Houston Astros 2020 Top-25 Prospects
The Houston Astros have become one of the most talked-about teams in all of North American sports. From years of mediocrity that built up their once-dominant farm system, to becoming one of the most dominant teams in baseball, and lately, under the microscope for their sign-stealing ways, the Astros are a hot conversational piece. Notice how I said “once-dominant” farm system? When all of that talent you compiled during the bad years is now up with the big club, you’re now left with a bottom-10 farm system. That’s not necessarily a bad thing when that means guys like Carlos Correa, George Springer, Yordan Alvarez, and others are in your lineup. But is does leave us with an underwhelming top-25 Houston Astros prospects list.
Now, with that being said, there are plenty of sneaky-good dynasty targets here, especially in the 3-10 range. So even though they might not be future elite fantasy options, some of these power/speed threats can be had for fairly cheap in dynasty leagues and can provide solid value for you moving forward.
Overall System Grade: D+
Minor League Affiliates
Triple-A: Round Rock – Pacific Coast League
Double-A: Corpus Christi – Texas League
Advanced Single-A: Fayetteville – Carolina League
Low Single-A: Quad Cities – Midwest League
Short Single-A: Tri-City – New York-Penn League
Rookie: Gulf Coast League (1), Dominican Summer League (1)
All other team top-25 prospect rankings can be found here.
If you aren’t playing your dynasty leagues on Fantrax, you’re missing out on the deepest player pool and most customization around. Just starting out in a dynasty league? Then check out Eric Cross’ Top-250 prospects, Top-300 Dynasty League Rankings, & 2019 FYPD/J2 Rankings.
Also, make sure to check out the Fantrax Dynasty Baseball Podcast weekly with Nathan Dokken, Van Lee, and Ron Rigney!
Top-25 Houston Astros Prospects – 2020
1. Forrest Whitley, RHP
As the 2019 season got underway, many, myself included, considered Forrest Whitley to be the top pitching prospect in the game. And after finishing the 2018 season at Double-A, a 2019 MLB debut looked to be in the cards for the big right-hander. Not so fast. Injuries and command/control issues plagued Whitley for the entire 2019 season, causing the ugly stat line you see above. Not only was Whitley struggling mightly to throw strikes and limit the free passes, but he also wasn’t able to locate any of his pitches consistently in general. This caused him to get hit hard every outing and look nothing like the Whitley we had come to know and love in dynasty leagues.
Take everything I just said and erase it from your memory. Just pretend 2019 didn’t even happen for Whitley. Yes, it was as rough as rough can be, but his prospect stock has not dropped one bit. We need to remember why Whitley was considered the top pitching prospect in the game coming into 2019. When you imagine an ace-caliber pitcher in your mind, a pitcher like Whitley is probably what pops up. Standing in at 6’7, Whitley’s extension and higher 3/4 arm slot create a nice downward plane on his mid to upper-90’s riding fastball and he’s added a cutter to the mix in the low-90’s that flashes plus potential.
Forrest Whitley was DOMINANT tonight.
Here's a look at those 🔥 punchouts: pic.twitter.com/VCstSqkS63
— Corpus Christi Hooks (@cchooks) August 29, 2019
A trio of secondaries compliment the two heaters. Pick your poison here as all three project as plus offerings with sharp bite on the curveball and slider, and solid fade, tumble, and velocity separation on the changeup. Let’s just say his cutter is not plus, that’s still four plus pitches at Whitley’s disposal and a 5th that will at least be Major League average. Not one, not two, not three…
Listen carefully to this next part: Buy low on Whitley and do it quick. He looked very good out in the Arizona Fall League and is likely in store for a major bounceback campaign in 2020. This is still arguably the best pitching prospect in the game and a future ace in the making. As long as he can stay healthy and get some extended mound time in next season, I anticipate the command coming back around.
2. Abraham Toro, 3B
The drop from #1 to #2 in this system is the most drastic you’ll see in any of these top-25’s this offseason. That’s no slight to Abraham Toro at all, who is a very good prospect in his own right. But at the same time, his upside isn’t as high as most #2 guys in each system and he is thoroughly blocked in Houston. The entire Houston starting infield is under contract through at least 2021 (Correa) and both Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve are under contract through the 2024 season.
