The nickname behind a fast-rising Astros pitching prospect

June 11th, 2023

Spencer Arrighetti is on a roll at Double-A Corpus Christi. In May, the Astros’ No. 9 prospect dominated with an 0.67 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 27 innings.

Coincidentally, whenever Arrighetti has made a start recently, his teammates have rocked a shirt pregame that reads “Spaghetti of Meat Balls.”

“I do love spaghetti,” Arrighetti said. “I am Italian by heritage, so the nickname kind of just comes from Spencer and Arrighetti getting mashed up. I think people my entire life have called me that.”

But the fun, silly shirt -- which was inspired after playing a Pictionary-esque game with his teammates on their phones, Arrighetti said -- could also be the sign of a turnaround for the right-hander. He started the year struggling to find the same success that had led to a callup from High-A Asheville near the end of the 2022 season, with a 11.05 ERA in four appearances (two starts) in April.

Then came a conversation with teammate Cesar Gomez.

“I had a talk one day, and he told me, ‘Hey man, just keep the blinders. Stop worrying about all the other crap. You were good last year. You're still good now. You just need to go be Spencer,’” Arrighetti said. “And that conversation kind of brought me back to reality a little bit.”

For Arrighetti, who stresses the importance of the mental side of the game, having a short memory is key. He bounced back to rattle off five straight wins, including striking out seven straight batters in his last start of May. It doesn’t hurt that the 23-year-old has the arsenal to back up his mentality.

A sixth-round Draft pick in 2021 out of Louisiana-Lafayette, Arrighetti added 2-3 mph to his fastball, which now sits 92-95 mph, after joining the Astros’ organization. He primarily throws two breaking balls: a big sweeping slider to right-handed hitters and a “slurve-y curveball that has two planes of break” to lefty batters.

One of the fastest-risers in Houston’s farm system, Arrighetti led all Astros farmhands with 152 strikeouts in 106 2/3 innings in 2022. The next step is continuing to find that consistency and develop a fourth pitch, his changeup, to throw to batters on both sides of the plate. 

“I'm really proud of the way that I've drawn the ball, and I feel like I feel dominant again some days when I throw,” Arrighetti said.

Triple-A Sugar Land
Quincy Hamilton went deep in four straight games, including a two-homer night on Wednesday that sealed a 5-4 win. The Astros’ No. 22 prospect, who was promoted to Triple-A from Double-A on Tuesday, has carried over his powerful left-handed swing to his first three games at the next level.

Double-A Corpus Christi
Colton Gordon, the Astros’ No. 8 prospect, hasn’t allowed more than three runs in any of his past eight starts, rolling to a 2.31 ERA in May and June. The left-hander tossed back-to-back scoreless five-inning outings before a three-run start his last time out.

High-A Asheville
Ryan Clifford is slashing .320/.485/.800 in June, including a two-homer game on June 2. The Astros’ No. 4 prospect, Clifford was promoted from Single-A, where he slashed .337/.488/.457, to High-A on May 9.