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2024 Astros Minor League Thread

Discussion in 'Houston Astros' started by tellitlikeitis, Nov 6, 2023.

  1. tellitlikeitis

    tellitlikeitis Canceled
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    The 2024 minor league season begins March 29 when Sugar Land opens its season in Round Rock.

    Corpus Christi, Asheville, and Fayetteville will begin their seasons on April 5. The Hooks and Tourists will host Midland and Winston-Salem, respectively, while the Woodpeckers begin their year on the road in Myrtle Beach.

    Well, you know how this thread starts off.

    1. Breakout pitcher/position player

    Position player: Waner Luciano - Much of the hype from the complex leagues has gone to Kenni Gomez and Luis Baez, but Waner Luciano isn't too far behind, in my opinion. Luciano handled himself well in his US debut last season and should be in line to see time in Fayetteville to start 2024.

    Pitcher: Ooh, this was tough. Andrew Taylor was pretty up-and-down in Fayetteville, but I think he will find a way to survive Asheville.

    2. Players facing make-or-break years

    Alex Santos - It's probably harsh to say that a guy who's entering his age-22 season is facing a make-or-break season, but Santos took a step back across the board in 2023. Santos might not quite be at that point, but he's looking at a repeat of Asheville and he might have to get to Corpus by July.

    Justin Dirden - After his breakout 2022, Dirden crashed to earth in AAA. Can he do well enough to get a shot in Houston, or has he Peter principled himself in Sugar Land?

    Sandy Gaston - Gaston tore it up in his debut in the DSL, although there was the caveat of him being older than a typical DSL player. His US debut, on the other hand, was an abject disaster. Can he pick up the pieces? To be fair, he made the jump up from the lowest level of minor league baseball to the lowest level with paid attendance. He was obviously going to struggle, but no one expected him to do... whatever that was.

    Pedro Leon (great catch from Snake) - Now or never. I think we've all waited long enough. Find a way to get to Houston or get to steppin'. Mauricio Dubon's emergence and Grae Kessinger getting the call before Leon also complicates matters. In all likelihood, he'll make his MLB debut somewhere else.

    Cristian Gonzalez - his 2023 season was over before it began. He did well in his limited time in the FCL and hopefully, he'll carry that momentum with him when he heads back to Asheville. Like Santos, Gonzalez probably isn't at the make-or-break point yet. He'll be 22 for the entire 2024 season, but like Santos, he'll probably have to do well enough to finish the season in Corpus Christi.

    3. Sleepers



    upload_2023-11-6_19-52-21.png

    Raimy Rodriguez - At 18 (he turns 19 in July), he will likely be ticketed for the FCL. But DSL kids getting promoted mid-season doesn't happen often, and a solid start in the FCL could put him in a position to see time in Fayetteville.

    Cam Fisher - the swing-and-miss will be a big concern, but that power looks legit. This probably doesn't mean too much, but getting the chance to start his pro career in his home state (North Carolina) should give Fisher a sense of comfort and get him more easily acclimated to the professional level. I think he'll finish 2024 in Corpus.

    Sandro Pereira - Pereira came out of the gates hot in his pro debut. Reminds me of another small guy from Venezuela who did nothing but hit his way to Houston.

    Eduardo Perez - Four homers in 130 DSL plate appearances is whatever, but "Aaron Judge" did that as the second-youngest position player in the entire Astros organization last season. (German Ramirez is four days younger) Perez is most likely another year away from coming to the US, but he showed some decent bat-to-ball skills for his age, which has me paying attention early.