Obviously, he’s not going to unseat any of the aforementioned trio any time soon, so if Toro wants to play even just 2-3 times a week, a super-utility role is the way to go. I know, not exactly words his dynasty owners want to hear. But as we all know, Correa is one swing away from an IL stint at all times. If that happens in 2020, Bregman can move to short while Toro mans the hot corner, just like they did when Correa was out late in the 2019 season.
But enough about that. Let’s talk about Toro’s tools and how he can be a solid offensive asset for years to come. While Toro is athletic and versatile enough to play all infield positions outside of shortstop, he’s not the quickest guy in the world with average at best foot speed. Maybe, just maybe, he gets into double-digit steals, but is mostly likely a 5-8 SB threat going forward. But you want him for his bat. After a mostly uninspiring minor league career, Toro broke out in 2019, hitting .324 with 31 doubles and 17 home runs in 114 games. Most of that was in Double-A so hush with your “Triple-A inflation” babble.
With all that being said, I project Toro as a solid Major League hitter and fantasy player, but not a star. His average to above-average contact skills and raw power should translate into something in the vicinity of .270-.280/20 with a strong OBP due to his rock-solid plate discipline, but I’m skeptical there’s any upside for more than that. Add in a handful of steals and solid counting stats due to being in Houston, and you have a well-rounded fantasy asset, albeit, one with a limited ceiling. Don’t go hog wild here, he’s not in my top-100 overall.
3. Freudis Nova, SS/2B/3B
Honestly, if I was ranking on strictly upside alone, Freudis Nova would be ahead of Toro. The 19-year-old Dominican infielder might even have the highest offensive upside of any current Houston prospect. But at the same time, he’s still incredibly raw and needs a few more years of minor league seasoning before he’ll be ready for the Majors. Houston can afford to take it very slowly with Nova too, as they have their infield locked up for the next few years, as I mentioned above.
What makes Nova such an intriguing offensive prospect is his power/speed upside. Currently listed at 6’1/180, Nova has already added some strength after signing and still has a little physical projection remaining. It’s not outlandish to project him for plus raw power when it’s all said and done. From the right side of the plate, Nova has exhibited plus bat speed thanks to quick hands, but his hand load is a tad extended and not overly fluid. I would love to see that cleaned up a bit, but then again, I don’t think it will be a major hindrance to him either. Nova’s above-average to plus contact skills and feel for the barrel should translate into fairly high averages down the road to go along with 20-plus home runs annually.
— Prospects Live (@ProspectsLive) August 6, 2019
Last but not least, we have Nova’s plus speed. If he continues to add bulk, I’d anticipate him losing a step, but there should still be enough speed here to settle in the 15-20 SB range annually. With his defensive skills, versatility, and strong throwing arm, Nova saw time at three different infield positions in 2019 and could fit in at all three long-term. If Houston decides to let Correa walk, Nova might be the heir-apparent at shortstop.
4. Jordan Brewer, OF
For all of you looking for some under the radar talent in 2019 FYPDs, listen up. If anyone can match or exceed Nova’s offensive upside, it’s Jordan Brewer. After two years of JuCo ball, Brewer transferred to the University of Michigan where he was arguably the Wolverines’ best overall player in 2019. His breakout season there vaulted Brewer into early-round consideration and the Astros came calling in 3rd-rounder this past June.
First and foremost, Brewer has speed for days. A borderline double-plus runner, Brewer put that speed on display at Michigan with 24 steals in just 57 games while only getting caught four times. With his combination of raw speed and instincts on the bases, 30-plus steals annually is very attainable. He’s much more than just a speedster too. Brewer has displayed incredible bat speed from the right side with a compact right-handed that generates natural loft. He’ll never be a masher, but with his bat speed and raw power, 15-20 homers feels about right.
