Astros top prospects eagerly anticipate Spring Breakout

February 15th, 2024

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Astros top pitching prospect admits he keeps up with prospects on other clubs. It’s hard not to do when Arrighetti and other prospects are continually being ranked in various lists and often cross paths in the Minor Leagues.

The chance to face some of the top prospects in the Cardinals’ system is one of the aspects that makes Houston's March 17 Spring Breakout prospect game against St. Louis so intriguing. Arrighetti, the Astros’ No. 1 pitching prospect per MLB Pipeline, is in big league camp for the first time and anticipates participating in baseball’s newest event to feature prospects.

“I think it’s really cool,” Arrighetti said. “For the players, we get to get a pretty good idea of some of the other guys we’ll be seeing in the future, and for the fans it’s a good look at what you have in the Minor League system that you don’t always see on TV. I think it’s really cool that MLB is trying to put a little spotlight on the guys that are maybe the future of the game or have the potential to be. I think it will be a very cool experience.”

Houston outfield prospect took over the spot as the Astros’ top prospect following last year’s trade that sent Drew Gilbert and Ryan Clifford to the Mets in exchange for Justin Verlander. Melton looks forward to facing some of the Cardinals’ top pitching prospects, which could include Tink Hence (No. 64 in MLB Pipeline’s Top 100) and Tekoah Roby (No. 99).

“Obviously, with that being a new thing, it would be an interesting first year to see how everything goes,” Melton said. “Being around all the top guys … and kind of getting to connect and see their thoughts on the game would be a pretty cool experience.”

In December, MLB announced a four-day event called Spring Breakout in which each team will field a team of their top prospects to play exhibition games against another club’s top prospects while also creating in-park fan engagement opportunities centered around their up-and-coming players.

All 30 MLB clubs will assemble rosters filled with 20-25 of their best prospects to take on top Minor League or rookie talents from other organizations. Each team will play at least one seven-inning exhibition game as part of the initiative.

On March 17 in Jupiter, Fla., the Astros will play the Cardinals’ prospects at Roger Dean Stadium at 9:05 a.m. CT, which will be followed by a regular Grapefruit League between Houston and St. Louis at 12:05 a.m. CT. Some of Houston’s top prospects, including Arrighetti, Melton, Luis Baez (No. 2), Brice Matthews (No. 4) and Zach Dezenzo (No. 5), could take the field together that day.

“It’s exciting. It’s cool,” Astros pitching prospect Colton Gordon (No. 7) said. “I think it’s a great place to just kind of see where you are with everybody, but also meet guys with different clubs in the same position trying to make a name for themselves.”

The Automated Ball-Strike Challenge system will be in effect for games played in five Florida State League venues, including the Astros’ game against the Cardinals in Jupiter. Each team will be able to challenge at least three ball-strike calls. A successful overturn gets the challenge returned to the club, and that continues until the club has three unsuccessful challenges.

Links to all available Spring Breakout tickets can be found on the event’s homepage here. They can also be purchased directly on each club’s Spring Training tickets website. Of note: Select attendees will get a free pack of cards featuring Spring Breakout players.