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Houston Astros: Top 10 Dynasty Prospects

The Houston Astros will be our next stop on the farm to evaluate the best prospects on each MLB team. Once the 2020 MLB season begins, it may turn out that Minor League systems will be more important than usual. Franchises are losing money during the pandemic layoff, so many teams will be looking for sources of cheap production. It might also take older players longer to rebound from a long layoff meaning we could see more injuries and more roster moves. We might even see expanded rosters, at least in the early going.

One important question to ask is: How will a long layoff affect prospects? One has to assume the more advanced prospects prior to the work stoppage will be at an advantage, while the more “toolsy but raw” type could be hurt with the lack of repetition and in-game action; throwing or hitting in simulated environments just doesn’t match up to the real thing. Many prospects will have to work jobs during the pandemic just to make ends meet, while players who signed for large bonuses will have an advantage. Other prospects that lack strong discipline and commitment to their craft could struggle to stay in shape.

We won’t really know what the layoff impact will have on baseball in general until things start ramping up. But we do know that a strong prospect pool will continue to be an important element for a successful baseball franchise. We're looking at the Top 10 (or more) dynasty prospects in each organization with an eye to discovering which organizations are best positioned to succeed with their player development when games resume. Make sure to check out all of our prospect content, including Top 50 for 2020 and Top 250 for Dynasty Leagues.

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Quick Synopsis

The Astros system has thinned out noticeably in the past couple of years — especially on the hitting side — but the system has quite a few intriguing hard-throwing arms. This is very much a boom-or-bust system right now.

 

1. Forrest Whitley, RHP

Dynasty Prospect Rank: 42
2020 Prospect Rank: 38
2020 LEVEL: AA
MLB ETA: 2020

Whitely had perhaps the largest fall from grace of any prospect in 2019. He entered the year on the cusp of reaching the Majors but had a complete meltdown with his command and control, and then got hurt. Whitley redeemed himself, to a degree, with a solid showing in the Arizona Fall League but there were also whispers that his makeup isn’t that strong so that could be an ongoing concern.

2. Jose Urquidy, RHP

Dynasty Prospect Rank: 81
2020 Prospect Rank: 9
2020 LEVEL: MLB
MLB ETA: 2020

Urquidy pitches better than his profile would suggest. His fastball has average velocity and he lacks a reliable breaking ball but he’s more difficult to hit than one might expect. The right-hander can reach back for 95-96 mph when needed and then throw his plus changeup to throw hitters off-balance. His above-average control helps his stuff play up and there is hope he’ll eventually improve his slider. Urquidy has No. 3/4 starter potential and will pitch with a high-powered offense behind him in 2020.

3. Bryan Abreu, RHP

Dynasty Prospect Rank: 115
2020 LEVEL: AAA
MLB ETA: 2020

Abreu has dominant stuff. His fastball works into the upper-90s and he has two breaking balls with plus potential. But the downside to the right-hander is that both his command and control are below average. With his stuff good enough to succeed in a big-league bullpen, the Astros face an interesting decision: Keep him in the minors to work on starting, or allow him to be an impact arm now in the big league bullpen. This ranking is based on the hope he'll continue to start.

4. Abraham Toro-Hernandez, 3B

Dynasty Prospect Rank: 129
2020 LEVEL: AAA
MLB ETA: 2020

Born in Canada, Toro-Hernandez was a scouting find out of a junior college in Oklahoma. He’s developed rather quickly and really started to take off in 2018 before reaching the Majors in 2019. He’s not flashy but he’s a good hitter that has a chance to hit .270-.280 with 20 home runs — if he can find a defensive home. With a willingness to take a walk, Toro-Hernandez also has additional value in on-base leagues.

5. Freudis Nova, SS

Dynasty Prospect Rank: 211
2020 LEVEL: A+
MLB ETA: 2022

Nova is a raw but promising middle infield prospect. He’s far too aggressive for his own good but he has the potential to develop into a 20-20 player if he can mature at the plate. He slugged 20 doubles in just 75 games in Low-A ball in 2019 but also posted a BB-K of 15-68.

6. Cristian Javier, RHP

2020 LEVEL: AAA
MLB ETA: 2020

Javier doesn’t look impressive as a smallish right-hander with average fastball velocity, but he generates well-above-average strikeout rates because of excellent spin on the heater and two above-average breaking balls. On the downside, his control is below average and he’s prone to the home run ball due to his his fly-ball heavy approach. He’ll likely settle in as more of a No. 4 starter.

7. Jairo Solis, RHP

2020 LEVEL: A+
MLB ETA: 2021

Solis is an intriguing wildcard who hasn’t pitched since mid-2018 due to Tommy John surgery. He was an advanced pitcher for his age when he got hurt so there is hope he’ll come back without a ton of rust. Solis can hit 95-97 mph with his heater and has shown a curveball with plus potential. He rounds out his repertoire with a slider and a changeup — both of which showed average potential before the injury.

8. Enoli Paredes, RHP

2020 LEVEL: AA
MLB ETA: 2021

Similar in many ways to Cristian Javier, Paredes is another smallish right-hander with lots of spin, which can be very difficult to hit. This right-hander has more electric stuff than the more advanced arm ahead of him, though, and he can hit 96-98 mph with two power breaking balls. A lack of command/control, as well as a high-effort delivery, could land him in the bullpen.

9. Jeremy Pena, SS/2B

2020 LEVEL: AA
MLB ETA: 2021

Pena is a better real-world player because of his above-average defense but he’s gotten stronger as a pro and looks like he might be able to hold down a regular gig up the middle. He has a chance to hit .270 with 10-12 home runs and 12-15 stolen base, which is a useful player.

10. Korey Lee, C

2020 LEVEL: A-
MLB ETA: 2022

The Astros took a lot of people by surprise by nabbing Lee in the first round of the 2019 draft after he was projected to go somewhere in the second to the fourth round due to his lack of experience behind the plate. He possesses above-average raw power and took a healthy number of walks in his pro debut.

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