It will all be up to how well is contact skills progress that will determine just how must of an offensive force he can be. At present, I’d grade his overall hit tool as average and there’s some pre-pitch movement I’d love to see him reign in. But all in all, I do think Brewer hits for enough average to allow his power/speed profile to flourish.
5. Dauri Lorenzo, SS
If you’re looking for the player in this system that could be a major riser on prospect lists over the next year or two, you found him. The Astros signed switch-hitting shortstop, Dauri Lorenzo, to a $1.8m contract out of the Dominican Republic on the opening day of the 2019/20 International signing period. Lorenzo is an athletic shortstop with plus speed upside and sneaky-good power for his age and size. At 6’1/160, Lorenzo has already flashed some intriguing power from both sides of the plate with a swing that produces natural backspin and loft due to a slight uppercut swing path. His mechanics are fairly clean with plus bat speed from both sides, but from what I’ve seen, he looks more fluid from the right side.
Meet Dauri Lorenzo, the Astros' top international signing this year.
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) December 3, 2019
With some likely added bulk, we could be looking at a 55-hit, 60-power, 55-speed shortstop with significant offensive upside across the board. With a ton of physical projection left, I do question whether he stays at shortstop longterm. He’s an adequate defender there now, but if he loses range with added bulk, a move to the hot corner might be in store. Regardless of where his defensive home is, Lorenzo has the offensive tools to make an impact.
6. Tyler Ivey, RHP
Although his upside isn’t on the same level as other arms in this system, it’s fair to say that Tyler Ivey likely has the highest floor. Drafted in the 3rd round back in 2018 out of Texas A&M, Ivey features a solid four-pitch arsenal with all four projecting as Major League average or better. He’s another taller right-hander at 6’4 with an athletic delivery and high 3/4 arm slot. There is some effort and moving parts throughout, including a bigger leg kick, but Ivey has been able to maintain his mechanics and repeat his delivery so far. Still would love to see him quiet that down a bit though.
The arsenal consists of a low 90’s fastball with riding life that he commands well and mixes in a plus curveball with good shape in the high-70’s as his best secondary. Rounding out the arsenal is a slider and changeup, with the changeup flashing above-average with fade. Ivey will never blow anyone away, but he’s found plenty of success so far in the minors, lowering his ERA each year and consistently posting high strikeout rates. Ivey looks the part of a #4 starter with the upside for a little more. Don’t sleep on him in dynasty leagues.
7. Colin Barber, OF
I’m going to go on the record here and say that the Astros drafting Colin Barber with the second to last pick in the fourth round is going to prove to be a steal in a year or two. A high school bat from California, Barber’s signing bonus was an even $1m, over double the slot value for the pick. The Astros are confident in his abilites, I’m confident in his abilities, and soon enough, I believe Barber will be shooting way up prospect rankings thanks to an intriguing offensive profile.
Headlining that offensive profile is Barber’s plus speed and above-average to plus raw power. He’s still learning how to get to that raw power consistently in games, but there’s definitely plenty of power upside to tap into and still a little bit of physical projection left on his 6′ frame. However, the biggest question surrounding Barber is if he can develop his hit tool to fully unleash that power/speed profile. The approach isn’t the problem as Barber walks at a high rate, although, I’d love to see him cut down the swing and miss tendencies a little bit. The tools are certainly there to do so, and honestly, I’m a big fan of Barber’s swing. It’s simple, yet explosive with lightning-quick hands and bat speed to go along with strong hip rotation that creates solid torque. If the hit tool develops, watch out.
8. Jeremy Pena, SS
I’ll admit, I wasn’t a believer in Jeremy Pena’s offensive abilities coming out of the 2018 draft. He was drafted as a defense-first shortstop that had some offensive tools, but was much less advanced on that side of things. That’s still the case, but Pena has made strides at the plate to the point where his offensive profile makes him worth considering in dynasty leagues. Plus, his defensive skills will likely carry him to the Majors as long as he hits enough, which gives Pena a solid floor.
