Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Astros invite prospect Whitley, 21 others to camp

Group of 22 includes 11 pitchers, three catchers, six infielders and two outfielders
January 22, 2019

HOUSTON -- The Houston Astros announced their 2019 non-roster invites to Major League Spring Training today, which includes 11 pitchers, three catchers, six infielders and two outfielders for a total of 22 players. The announcement was made by Astros President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Jeff Luhnow.The group of

HOUSTON -- The Houston Astros announced their 2019 non-roster invites to Major League Spring Training today, which includes 11 pitchers, three catchers, six infielders and two outfielders for a total of 22 players. The announcement was made by Astros President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Jeff Luhnow.
The group of 22 non-roster invites at Major League camp will be OF Yordan Alvarez, RHP Brandon Bielak, RHP Akeem Bostick, RHP J.B. Bukauskas, OF Ronnie Dawson, IF Alex De Goti, LHP Kent Emanuel, RHP Ryan Hartman, RHP Jose Luis Hernandez, IF Taylor Jones, RHP Corbin Martin, IF Jack Mayfield, RHP Brendan McCurry, RHP Erasmo Pinales, C Lorenzo Quintana, C Jamie Ritchie, C Chuckie Robinson, IF Josh Rojas, RHP Cy Sneed, IF Nick Tanielu, IF Abraham Toro and RHP Forrest Whitley.
Astros' Top 30 prospects
Alvarez, 21, hit .293 (98x335) with 21 doubles, 20 home runs and 74 RBI in 88 games combined between Triple A Fresno (45g) and Double A Corpus Christi (43g) in 2018. Considered a top 100 prospect in baseball, the native Cuban played for the World Team in the 2018 Futures Game and currently checks in as the No. 3 prospect in the Astros system, per Baseball America. The left-handed hitting outfielder played primarily left field in 2018, making 63 starts at the position, but also appeared in five games at first base. The 2019 season will be his fourth with the Astros after being acquired via trade from the Dodgers in exchange for RHP Josh Fields on Aug. 1, 2016.

Bielak, 22, continued his minor league successes in 2018, posting a 7-8 record and a 2.23 ERA (29ER/117IP) in 25 games (17 starts) between Corpus Christi (11g) and Class A Advanced Buies Creek (14g), where he was named a Carolina League All-Star. He combined for 131 strikeouts in 117.0 innings, good for a 10.08 strikeouts per 9.0 ratio. In his two professional seasons since being drafted by the Astros in the 11th round of the 2017 draft out of Notre Dame, Bielak has posted a 1.91 ERA (32ER/150.2IP) with 173 strikeouts in 35 games (21 starts).
Bostick, 23, posted a 3.67 ERA (40ER/98IP) in 22 games (16 starts) combined between Fresno (1g) and Corpus Christi (21g) last season. He impressed this offseason, working to a 2.81 ERA (10ER/32IP) in eight starts for Anzoategui in the Venezuelan Winter League. A former second-round pick by the Rangers in the 2013 draft, Bostick was acquired by the Astros in exchange for C Carlos Corporan on Jan. 21, 2015.
Bukauskas, 22, combined to go 4-2 with a 2.14 ERA (14ER/59IP) in 14 regular season starts across five levels in the Astros minor league system last season. He topped out at Double A, making two starts for the Hooks, including one playoff start, posting a 0.75 ERA (1ER/12IP) with 15 strikeouts. Drafted by the Astros with the 15th overall selection in the 2017 draft, Bukauskas checks in as the Astros No. 6 prospect, per Baseball America.

