houston Astros farm system has been ranked as one of the best in baseball for the past few years, despite having a number of highly-regarded players graduate to the bigs. This article will provide an analysis of the prospects in the Houston Astros farm system.

The first prospect on this list is Joey Loperfido, a versatile defender who played primarily second base in 2023 but has experience all over the infield as well as the corner outfield spots. Loperfido has solid contact skills and a advanced approach at the plate, walking more than he struck out in 2023 while posting a .795 OPS across two levels. He doesn't have much power potential, but his ability to put the ball in play should help him hit for a high average as he advances. The 23-year-old was drafted in the fifth round in 2022, and his versatile defensive profile and advanced hitting skills should help him rise through the Astros system.

The next prospect is Luis Baez, a classic high-risk, high-reward prospect. Baez has all the tools to be an all-star, including a power arm that can reach 100mph and a big frame that houses the potential for above-average hitting ability. However, the 22-year-old also has significant command issues and a lack of pitch diversity, as he relies primarily on his fastball. Baez has struggled with walks and strikeouts in his career, but if he can improve his pitch diversity and command, he could become a staple in the Astros rotation in the future.

Next is Derek True, who fits the mold of a classic relief pitcher. He operates at 93-95mph with a slider that has potential to be an above-average pitch. True has struggled with his command, but his stuff plays well in a relief role. He should advance quickly through the Astros system as a backend-of-the-bullpen arm.

German Ramirez is a 17-year-old infielder in the Complex League. He has a strong hit tool and pulls power, but his swing-and-miss tendency and minimal defensive value could hinder his future impact. While he may not have a ceiling that pops, he is a fun teenager to watch and has the potential to become a versatile defender as he develops.

The first pitcher on this list is Yeriel Santos, an athletic 20-year-old who sits between 92 and 95mph with his fastball. He also has an average curveball and changeup that he can throw at any point in the count, although his command needs work. If Santos can improve his command and pitch diversity, he could become a backend starter for the Astros.

Julio Robaina is a 23-year-old lefty who has succeeded in the Astros system thanks to his deceptive delivery and hard slider. He lacks command and his fastball is mediocre at best, but his stuff plays up due to his deceptive delivery. Robaina should advance through the system quickly as a backend starter, but he may end up in the bullpen long-term.

ForrestWhitley is a former first-round pick who has yet to live up to his billing. Whitley can throw hard (97-99mph) but has struggled with elbow issues and lacks command across his entire pitch catalog. He's currently on the minor league injured list, and the soon-to-be 26-year-old needs to get back to the bigs quickly if he wants to have any kind of trade value.

Cesar Gomez is a 25-year-old kitchen sink reliever, throwing sliders, cutters, changeups, and fastballs up to 96mph. He has succeeded at the Double-A level, and he should be a valuable backend arm for the Astros in the future.

Finally, the last player on this list is Jake Bloss, who is the only starting pitcher in the top eight of this year's rankings. Bloss, 21, was the Astros' first-round selection in 2021 out of high school. He has advanced pitchability for his age and his fastball can reach the upper 90s, but he struggles with his control at times. His profile would benefit from a move to the bullpen, but he has the stuff to impact the rotation long-term if he can improve his command and consistency.

This farm system has the most depth and upside among position players, with seven of the top eight prospects being hitters. There are also several high-risk/high-reward types in this system, such as Luis Baez and Alberto Hernandez.

The Astros continue to have an abundance of intriguing arms from the Latin American and domestic markets, but fewer and fewer of them have enough starter-like traits to even allow you to dream on them filling a rotation spot at the major league level. Arms like Alonzo Tredwell, Alimber Santa, and Miguel Ullola all have pitch mixes that look deep enough on paper to start, but their command is too light for them to be more than depth starters or bullpen arms.

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