At the plate, Pena has exhibited above-average bat speed from the right side with a compact and simple swing. Pena’s bat speed comes from quick hands and a surprisingly strong lower half given his size. There’s not a ton of raw power here, but enough to reach double-digit homers annually. Pena is definitely contact over power at the plate and has shown that he can limit his strikeouts well and has the ability to use the entire field well. Throw in his above-average to plus speed and you have a nifty little .270/10/20 profile down the road. Plus, he went to the University of Maine. We can play baseball up here too!
9. Bryan Abreu, RHP
Bryan Abreu was a tough arm to rank for me. The main reason for that is his future role is still up in the air. Following a breakout 2018 season when he posted a 1.49 ERA, Abreu came back to Earth in 2019 with an ERA approaching five. Still, the Astros needed a bullpen arm down the stretch and promoted him from Double-A anyway. Who needs Triple-A, right? Abreu pitched very well out of the pen in his limited time, which just adds fuel to the fire for those that project him as a reliever. Even in that breakout 2018 campaign I mentioned, half of his 14 appearances came out of the bullpen.
The reason why Abreu’s future role is still up in the air is due to his below-average command/control and changeup. Abreu will usually sit in the 93-96 mph range in starts and can add a tick or two out of the bullpen where he averaged 95.1 mph during his stint with the Astros. There’s some nice armside life on the pitch as well, but Abreu’s sub par command can limit the overall effectiveness of his heater at times. The same can be said for his entire arsenal really. When his command is there, Abreu has two of the best breaking balls in the system, especially his big breaking curveball.
If he can develop his changeup and refine his command, Abreu has the upside of a high-K mid-rotation arm. But honestly, it’s looking more and more likely that Abreu and his FB/CB/SL combination are headed for the pen where he could develop into a late-inning weapon.
10. Jose Urquidy, RHP
After finishing the season strong in Houston and getting a surprise start in the World Series, there’s some helium behind Jose Urquidy right now in the prospect world. I can understand why, but let’s not forget that the ceiling here is rather limited. This isn’t a frontline starter in the making or even a mid-rotation arm as far as I’m concerned. With his combination of stuff, command, control, and pitchability, Urquidy projects as a #4 or #5 starter for me. Here’s why.
The arsenal runs four deep, but I’m not sure I’d consider any as plus. If anything, his mid-80’s changeup is borderline plus with both fade and tumble. Urquidy sits in the low-90’s with some armside run on his fastball, topping out around 95 and will also mix in an upper-70’s curveball and a low-80’s slider that will morph into a mid-80’s cutter at times. Both of those breaking balls lack consistency, which is a big reason why I’m not willing to throw the “mid-rotation” tag next to Urquidy’s name. His slider/cutter did flash above-average at times with late break, so there’s still some hope that he can take another step forward. The command and control are definitely there, which helps.
11. Luis Santana, 2B
I’ve been fairly high on Luis Santana for a couple of years now dating back to his time in the New York Mets system. Santana reminds me of a younger Willie Calhoun with his smaller 5’8/175 frame, but he doesn’t nearly have the same power upside that Calhoun has. He sure can match him in the contact department though. Santana uses a contact over power approach from the right side with a quick and compact swing. The mechanics are clean with moderate load and a direct swing path through the zone. Santana’s exceptionally quick hands create plenty of bat speed, allowing him to lace the ball all over the field.
Luis Santana, 2B, #Astros, lines a single as part of a two hit day for the @ValleyCats in Auburn, NY. Santana was acquired from the Mets in the J.D. Davis trade after hitting .348/.446/.471 in the Appy League in ‘18. The 20 y/o Santana has also played at AA in ‘19. #NYPennLeague pic.twitter.com/gE6Uaa9BsK
While he hits the ball hard consistently, it’s more of the line-drive variety. Santana possesses below-average raw power and doesn’t generate much loft with his swing either, so he’s likely capped in the 10-12 range longterm. So yeah, nowhere near the same upside as Calhoun in the power department, but Santana can make up for a little of that with at least average foot speed and 15-20 steal upside. A 10/15 power/speed profile isn’t exactly the most desirable thing around, but when you add in a .280-plus average and a sound plate approach, there’s definitely a little bit of intrigue here and a solid floor to work from.
