Loperfido set to join Astros ahead of series with Guards

April 29th, 2024

MEXICO CITY -- Joey Loperfido, the hot-hitting prospect who slugged his Minor League-leading 13th homer of the season on Sunday for Triple-A Sugar Land, will join the Astros on Tuesday at Minute Maid Park.

Loperfido said Space Cowboys manager Mickey Storey informed the team in a meeting following Sunday’s 10-5 win at Reno that Houston’s sixth-ranked prospect was headed to the big leagues. The Astros officially announced on Monday that Loperfido will indeed be promoted.

Loperfido is slashing .287/.393/.713 in 101 at-bats for Sugar Land, with 37 strikeouts and 16 walks. He went 2-for-3 with a homer and two walks on Sunday as the starting center fielder. He’s started 15 games in center, three in left and seven at first base.

“We had a good week here and we came back and won today, and Mickey got up in front of everybody and just said, ‘Hey boys, fired up about that win. Let’s keep it rolling to El Paso,’” Loperfido said. “And he said, ‘but we’re going to be rolling with one less guy.’

He just kind of said, ‘It was a matter of time. We’re so proud of you, but Joey you’re going to the big leagues.’ It hit me like a ton of bricks. It was awesome.”

The arrival of Loperfido, a left-handed bat, could have a major effect on Houston’s roster. The Astros are the only team in the Major Leagues without a home run by a first baseman with veteran José Abreu having a woeful April (.099/.156/.113) and Jon Singleton not providing any power.

Loperfido’s presence at first base would make the Astros much more athletic defensively, as well.

Of course, Abreu is in the second year of a three-year, $58.5 million deal, so designating him for assignment would have huge financial ramifications.

Loperfido also isn’t on the 40-man roster, so a corresponding move would have to be made to open a spot on the 26-man. Houston played with 27 players in sweeping the Rockies in the Mexico City Series this weekend after adding left-fielder/first baseman Trey Cabbage for two games, so they’ll have to make a move to get to 26 players prior to Tuesday’s series opener against Cleveland.

As for Loperfido, he maintained he didn’t put a timestamp on when he might get called to the Major Leagues despite his stellar spring and strong start for Sugar Land. His time finally came, and he called his parents, sister and friends to tell them the news.

“I got a little emotional telling my parents, just ‘cause they’ve been so supportive of me every step of the way,” he said. “Since I was a little kid, this is what I wanted to do and they’ve worked really hard to let my sister and I pick whatever we wanted to do, and pursue it and be passionate about it. It was awesome to be able to tell them.”

When Loperfido was one of the final camp cuts in March, he said that he had reached his goal of putting himself in a position to make an impact on the big league club. He did that with not only the way he played, but how he fit into a veteran clubhouse seamlessly. He’s not going to change now.

“I think for me to go up there and get outside of that and get outside of what I know I can do, everyday just being me, I think that would be a disservice to myself,” Loperfido said. “Just play my game and play hard.

“I’m fortunate to have a clubhouse of a lot of veteran leadership and a lot of really talented guys. It will be nice to get back to them.”