Dawson, 23, combined to hit .258 (115x446) with 24 doubles, 16 home runs, 63 RBI and 35 stolen bases in 119 games in 2018 between Corpus Christi (29g) and Buies Creek (90g), where he was a Carolina League All-Star. The left-handed hitting outfielder played the majority of his season in center field, making 111 starts at the position. Originally a second-round pick by the Astros in the 2016 draft out of Ohio State, the 2019 season will be his fourth professional campaign.
De Goti, 24, split his 2018 season between Fresno (27g) and Corpus Christi (98g), combining to hit .283 (128x452) with 29 doubles, 12 home runs and 62 RBI in 125 games. He spent the majority of his season with the Hooks, where he was named a Texas League All-Star. De Goti impressed as a minor league call-up in Major League camp last season, hitting .286 (8x28) with two doubles and a home run in 20 Spring Training games. Primarily a shortstop, De Goti was originally drafted by the Astros in the 15th round of the 2016 draft.
Emanuel, 26, spent his entire season with Fresno in 2018, going 5-4 with a 5.59 ERA (52ER/83.2IP) in 31 games (10 starts). For the first time in his career, he posted over a strikeout per inning in a full season, accumulating 86 strikeouts in 83.2 innings pitched. Emanuel has spent six seasons (2013-18) in the Astros minor league system since being selected by the Astros in the 3rd round of the 2013 draft.
Hartman, 24, spent his entire 2018 season at Corpus Christi, where he was named a Texas League All-Star and a Double A All-Star by Baseball America. He finished his campaign with an 11-4 record and a 2.69 ERA (36ER/120.2IP) in 25 games (18 starts), while posting 143 strikeouts in 120.2 innings pitched. Originally a ninth-round pick by the Astros out of Tennessee Wesleyan in 2016, Hartman is entering his fourth professional season.
Hernandez, 23, went 2-2 with a 2.35 ERA (15ER/57.1IP) in 13 games (11 starts) between Buies Creek (9g) and Class A Short Season Tri-City (4g) in 2018. Following the regular season, he started six games for Mazatlan in the Mexican League, posting 34 strikeouts in his 26.0 innings pitched. A native of Mazatlan, Hernandez was signed as an international free agent on March 2, 2015.
Jones, 25, combined to hit .281 (127x452) with 32 doubles, 18 home runs, 80 RBI and an .854 OPS in 123 games combined between Fresno (39g) and Corpus Christi (84g) in 2018. The 6'7" first baseman had an All-Star campaign with the Hooks en route to being named the Texas League All-Star Game MVP. Originally drafted by the Astros in the 19th round of the 2016 draft out of Gonzaga, Jones is entering his fourth professional campaign.
Martin, 23, posted a 9-2 record and a 2.51 ERA (34ER/122IP) in 25 games (21 starts) between Corpus Christi (21g) and Buies Creek (4g) last season, while being named a Texas League All-Star. On the season, he posted 122 strikeouts in his 122.0 innings pitched, while allowing just a .199 opponent batting average. Ranked as the Astros No. 5 prospect by Baseball America, Martin was originally selected by the Astros in the second round of the 2017 draft out of Texas A&M.