12. Yohander Martinez, SS/3B
Still a relatively unknown prospect to the general masses, Yohander Martinez excelled in the Dominican Summer League this year, hitting .313 with a .439 OBP (10th highest in DSL), and 19 steals in 66 games. Plus contact skills, plus speed, and an advance plate approach for his age are what give Martinez intrigue in dynasty leagues. From the right side, Martinez uses a compact swing with plenty of bat speed. His swing is simple without many moving parts and he’s shown a good feel for the barrel and the strike zone. This is definitely a hit over power profile with minimal future power projection, but his AVG/OBP/SB upside should be able to offset the handful of home runs he provides. Martinez is a plus runner with 25-plus steal upside but is still very raw as a base stealer. Keep him in the back of your mind for deeper dynasty leagues.
13. Korey Lee, C
An interesting first-round pick this past June, Korey Lee possesses two plus tools with the other three grading as below-average. Both of those plus tools are strength-based in his raw power and rocket throwing arm from behind the plate. But the problem is, I’m not sure Lee hit’s for enough average to ever be a starting-caliber fantasy catcher. In real life, Lee is a solid prospect due to his adequate defense behind the plate and the strong throwing arm I mentioned. Those have always and will always have plenty of value to MLB teams. Good catching is hard to find and Lee has a chance to stick behind the plate longterm. But in our fantasy world, those types are less appealing.
Now, that’s not to say Lee can’t develop into a catcher you target in two-catcher leagues or AL-Only formats. While the contact skills grade as below average, he’s far from a black hole there. Lee hit .268 during his first taste of pro ball with a 10.8% walk rate and 18.9% strikeout rate. Hitting .268 moving forward would be considered a best-case scenario for him though. The plate approach is sound and adds value in OBP formats, but I’m not projecting him to hit more than .240 or so to pair with a 20-homer ceiling and maybe five steals or so due to his instincts on the bases. Solid prospect, but not a fantasy star in the making.
14. Luis Garcia, RHP
I’m sure some of you are groaning about another Luis Garcia to keep track of. But hey, at least this one is a pitcher which makes things easier. A 2017 international signing out of Venezuela for a mere $20K, Garcia enjoyed a strong 2019 campaign with a 2.98 ERA and 13.9 K/9 in 108.2 innings split between the Midwest League (A) and Carolina League (A+). Neither of those two stats are new for Garcia who has posted a low ERA and high strikeout rate at every level thus far. His success to date is a big reason why he was selected 365th overall in the recently concluded ProspectMock480 we conducted. He was even the 2nd Luis Garcia drafted, behind the Washington one and ahead of the Philly one.
Since being signed in 2017, Garcia has steadily added velocity and now sits in the low to mid 90’s consistently with some armside life. Offsetting the heater is a trio of secondaries, with his changeup being the best of the bunch. It’s a borderline plus offering with good movement and velocity separation. Both breaking balls are less advanced, but Garcia’s slider has flashed above-average at times. Even with just average breaking balls, Garcia’s overall arsenal should play fine in a starting role. However, his below-average command/control might hold him back against more advanced competition.
15. Cristian Javier, RHP
Although their arsenals are different, Cristian Javier has found similar success in his minor league career and possesses a similar upside longterm. Javier has excelled at every level he’s pitched at since signing beginning his professional career in the DSL back in 2015, including two starts in the PCL to end the 2019 season. A high-spin fastball in the low-90’s and borderline plus curveball are the main reasons for his success. Both pitches grade as above-average and flash plus at times due to their movement. Javier also features a slider that flashed above-average at times as well and a fringy changeup that is well behind the rest of the arsenal. And like with Garcia, below-average command and control (along with the changeup) might limit his long-term upside and/or force a move to the bullpen.
16. Cal Stevenson, OF
Since he was drafted in the 10th round of the 2018 draft out of the University of Arizona, all Cal Stevenson has done is walk 133 times in 172 games for a robust 17.3% walk rate. Oh yeah, he’s also hit .315 with a .433 OBP, swiped 34 bags, and struck out less than he walked by a considerable margin. Yes, he’s been old for each level he’s been at, but those numbers are impressive however you slice and dice them, especially the plate approach.