    My Top 15

    1. Jacob Melton
    2. Brice Matthews
    3. Luis Baez
    4. Spencer Arrighetti
    5. Zach Dezenzo
    6. Joey Loperfido
    7. Colton Gordon
    8. Alonzo Tredwell
    9. Kenedy Corona
    10. Trey Dombroski
    11. Miguel Ullola
    12. Andrew Taylor
    13. Rhett Kouba
    14. Colin Barber
    15. Pedro Leon

    Other prospects of note, no particular order

    A.J. Blubaugh
    Nolan DeVos
    Tyler Guilfoil
    Ryan Gusto
    Michael Knorr
    Sandro Pereira
    Luis Encarnacion
    Alimber Santa
    Tyler Whitaker
    Kenni Gomez
    Waner Luciano
    Cam Fisher
    Chase Jaworsky
    Nehomar Ochoa
    Jose Fleury
    Esmil Valencia
    Camilo Diaz
    Julio Robaina
    Shay Whitcomb
    Will Wagner
    Jaime Melendez
    Miguel Palma
    Quincy Hamilton
    Zach Daniels
    Zach Cole
    Ethan Pecko
    Jeron Williams
    Jake Bloss
    Nic Swanson
    Luis Angel Rodriguez
    Jose Luis Varela
    Raimy Rodriguez
    Wilmy Sanchez
    Sandy Mejia
     
    #1 tellitlikeitis, Nov 6, 2023
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2023
  2. MadMax

    MadMax Contributing Member

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    You’re awesome! Thanks!!
     
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  3. Snake Diggit

    Snake Diggit Member

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    Awesome.

    Breakout position player: Brice Matthews
    Breakout pitcher: Alonzo Tredwell
    Make or break position player: Pedro Leon
    Make or break pitcher: Jaime Melendez

    Sleepers:
    C: Will Bush
    IF: Chase Jaworksy, Alberto Hernandez, Waner Luciano, Cristian Gonzalez
    OF: Quincy Hamilton, Cam Fisher, Tyler Whitaker, Nehomar Ochoa, Anthony Huezo
    P: Jairo Solis, Angel Macuare, Brayan De Paula, Valente Bellozo, Adrian Chaidez, Aaron Brown, Ray Gaither, Diosmerky Taveras, Ryan Gusto, Blair Henley, AJ Blubaugh, Logan VanWey, Michael Knorr, Nolan DeVos, Tyler Guilfoil, Alex Santos, Jose Fleury, Miguel Ullola, Jake Bloss, Carlos Espinosa, Ethan Pecko, Alimber Santa, Sandy Mejia

    Top 30:
    Grade 50:
    1. OF Colin Barber
    2. SS Brice Matthews
    3. OF Jacob Melton
    4. OF Luis Baez
    5. 3B Zach Dezenzo
    6. OF/IF Joey Loperfido
    Grade 45+:
    7. RHP Alonzo Tredwell
    8. OF Kenedy Corona
    9. OF/IF Pedro Leon
    10. RHP Spencer Arrighetti
    Grade 45:
    11. IF Will Wagner
    12. RHP Andrew Taylor
    13. RHP Jake Bloss
    14. RHP Rhett Kouba
    15. LHP Colton Gordon
    16. RHP Ryan Gusto
    17. RHP Carlos Espinosa
    18. LHP Julio Robaina
    19. RHP Jaime Melendez
    20. RHP Forrest Whitley
    21. IF Shay Whitcomb
    22. RHP Misael Tamarez
    23. OF Quincy Hamilton
    24. C Miguel Palma
    25. OF Kenni Gomez
    26. OF Nehomar Ochoa
    27. OF/IF Tyler Whitaker
    28. OF Anthony Huezo
    29. IF Chase Jaworsky
    30. OF Cam Fisher