Mayfield, 28, spent his entire 2018 season at Fresno, hitting .270 (117x433) with 31 doubles, 16 home runs, and 66 RBI in 113 games. Named a 2018 MiLB.com Organizational All-Star, Mayfield plays all over the infield, making starts last season at third base, shortstop and second base. This will be Mayfield's second time as an NRI, which includes an impressive 2018 Spring campaign, in which he hit .313 (15x48) with three doubles, and two home runs in 24 games with the Major League club. He was originally signed as a non-drafted free agent out of the University of Oklahoma in 2013.
McCurry, 27, spent his second-consecutive full season with Fresno in 2018, posting a 6-7 record with 14 saves and a 3.69 ERA (26ER/63.1IP) in 46 relief appearances. He once again posted solid strikeout numbers with 73 in 63.2 innings pitched and has amassed 338 strikeouts in 281.2 career minor league innings pitched. McCurry, who pitched collegiately at Oklahoma State, was acquired by Houston from Oakland on Nov. 25, 2015, in exchange for IF Jed Lowrie.
Pinales, 24, went 3-4 with seven saves and a 5.17 ERA (32ER/55.2IP) in 38 games with Corpus Christi last season. He had a solid offseason, appearing in nine games for Scottsdale in the Arizona Fall League, posting a 3.27 ERA (4ER/11IP) with 11 strikeouts in his 11.0 innings pitched. He was originally signed as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic on May 15, 2013.
Quintana, 29, hit .254 (62x244) with 19 doubles, 11 home runs and 42 RBI in 70 games with Corpus Christi last season. The 2018 season was his first stateside campaign after playing seven seasons (2008-15) in Cuba's Serie Nacional. He was signed by Houston as an international free agent on Oct. 5, 2017.
Ritchie, 25, hit .293 (71x242) with 16 doubles and 31 RBI in 70 games combined between Fresno (25g) and Corpus Christi in 2018. He started 66 games behind the dish on the season, posting a .993 fielding percentage, including a 24-game errorless streak with the Grizzlies. Ritchie was originally a 13th-round selection by Houston in the 2014 draft.
Robinson, 24, appeared in 75 games, making 70 starts behind the plate for Buies Creek last season. He's just a year removed from hitting .274 (118x430) with 15 homers in 108 games for Class A Quad Cities in 2017. Robinson is entering his fourth Major League campaign since being selected by Houston in the 21st round of the 2016 draft.
Rojas, 24, hit .263 (126x480) with 34 doubles, six triples, eight home runs, 55 RBI and 38 stolen bases in 120 games between Corpus Christi (106g) and Buies Creek (24g) in 2018. The left-handed hitting utility player made starts all over the diamond in 2018, including all four infield positions and left field. Rojas was originally drafted by Houston in the 26th round of the 2017 draft out of the University of Hawaii.
Sneed, 26, is back in Major League camp as an NRI after having a solid season at Fresno in 2018, posting a 10-6 record and a 3.83 ERA (54ER/127IP) in 26 games (20 starts) for the Grizzlies. This marks Sneed's second time in Major League camp with the Astros, as he was also with the club as an NRI in 2017. He was originally acquired by Houston from Milwaukee in exchange for IF Jonathan Villar on Nov. 19, 2015.
Tanielu, 26, is making his second straight appearance at Major League camp with the Astros after hitting .288 (113x392) with 22 doubles, nine home runs and 59 RBI combined between Fresno (76g) and Corpus Christi (29g) in 2018. The 2019 season will be his sixth season (2014-19) with the Astros after originally being drafted by Houston in the 14th round of the 2014 draft.
Toro, 22, split his 2018 season between Corpus Christi (50g) and Buies Creek (83g), here he was a Carolina League All-Star. He combined for a .247 average (117x474) with 35 doubles, 16 home runs and 78 RBI in 133 games. Toro played exclusively third base in 2018, making 124 starts at the hot corner. A native of Longueuil, Canada, Toro was selected by the Astros in the fifth round of the 2016 draft out of Seminole State JC.
Whitley, 21, enters this season as the Astros consensus top prospect and as the top right-handed pitching prospect in Major League Baseball, per MLB.com. He's coming off a shortened season in 2018, in which he made eight regular season starts, all with Corpus Christi, posting a 3.76 ERA (11ER/26.1IP) with 34 strikeouts. Following the season, he starred in the Arizona Fall League for Scottsdale, compiling a 2.42 ERA (7ER/26IP) with 36 strikeouts in 26.0 innings and six starts. Whitley is entering his fourth professional campaign after being selected with the 17th overall pick in the 2016 draft.
With Houston's 22 non-roster invites scheduled to attend camp, the overall Spring Training roster total is at 60 players (31 pitchers, 29 position players), including 38 players on the Astros 40-man roster. The first official Spring Training workout for Astros pitchers and catchers is scheduled for Feb. 14, and the first full-squad workout is scheduled for Feb. 18.