A 17.3% walk rate doesn’t just show up out of nowhere. This type of approach, in addition to his above-average contact skills, should allow Stevenson to continue posting a high AVG/OBP combo, even at the higher levels. With well below-average raw power and a swing that lacks loft, I wouldn’t expect more than a handful of home runs each season, but the rest of the offensive package certainly has appeal in the fantasy world.
17. Jairo Solis, RHP
Without question, Jairo Solis is one of the biggest risk/reward pitchers in this system. Signed back in 2016 out of Venezuela, Solis features an enticing three-pitch mix with the potential for two plus pitches in his low-90’s riding fastball and sharp slider with two-plane break. He’s also shown a good feel for a fading changeup that has flashed above average at times, a great neutralizer against left-handed batters. But unfortunately, Solis missed all of the 2019 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery and was struggling with both his command and control before the surgery. He’ll be interesting to follow in 2020 as Solis has the upside to shoot way up these rankings with a solid return to the mound.
18. Taylor Jones, 1B/OF
Even though he was just a 19th-round draft pick back in 2016, Taylor Jones always had some intrigue surrounding him due to his gargantuan 6’7 frame. With that frame came plenty of raw power, but Jones wasn’t able to consistently tap into it until 2018. Jones hit 32 doubles and 18 home runs in 123 games that season and followed it up with another 28 doubles and 22 home runs in 125 PCL games in 2019. Not only was Jones’ power showing up, but he was hitting for average as well. After hitting .222 in 2017, Jones improved drastically to a .281 mark in 2018 and .291 last season.
Now, is Jones a .222 hitter? No. Is he a .291 hitter? Also no. Despite long levers from his big frame creating a longer swing, Jones has done a fairly good job at limiting his strikeouts and can draw a fair amount of walks as well. But his contact skills should put him somewhere in the middle of the spectrum in the .250-.260 range more often than not with the upside for 25-plus homers over a full season. That’s nice and all, but Jones is thoroughly blocked in the outfield and at first base. It’s going to take a trade or an injury for Jones to see consistent playing time in Houston any time soon. He also turned 26 today (December 6th), so the clock is ticking.
19. Grae Kessinger, SS, 2B, 3B
This will likely be the easiest write-up in this top-25. Grae Kessinger does one thing particularly well: hit. His defense at shortstop is adequate enough and there’s some average foot speed as well, but nobody will mistake him for a speedster or defensive stalwart any time soon. Kessinger also doesn’t possess a ton of power either and lacks loft in his swing. Maybe, just maybe, he can have some 10/20 seasons at peak to go along with what should be a high batting average and solid OBP if he continues to show the same contact skills moving forward. In addition to shortstop, Kessinger also saw time at second base and the hot corner as well. The Astros saw something in him to draft him in the 2nd round, so maybe they see some additional upside that I don’t. We shall see.
20. Brandon Bielak, RHP
Although he’ll never wow anyone with his arsenal, Brandon Bielak has the arsenal, command, and control to stick as a starter longterm. None of his four pitches project as plus, however, all four do grade as 50 or 55-grade offerings, starting with his average to above-average low-90’s fastball with life. Offsetting that is a curveball, slider, and circle-change, all of which flash above-average and take turns as his best secondary offering outing to outing. Although none of them are considered plus pitches, Bielak has shown a good feel for his entire arsenal and does a great job mixes his pitches to keep opposing hitters off balance. He projects as a back-end starter, with the upside of a #4.
Brandon Bielak side at Hodgetown. pic.twitter.com/WXUZUIVfuQ
— Corpus Christi Hooks (@cchooks) April 11, 2019
21. Alex McKenna, OF
After a strong professional debut in 2018, Alex McKenna struggled in his first taste of full-season Single-A in 2019. His enticing power/speed profile was nearly non-existent, hitting one lone home runs in 65 games and getting caught in over half of his 16 stolen base attempts. But that power/speed profile is what keeps him on this list, at least for now.