    Honorable mention/Other grade 40-45:
    C: Luke Berryhill, Will Bush, Garret Guillemette, Nerio Rodriguez
    IF: JC Correa, Camilo Diaz, Waner Luciano, Alberto Hernandez, Jeron Williams, Cristian Gonzalez, German Ramirez, Ryan Johnson
    OF: Zach Cole, Jordan Brewer, Marty Costes, Zach Daniels, Eduardo Perez, Esmil Valencia
    P: Nolan DeVos, Trey Dombrowski, AJ Blubaugh, Michael Knorr, Jose Fleury, Miguel Ullola, Jairo Solis, Raimy Rodriguez, Alimber Santa, Manuel Urias, Tyler Guilfoil, Aaron Brown, Alex Santos II, Brayan De Paula, Sandy Mejia, Diosmerky Taveras, Valente Bellozo, Ethan Pecko, Blair Henley, Jose Guedez, Angel Macuare, Jose Nodal, Ray Gaither

    Grade 35+:
    C: Price, Cauro, Encarnacion, Santander, Garcia, Villarroel, Caldera, Trujillo, Stubbs, Gaston
    IF: Borden, Lorenzo, Nunez, De Leon, Balogh, Nieves, Casserilla, Cruz, Pereira, Sacco, Marcelino, Diaz, Stevens, R Ramirez, Capellan
    OF: Cerny, LeBron, Pratt, Colon, Quesada, Quintana, Cristopher Gonzalez, De Paula, Kato, Loftin, Espinosa, Machandy
    P: Gillis, Vega, Chirinos, Mancini, McDonald, DeLabio, VanWey, Batista, Plumlee, T Brown, Chaidez, Calderon, Mercedes, Miley, Murray, Torres, Varela, Peralta, Maican, Marquez

    System is very strong in outfield and pitcher depth. They have a lot of high ceiling talent in the lower levels, but they lack elite prospects and top end pitching prospects.

    They started 2023 looking extremely strong at catcher but now the position is pretty barren, after trading Lee, graduating Diaz, and having almost all of the other catching prospects see their stock fall.

    The middle infield and rotation in AA will be quite weak to start 2024. There will be a steady stream of quality bottom of the order hitters, bench players, back of the rotation starters, and bullpen arms, but there may not be a single star player graduate in the next 2 years.

    This system is 4 elite prospects away from being a top 10 farm. The rankings (both individual and overall) could look drastically different in 9 months given how so much of the high ceiling talent is so young.
     
    #3 Snake Diggit, Nov 7, 2023
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2023
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  4. IdStrosfan

    IdStrosfan Member

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    Thank you for this analysis and content.

    Currently I'm focused on the rule 5 draft.

    There are several high floor guys in this class and what the current 26 needs is the bottom 2-3 position spits and a couple of bullpen arms, so that lines up better than usual.

    It would not surprise me to see the Astros draft someone for the first time in a while. It also not surprise me for them to protect more than usual and actually give them a legitimate chance at playing in Houston this year.

    It was very interesting that they dropped Paredes off the 40 man giving them 37 spots, instead of 38. That tells me they will either protect 3, or protect 2 and target a guy to draft.

    Anyone better informed than me have any breakdowns of who they make keep or maybe target from another organization?
     
  5. Screaming Fist

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    Anyone know anything about Engel Peralta? He led the system in K-BB% and xFIP (min 20 IP) last season. Sandy Mejia also stands out - led the system in SwStr% (min 20 IP - excluding DSL where this isn't properly tracked).
     
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  6. Snake Diggit

    Snake Diggit Member

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    If Houston takes a Rule 5 pick from another team, I would expect it to be someone they REALLY like. Their roster is already so deep that adding another unproven player without options seems very unlikely unless it’s just somebody they love love love.

    There are always surprises at the bottom of the 40 man roster this time of year, so who knows.
     
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  7. IdStrosfan

    IdStrosfan Member

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    I actually disagree about the depth of the roster which is exactly why I think it could happen.

    I think there are a maximum of 11 position players and 10-11 pitchers (depending on if McCullers is healthy to start the season) who are currently better than AAAA level, though some still have potential upside and time.
     
  8. Snake Diggit

    Snake Diggit Member

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    I think you’re overestimating the value of who will be available in the Rule 5 draft, undervaluing the players at the bottom of Houston’s projected 26 man roster, or both. The odds of Houston getting someone significantly better than Grae Kessinger or Brandon Bielak in the Rule 5 draft are pretty slim.
     
