Starting spots for Astros' Top 30 Prospects

April 3rd, 2019

With the 2019 Minor League Baseball season getting underway, here's a look at where the Astros' Top 30 prospects are starting the year. We also identify the prospect who just missed the Top 30 list, a player who didn't make the big league Opening Day roster but should make an impact this year, a prospect who is ready to break out in 2019 and the team's best defensive prospect.

  1. Forrest Whitley (MLB No. 7), RHP -- Round Rock Express (AAA)
  2. Kyle Tucker (MLB No. 8), OF -- Round Rock Express (AAA)
  3. Yordan Alvarez (MLB No. 43), OF -- Round Rock Express (AAA)
  4. Josh James (MLB No. 61), RHP -- Houston Astros (MLB)
  5. Corbin Martin (MLB No. 79), RHP -- Round Rock Express (AAA)
  6. J.B. Bukauskas (MLB No. 95), RHP -- Corpus Christi Hooks (AA)
  7. Freudis Nova, SS -- Extended spring training
  8. Bryan Abreu, RHP -- Fayetteville Woodpeckers (A Adv)
  9. Cionel Perez, LHP -- Round Rock Express (AAA)
  10. Seth Beer, OF/1B -- Fayetteville Woodpeckers (A Adv)
  11. Framber Valdez, LHP -- Houston Astros (MLB)
  12. Peter Solomon, RHP -- Fayetteville Woodpeckers (A Adv)
  13. Ronnie Dawson, OF -- Corpus Christi Hooks (AA)
  14. Garrett Stubbs, C -- Round Rock Express (AAA)
  15. Brandon Bielak, RHP -- Corpus Christi Hooks (AA)
  16. Myles Straw, OF -- Round Rock Express (AAA)
  17. Tyler Ivey, RHP -- Corpus Christi Hooks (AA)
  18. Jayson Schroeder, RHP -- Extended spring training
  19. Jairo Solis, RHP -- Out for season -- Tommy John surgery
  20. Dean Deetz, RHP -- Round Rock Express (AAA)
  21. Luis Santana, 2B -- Extended spring training
  22. J.J. Matijevic, OF -- Corpus Christi Hooks (AA)
  23. Abraham Toro, 3B -- Corpus Christi Hooks (AA)
  24. Rogelio Armenteros, RHP -- Round Rock Express (AAA)
  25. Jonathan Arauz, SS/2B -- Fayetteville Woodpeckers (A Adv)
  26. Deury Carrasco, SS/2B -- Extended spring training
  27. Jeremy Pena, SS -- Quad Cities River Bandits (A)
  28. Enoli Paredes, RHP -- Fayetteville Woodpeckers (A Adv)
  29. Alex McKenna, OF -- Extended spring training -- rehab
  30. Ross Adolph, OF -- Quad Cities River Bandits (A)
    Complete list »

Just missed Top 30: Cristian Javier
Signed for just $10,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2015, Javier succeeds with high spin rates on his 88-93 mph and nice shape on his downer curveball and sweeping slider. He split 2018 between two Class A stops, recording a 2.70 ERA, .185 opponent average and 146 strikeouts in 110 innings.

On the shelf: Jairo Solis and Alex McKenna
Right-hander Jairo Solis will lose the entire 2019 season after having Tommy John surgery last fall. Outfielder Alex McKenna will spend a few days in extended spring training as he finishes recovering from a hamstring injury, then likely will report to low Class A Quad Cities.

Impact prospect: Forrest Whitley
MLB Pipeline’s top-ranked pitching prospect will start the season in the Minors but could be up by midseason, perhaps even earlier should an opening arise in Houston’s starting rotation. With a combination of stuff -- each of his four pitches grade out as plus or better, and many consider his fastball-changeup pairing to be plus-plus -- and pitchability, Whitley is a safe bet to make an immediate impact when he arrives. Right-handers Corbin Martin (No. 5, MLB No. 80) and J.B. Bukauskas (No. 6, MLB No. 96) trail Whitley on the depth chart but are nonetheless impressive. Both hurlers boast power stuff that could help them reach the Majors as either a starter or reliever in 2019.

Breakout prospect: Freudis Nova
The Astros don't exactly need another left-side infielder, but they've got another high-ceiling one on the way. Nova is a potential 20-20 shortstop with a strong arm that fits anywhere on the diamond, prompting comparisons to Hanley Ramirez and Edgar Renteria.

Best defensive prospect: Myles Straw
Straw has double-plus speed that gives him tremendous range in center field, where his plus arm also stands out at a position not noted for strong throwers. That quickness also plays well on the bases (he topped the Minors with 70 steals in only 79 attempts in 2018) and allows him to beat out hits (he led the Minors with a .358 batting average in '16).