From the right side of the plate, McKenna possesses above-average raw power but lacks loft in his swing. He’s been hovering around a 34% fly-ball rate at every level and will need to start driving the ball in the air if he wants to fully capitalize on his raw power potential. If he can, there’s a 20/20 ceiling here when you factor in his above-average to plus speed as well. Another question is whether he’ll hit enough to develop into a Major league regular. The 2020 season should be a very telling one for McKenna as a prospect.
22. Garrett Stubbs, C
Sometimes we have players that make this list due to the fact that they’re going to have a Major League role due to their defense. Case in point, Garrett Stubbs. With above-average defense and a strong throwing arm, Stubbs is likely going to have a fairly long Major League career as long as he’s not a total black hole at the plate. And from what I’ve seen of him, I don’t believe that will be the case. Whether he’s a starter or a back-up is another question though.
Stubbs has always displayed an advanced plate approach with high walk rates, but the batting average has fluctuated from .232 to .304 in his career. There’s minimal power upside here, but Stubbs is athletic with solid speed for a catcher, allowing him to chip in double-digit steals in three of his four minor league seasons. And the one season he didn’t reach double-digits was 2018 when he still had six in just 84 games. If given enough playing time, Stubbs could carve out some nice fantasy value in two-catcher leagues or AL-Only formats. After ending the season with Houston, it appears that Stubbs should open 2020 in at least a back-up catcher role for the Astros.
23. Kenedy Corona, OF
Without question, this is the least amount of time between the team I’m writing about acquiring a player and their top-25 article publishing. The Astros literally acquired Kenedy Corona less than 24 hours ago in the Jake Marisnick trade with the New York Mets along with left-hander Blake Taylor. Corona was an older international signing earlier in 2019, but has a nice all-around offensive skill set and plate approach for his age. Across three levels in 2019, Corona combined to hit .301 with 23 extra-base hits, five home runs, and 19 steals in 63 games. Most of that was in the GCL where he spent 42 games before ending his debut season with a six-game stint in the NYPL. You always need to take rookie ball numbers with a grain of salt, especially when the prospect is 19. However, the offensive tools Corona has are worth monitoring.
Corona begins with his hands lower in a slightly crouched over stance. From what I’ve seen, he has above-average bat speed, but his swing can get a tad long at times due to a deeper hand load. While smaller in stature, Corona packs a punch at the plate with enough raw power to get into the 10-15 HR range down the road. Plus speed is Corona’s most notable tool, which has helped him both on the bases and in the outfield. It will be interesting to see how he handles Single-A in 2020 in what will be his age 20 season.
Phew, got through that without making one Corona beer joke.
24. Enoli Paredes, RHP
Man, there are some command and control issues in this system. We already discussed several earlier in this list and now we have another in Enoli Paredes. The reason why Paredes is several spots lower than guys like Solis and Garcia is the fact that he’s a couple of years older and still hasn’t advanced past Double-A. In fact, he didn’t even make it to Double-A until the middle of 2019. Paredes will sit in the low to mid-90’s with his fastball and can get up into the upper-90’s at times. He’ll mix in an above-average to plus slider with two-plane break in the lower-80’s and has shown some feel for a changeup. But like I mentioned above, the command and control just aren’t there consistently. That, plus his smaller build leads me to project him as a bullpen arm moving forward.
25. Jayson Schroeder, RHP
The 2019 season was one to forget for Jayson Schroeder. After a solid showing in the GCL in 2018, Houston gave him a few starts in the Single-A Midwest League to open 2019. Three rough outings later and he was bumped down to the NYPL when that season began. His six starts there didn’t go much better with Schroeder walking anything with a pulse. Even a late-season stint in the GCL when he didn’t allow a run in 6.1 innings still brought five walks. The stuff is there for Schroeder to develop into a back-end mid-rotation arm with a low-90’s sinking fastball, plus upper-70’s curveball, and the makings of a serviceable changeup, but Schroeder’s command and control issues will need some serious improvement before he can make strides towards reaching that upside.
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