Astros' new social account focuses on up-and-comers

March 23rd, 2024

This story was excerpted from Brian McTaggart's Astros Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- It began with a series of posts about Brice Matthews, the Astros’ first-round pick in last year’s MLB Draft, and has since featured dozens of players in the Astros’ system since it launched. Houston’s player development department on March 5 started a social media account on X to highlight talent across the system.

Astros assistant general manager Gavin Dickey said the account (@AstrosPlayerDev) was a collaborative effort from everybody in baseball operations and business operations, with a big assist from Houston’s social media department. The idea is to showcase the players in a Minor League system that’s been ranked among the worst in baseball in recent years but keeps churning out big league talent.

The Astros have had top-five finishers in the American League Rookie of the Year voting in nine of the past 10 seasons, including catcher Yainer Diaz, who finished fifth last year.

“It’s no secret that some third-party sites don’t think our farm system is the best, but we like our players,” Dickey said. “We thought it would be a good idea to showcase our players to the industry and also get them familiar with our fans.”

MLB Pipeline ranks the Astros’ farm system 27th in baseball, an improvement from its No. 30 ranking at midseason last year. The Astros don’t have a player in MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospects, but players like outfielder Jacob Melton (the top-ranked prospect in the Astros’ system), pitcher Spencer Arrighetti (No. 3) and Matthews (No. 4) are among Houston’s top prospects and are highly regarded across the industry.

Many other players with lower profiles have been featured on the feed, with clips of highlights, often from a fixed camera, from Minor League games on the back fields that list stats, exit velocities, pitch speeds, etc.

A Friday post highlighted pitching prospect Ryan Gusto. A March 19 post showed pitcher Misael Tamarez’s six strikeouts in a game.

“We have a bunch of camera angles here in Spring Training and even at the facility that we use in player development, just like every other team, I’m sure,” Dickey said. “We can also provide angles from defensive plays that fans may not capture on the live feed.”

Many other clubs have similar accounts, and Dickey said the reception from the players has been good. The account has more than 1,600 followers.

“I see them retweeting the stuff, and I see players’ moms and dads retweeting and sharing stuff,” he said.

“We obviously shared the site with all of our players. They like the content, I’m sure.”

When the season starts, the account will grow. Dickey said it will post highlights from the team’s Minor League affiliates, as well as expand the content to things like question-and-answer sessions with prospects so fans get to learn more about their personalities.

“It’s one thing to see the box scores or see the names of this prospect, and you never really see what he can actually do,” Dickey said.

“Hopefully, we’ll continue to be picking at the back of the Draft, so some of our picks aren’t the most famous guys or we’re spending a lot of money on guys in Latin America, and it may be two years before they come over to the States, so you never get to see them actually play. That was the driving force behind it originally.”