  9. IdStrosfan

    IdStrosfan Member

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    I understand your point.

    I have no illusions that the Astros are going to select Barry Bonds in the rule 5 draft.

    I simply think the level of talent currently on the bottom of the roster isn't where it has been in the past.

    Because of that, the Astros could potentially like a specific player and want to take a chance. That isn't much of a loss if it doesn't work out unlike most of the past several years where a potential impact player would be blocking that move.

    Remember- Yanier Diaz was available in 2021.
     
  10. Screaming Fist

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    Kessinger really interests me. Had a very good offensive season last year and while not known as a defensive whiz performed excellently in the limited opportunities he was given in Houston. In only like 80 innings spread all across the infield he put up +4 OAA including +2 OAA at SS. Indeed, with only that tiny sample he was third on the entire team in Fielding Run Value (ahead of Pena).
     
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  11. Snake Diggit

    Snake Diggit Member

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    I agree. His defense looked really really good. He clearly has the arm, glove, and instincts to be a solid SS and excellent 2B, and can also handle 3B and 1B. He only got 45 pa in the majors but he never looked overmatched, and his AAA numbers point to him being a viable MLB hitter; his underlying numbers highlight some upside to be an above average hitter.

    I thought the same thing about Hensley, so what do I know, but I would be ok with Houston selling high on Dubon if the return is high enough, because I am optimistic about Kessinger being a high quality utility option.
     
  12. IdStrosfan

    IdStrosfan Member

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    I agree about Kessinger and Dubon.

    Trading Dubon and letting Kessinger move into his role may be a way to fill a hole, save some small amount of salary, and sell high on a player who won't ever be a starter.

    If Dubon does remain on the team, the new manager needs to understand he is not a starting outfielder. I am OK with him being the primary b/u at 2B and SS and starting when Altuve or Pena need an off day or (shudder) if they get hurt.

    But I think Kessinger could be equally as good in that role and possibly has some upside Mauricio doesn't.
     
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  13. Snake Diggit

    Snake Diggit Member

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    Arizona Fall League ends this week, Astros have been a mixed bag:

    Dezenzo 779 ops
    Corona 729 ops
    Palma 284 ops
    Gaither 1.08 era
    Blubaugh 2.45 era
    Melendez 4.91 era
    Guilfoil 7.98 era
    Ullola 14.04 era

    Gaither and Blubaugh will be ones to watch next season as they could move quickly and possibly be in Houston by the end of 2024. Dezenzo and Corona haven’t been terrible but they needed dominant performances to have any real bearing on their stock.

    Palma, Guilfoil, Ullola based on these numbers will need to start back in Asheville.

    Melendez is still probably getting fully healthy.
     
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  14. Snake Diggit

    Snake Diggit Member

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    Projected 2024 Opening day lineups:

    AAA:
    CF Hamilton
    2B Leon
    SS Whitcomb
    1B Loperfido
    3B Wagner
    RF Julks
    LF Dirden
    DH Costes
    C Salazar
    Bench: Hensley, Berryhill, Stubbs, Arias
    Note: very deep lineup with upside although no prospects who project as future core big leaguers. The bench guys could be replaced with Andrew Knapp/Luis Aviles/Bligh Madrid types.

    AA:
    RF Melton
    CF Corona
    LF Barber
    3B Dezenzo
    DH Daniels
    1B Brewer
    2B Borden
    SS Stevens
    C Palma
    Bench: Sacco, Price, Correa, Sandle
    Note: high ceiling 1-6, bottom of the order and bench project as very weak. Middle infield and catcher are weak.

