The Astros announced their 60-man pool on Sunday night, containing 56 players they intend to pull from during this unusual season, plus room for four additions.
While most fans may know something about almost all of the 38 players currently on the 40-man roster that made the pool, the additional 18 players may be a bit of a mystery. Some of them are on the top 30 prospect list for the team. Note this list is the MLB pipeline choice of those 30. We do not know who the Astros think are their actual top 30 prospects.
The following are the players in the 60 man pool, who are not on the 40-man, but who are on the top 30 prospect list:
- RHP Forrest Whitley #1 Prospect – (22 y.o. – 2016 1st round pick) The top name in this group, also had the worst 2019 of anyone in this group. Across multiple levels, in a season where he missed a lot of time with arm fatigue (and head fatigue?), he put up an uninspiring 3-7 WL with a 7.99 ERA. He did sport 13 K/ 9 IP, which was comforting and 6.6 walks / 9 IP which was not. Whitley more than anyone else needed a full season to prove himself and he won’t be getting it.
- RHP Brandon Bielak #12 Prospect – (24 y.o – 2017 11th round pick) Considering the overall high ERAs at AAA ball due to the “changed” baseball used last year – his 11-4 record with a 4.22 ERA/ 1.216 WHIP between AA/AAA was very solid.
- RHP Luis Garza #17 Prospect – (23 y.o. – 2017 Free Agent out of Venezuela) Garcia pitched very well last season at A/A+ ball with a 10-4 record and 2.98 ERA/ 1.067 WHIP/ 13.9 K/9 IP.
- RHP Jojanse Torres #19 prospect – (24 y.o. – 2018 Free Agent out of the Dominican) Yes, he was a little on the older side pitching at A/A+ ball, but his 12-0 record with a 1.71 ERA/ 1.109 WHIP was a very impressive year in his second season in the organization.
- RHP Shawn Dubin #20 Prospect (24 y.o. – 2018 13th round pick) Dubin pitched solidly as he moved up from A to A+ ball posting 7-5 WL 3.90 ERA/ 1.120 WHIP/ 12.3 K/9 IP.
- OF Chas McCormick #25 Prospect (25 y.o. – 2017 21st round pick) Dividing time between AA/AAA McCormick was good but not spectacular – slashing .269 BA/.386 OBP/ .818 OPS with 14 HRs and 66 RBIs
- RP Brett Conine #26 Prospect (23 y.o. – 2018 13th round pick) Conine should be climbing this list as he had a great season (8-4 WL, 2.20 ERA, 1.050 WHIP) at A/ A+/ AA levels in 2019.
And then there was a whole slew of players who are neither on the 40 man roster nor on the Top Prospects list. Some of these guys have fallen off the list from before. Most of them are a little on the greyer side in baseball years and maybe ones the team wants to see one more time before parting ways. Of course, they do also want the more mature players as more immediate call-up and replacement if the worst happens.
- RP Brandon Bailey (25 y.o. – 2016 6th round pick by the A’s) – Bailey came over in the Ramon Laureano trade, which to this point leans heavily towards the A’s. The Orioles took him in the Dec. 2019 Rule 5 draft from the Astros, but returned him in early March. Last season he pitched well at AA Corpus with a 4-5 WL, 3.30 ERA and 1.219 WHIP.
- RP Ralph Garza (26 y.o. – 2015 26th round pick) – Reliever Garza had a decent year at AAA in 2019 with an 8-1 WL 5 saves and a 4.04 ERA.
- RP Andre Scrubb (25 y.o. – 2016 8th round pick by the Dodgers) – Scrubb came over in the Tyler White trade last season. In AA in 2019 he was 6-1 with a 2.78 ERA and 10.6 K/ 9 IP.
- C Michael Papierski (24 y.o. – 2017 9th round pick) Papierski has been blah so far. In 2019 at A+ ball he slashed .233 BA/ .351 OBP/ .674 OPS. He has thrown out 31% of runners in his minor league career.
- C Jamie Ritchie (27 yo. – 2014 13th round pick) Ritchie hit well at AAA Round Rock in 2019, but again he was an “aging” prospect at 26. He slashed .270 BA/ .375/ .784 and has thrown out 28% of runners in his minor league career.
- UT Colton Shaver (24 y.o. – 2017 39th round pick) Shaver was listed as a catcher in the 60-man list but has bopped between catcher, 3B and 1B in his minor league career. He was brutal at 3B in 2019, committing 15 errors in 71 chances at A+ ball. He has a powerful stick and showed it off at A+/AA ball where he slashed .248/.361/.842 with 21 HRs and 72 RBIs. Right now he is a man without a position.
- IF Alex DeGoti (25 y.o. – 2016 15th round pick) DeGoti had a solid season at AAA in 2019, slashing for .277 BA/ .347 OBP/ .790 OPS with 15 HRs and 70 RBIs.
- IF Nick Tanielu (27 y.o. – 2014 14th round pick) Tanielu has to be near the top of the possible replacement list from the minor league infielders but again is on the older side. In 2019 at AAA he had a strong year slashing .295/.360/.880 with 19 HRs and 84 RBIs.
- OF Ronnie Dawson (25 y.o. – 2016 2nd round pick) Once on the Top 30 prospects list, he has never lived up to his high draft pick status. Last season at AAA he hit for a lowly .212 BA/ .320 OBP/ .723 OPS with 17 HRs and 50 RBIs. He stole 13 bases but was thrown out 10 times.
- OF Drew Ferguson (About to turn 28 y.o. – 2015 – 19th round pick) Again his age isn’t helping him, but he did perform well at AAA in 2019, slashing for .281/ .395/ .836 with 11 HRs and 57 RBIs and an impressive 27 SBs.
- OF Jake Meyers (24 y.o. – 2017 13th round pick) At A+/ AA ball he put up a mediocre .249 BA/ .329 OBP/ .724 OPS with 9 HRs and 47 RBIs.
There is no telling if any of these players see the light of day in the majors this season. But, at least you can’t say you never heard of them…..