Houston Astros Top 30 Prospects

February 12, 2024

The 2024 Preseason Top 30 lists are built around the idea of certainty and future Role. Similar to industry projection systems such as Future Value (FV), Overall Future Potential (OFP) and Grade, Role is a way to describe to what degree a player will add value to his organization at peak.

Our scale is a bit more conservative than other grading systems. We take into account recent seasonal performance, proximity to impact, metric/data analysis and industry conversations to build a case for the most likely outcome for any given player.

It is important to note these Role labels are fluid and can change as a player moves up the developmental ladder. It is not uncommon for a player to change his role projection over the span of even one month. Players jump from a Role 35 to a Role 40 quite quickly.

Things like mechanical adjustments and physical maturation can alter a player’s projection seemingly overnight. Players change. Keep that in mind.

Below is our Role chart used to place future projection on players.

20No organizational value. Non-prospect.
30Organizational value, filler. Likely peaks at Triple-A or below.
35Potential up-and-down, Quad-A prospect. Has some tools. Development necessary to secure prolonged MLB role.
40Back-up at MLB level. No. 5 starter on non-competitive team. Depth.
45Potential starter on contender. Bench player for championship-level team.
50Starter on a championship-level team. Lacks star ceiling. Steady. Potential No. 4 starting pitcher.
55Potential all-star. Some impact. Above average big-league regular. Mid-rotation starter on a contender.
60All-star level player. Impact. Middle-of-the-order bat. No. 2 starter on good team.
70Perennial all-star. Will contend for seasonal awards. Potential MVP/Cy Young upside. No. 1 starting pitcher. Ace.
80Hall of Fame upside. Generational. MVP/Cy Young Favorite some years. Organizational pillar who can carry an entire franchise at times.

You will not find players with a sub-50 Role on our Top 100 Prospect List. You are also unlikely to find any sub-35 Role players on a Top 30 board. Generally, organizations will have at least 30 players with big-league projection.

All rankings and roles by Joe Doyle
Player notes by Jason A. Churchill

The aggression last summer cost the system Drew Gilbert and Ryan Clifford in the trade to reacquire Justin Verlander, but the farm isn’t exactly as empty as some would have you believe.

The days of multiple top 50prospects are gone for the Astros — for now, at least — but they’ve been able to mazimize their decisions between development and trades and remain a threat in the American League as a reault.

It’s far from a top system, but there may be enough in sustainable, controllable performance in the majors to buy new GM Dana Brown and his staff time to rebuild the organization’s depth.

1Jacob MeltonOF50
2Zach Dezenzo3B45
3Brice MatthewsSS45
4Spencer ArrighettiRHP45
5Luis BaezOF45
6Joey LoperfidoOF45
7Alonzo TredwellRHP45
8Andrew TaylorRHP45
9Jake BlossRHP45
10Zach ColeOF45

Melton is another in a long line of quality position players to come through the club’s minors and there’s a chance he’s ready for the show in 2024 ont he strength of average or better tools across the board.

Scouts are somewhat split on whether or not the left-handed batter can sustain his contact rates with his leg kick, but there appears to be enough power to support league standard batting averages and there’s defensive and baserunning value, too.

Dezenzo, a 12th-round pick in 2022, has lived up to his scouting report to date, reaching Double-A in his first full year of pro ball and compiling a .293/.374/.502 slash in 121 games since the draft.

It’s above-average power headlining a bunch of fringe tools, including range that likely eliminates second base from his long-term future. But if the club allows Alex Bregman to walk via free agency after 2024, Dezenzo is first in line to take over the hot corner.

Arrighetti is a four-pitch right-hander on the brink of the big leagues, but in a rotation role may be limited to No. 4 upside.

It’s a 91-95 mph fastball and two above-average breaking balls, led by a sweeping slider. Control and command need further development.

Baez has done nothing but hit since signing, slashing .276/.354/.516 in 116 pro games. He’ll get his first shot at a full season in 2024 after mashing in the FCL and holding his own in Low-A Fayetteville at age 19.

There’s a shot at above-average power to go with .240-.260 averages and some OBP thanks to good feel for the zone and general discipline. He throws well and profiles in either corner outfield spot.

Bloss, the Astros’ third-round pick last summer, combines three aaverage or better pitches with plus control and average command. He has just 18.2 innings in pro ball, but has a chance to move quickly.

11Michael KnorrRHP40
12Kenedy CoronaOF40
13Nolan DeVosRHP40
14Trey DombroskiLHP40
15A.J. BlubaughLHP40
16Cam FisherOF40
17Miguel UllolaRHP35
18Shay Whitcomb2B40
19Camilo DiazSS35
20Jose FleuryRHP35
21Anthony HuezoSS35
22Chase JaworksySS35
23Will Wagner3B/2B35
24Alberto HernandezSS35
25Colton GordonLHP35
26Forrest WhitleyRHP35
27Rhett KoubaRHP35
28Grae KessingerSS35
29Nehomar Ochoa Jr.OF35
30Ethan PeckoRHP35

Knorr has added velocity to his entire arsenal since transferring to Coastal Carolina three years ago, in cluding firming up his curveball and slider since the Astros took him off the board un Round 3 back in 2022.

He’s now 92-96 mph with a promising slider and curveball. His best secondary may be his changeup and his ability to throw strikes is evident from the start of every outing.

Dombrowski doesn’t throw hard, but it’s a good enough fastball 90-93 mph with carry, front-side deception, and command, and he’ll throw all four pitches for strikes.

The lefty has enough stuff to warrant rotation innings, but in a relief role the Astros could speed him up and get a viable middle reliever similar to Brett Cecil or Jeremy Affeldt.

Fleury split his 2023 season building arm strength and refining his changeup, missing bats with fastball shape and changing speeds, but his slider also flashed average or better on a regular basis.

He’s just 6-feet and 190 pounds or so, but his feel is advanced and his fastball plays up due to life and how well he tunnels fastball-slider.

Wagner doesn’t have the arm his dad had, but there’s strikezone judgment, bat control, and playable tools to the majors. He’s most likely a multi-position option, but his performance suggest he’s near-ready for Space City.

Gordon, now 25, has shown four quality pitches and the ability to command them, suggesting a big-league future in some role His fastball sits somewhere between fringe-average and slightly above, scraping 92-94 mph but typically travelling 89-91 mph. It plays up thanks to carr created by his low arm slot and reliever-like finish.

He also has a curveball and changeup he can throw competitively. It all sets up an above-average sweeping slider.

It’s a back-end profile that could also be a Brooks Raley-like weapon out of the bullpen, and Gordon is big-league ready.

A former top prospect throwing gas with two nasty breakers and a bat-missing changeup, Whitley is now 26 and profiles as a middle innings reliever thanks in large part to injuries.

He’s struggled to throw strikes his entire career, but there’s still some zip on the heater at 92-96 mph. The slider still misses bats, too.

Joe Doyle
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