    High A:
    SS Matthews
    CF Cole
    RF Whitaker
    LF Fisher
    3B Gonzalez
    1B Johnson
    2B Williams
    DH Deming
    C Guillemette
    Bench: Rodriguez, Cerny, Encarnacion, Loftin
    Note: very good 1-4, very questionable 5-9. But overall a good/deep lineup in terms of High A projections.

    A:
    CF Gomez
    LF Baez
    DH Luciano
    3B Casserilla
    RF Ochoa
    SS Hernandez
    1B Balogh
    C Gaston
    2B Lorenzo
    Bench: Santander, Ferreras, Caldera, Nieves
    Note: lots of potential variance, especially on how aggressive they’ll be with recently added teenagers. Could be big time mid-season reinforcements (Jaworksy, Huezo, Bush, 2024 draft). Not a weak lineup, just very young.
     
  15. Nook

    Nook Member

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    I don't have a lot to add other than to say that Corona is someone with a lot of talent and skills that has a chance to be a very productive big league player if he puts it together. He has been handled very carefully by the Astros since they got him in trade, and players with his type of skill set sometimes take longer to develop.

    The Astros have worked very hard to simplify everything for him - from his swing to his approach.... while they have on the other end stressed letting his body fill out and add lean muscle. He is a very good fielder, and would be a centerfielder in the big leagues. He is capable of stealing 40-50 bases in the big leagues if he gets on base enough. He hits for enough power -and is increasing his walks.
     
  16. Hemingway

    Hemingway Member

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    Thanks to Snake and Nook. Love their minor league analysis.
     
  17. IdStrosfan

    IdStrosfan Member

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    The following minor leaguers have elected free agency and are no longer in the Astros organization

    Pitchers: Joe Record, Matt Rupenthal, Jake Cousins, Enoli Paredes, Heribert Garcia, Gerardo Bojorquez, Angel Macuare, Diosmerky Taveras, Ronny Garcia, Juan Pablo Lopez, Gerardo Cabrera

    Catchers: Andrew Knapp, Garrett Wolforth

    Infielders: Rylan Bannon, J.J. Matijevic, Luis Aviles Jr.
     
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  18. Snake Diggit

    Snake Diggit Member

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    Wow Macuare and Taveras are surprises. I did not know they were slated for free agency.
     
    #18 Snake Diggit, Nov 8, 2023
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2023
  19. Snake Diggit

    Snake Diggit Member

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    Expected 2024 opening day pitching staffs:
    AAA:
    SP: Arrighetti, Dubin, Whitley, Gordon, Kouba, Blanco, Tamarez, Solis
    RP: Mushinski, Gage, Martinez, Brown, Murray
    Note: Deep staff, no future ToR SP but a half dozen of those guys have elite potential as relievers and several could be quality BoR SP.

    AA:
    SP: Robaina, Blubaugh, Henley, Melendez, Gusto, A Brown, Bellozo, Chaidez, De Paula, Plumlee
    RP: Gaither, VanWey, McDonald
    Note: Probably underrated. Again no future core pieces but some good arms and nobody that makes you cringe.

    High A:
    SP: Taylor, Dombrowski, Knorr, DeVos, Guilfoil, Ullola, Fleury, Santos II, Urias, Mancini, Swanson
    RP: Carrasco, Miley
    Note: Deep staff, and a few of these guys could make a Hunter Brown level leap.

    A: Tredwell, Bloss, Pecko, Dixon, Hicks, Langford, True, Nezuh, Espinosa, Santa, Mejia, Guedez, Vega, Nodal, Chirinos, Gillis, R Rodriguez
    Note: They pretty much try everybody as starters at this level. Some very high ceiling prospects here but mostly unknowns, as is tradition with lower level pitching.
     
  20. IdStrosfan

    IdStrosfan Member

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    I have not heard a ruling from MLB on Whitley.

    Currently he must be on the 26 man active roster all next season. If the Astros want to send him to AAA then they must put him on waivers.

    They have asked for an additional option year, but I have not heard an answer.
     

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