The back end of the Astros’ 60-man pool

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…..

13 comments on “The back end of the Astros’ 60-man pool

    • It is awful for those kids – I mean I knew this was coming, but seeing it in black and white is so final. How many kids will get derailed by this? It is bad enough they get paid so little, but this is also about stunting their development, when every season is critical?

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    • Crane does not seem as concerned about money at this stage as he did the first couple seasons he owned the team. He readily admitted the team is in better shape than some others because of the financial success of the last few seasons.
      If he did want to sell the team, I don’t think he would have a problem doing that, despite this COVID dip in fortunes. I was just reading where MLB has approved 7 different groups as acceptable suitors to buy the New York Mets. So even with this mess there is a long term interest in owning baseball teams.

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  1. Even though they are not playing, Crane is paying the Astros minor leaguers until the end of August. I non’t think all teams are doing so.

    https://www.mlb.com/astros/news/astros-to-pay-minor-leaguers-through-august

    Without fans, minor league teams will lose money if they play because they don’t have big money TV deals like the major leagues.

    Now here’s an interesting way to raise money (although in this case, proceeds are going to charity).

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/mlb/oakland-a-s-charging-fans-89-for-cardboard-cutouts-in-stands/ar-BB16alQJ?li=BB15ms5q

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Two things are certain about the list: The people on the list can be traded and the people who aren’t on the list cannot be traded.
    You can look at the 56 players on the list and figure out who might be in the Astros plans for this year and probably won’t be.
    We can’t know what is in Click’s mind regarding these players, but, if we did,
    he probably wouldn’t be a good GM, because we aren’t supposed to know.
    The Astros had the best offense in baseball and that is undisputed. They led baseball in BB%, K%, BA, OBP, SLG, OPS, wRC+ and WAR. And they did all that with only the 16th highest team BABIP in baseball, so you could say they were actually better than their numbers indicate.
    It’s all going to happen on the field, but unless the umpires determine the outcome of the games or Covid takes its toll on the team, the Astros are going to be real good this season and it won’t be because of the 16 players on the bottom of the list.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think Diaz, Garneau, Straw, Stubbs and Toro make the initial team.
    Don’t have a clue who the organization wants on the pitching staff, other than the obvious ones.

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  4. This was my guess on the 24th

    30-man
    JV Greink LMJ Urq James (5)
    Peacock Pruitt Javier Smith Abreu Devo Pres Osuna (8)
    Pick 2 from: Whitley Armenteros Bielak [scratch Ivey] Paredes Taylor Perez Sneed Emanuel (2)
    MaldyGarnyStubbs (3)
    Tucker Reddick Springer Brantley Straw Alvarez (6)
    Bregs Diaz Correa Tuve Yuli Toro (6)

    First OF call up, Mccormick
    First IF call up, Mayfield

    James is going to miss the 1st day at least for personal reasons. Who knows if this is another hiccup like last Spring when he lost rotation spot. I would argue he remained out of the rotation for so long, mainly because of lack of stamina. He was sweating up a storm after one inning for example, plus he experienced fatigue after hitting 101; and thereafter sat 97.

    This year, Framber Pruitt Peacock, as Mctag mentioned, but I’d say Abreu and Javier have the first look before Bielak and Whitley too. In that order.

    I’ve had several tell me recently that Luis H. Garcia should be a Top 3 prospect! I still have him #11, but with only Fayettville under his belt, he could easily open up some eyes by the end of season.

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    • GoStros1, I mostly agree with the above 30-man list, but with a few tweaks.

      For the last 2 pitchers, I would pick one lefty from Taylor, Perez or Emmanuel. Then I would add Framber and Scrubb to the rest of the list to fight for the last spot.

      For the first OF call up, I can see where you might want McCormick for his glove, but I would take Ferguson for his bat.

      For the first IF call up, agree with Mayfield if we need a SS or 2B, otherwise would go with Taylor Jones for 1B or 3B.

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      • Agree on Jones. If he could hit 270 MLB, we wouldn’t offer Yuli! Because we have Toro, and others to fill-in at 1B.

        Here’s my reasoning for the others.

        Emanuel is not on the 60-man, first of all. Did you notice? He also didn’t carry over his confidence from 2019-Spring. The Friday night starter at UNC, I’ve been pulling for him like Rodgers, Thornton, Feliz (all once “on the cusp”). We would have traded Emanuel in retrospect at his peak, and like AJ Reed we’ll probably lose any value he once had. 2019 was light lightening in a bottle for Kent, in a HOU uni.

        Blake Taylor won that lefty battle between him and Cionel in West Palm, but definitely Framber gets the edge as a possible SP4 upside. If Valdez can harness, and our staff navigate him, we could have a gem. We look pretty set on lefties. A few I kind of like too are TTU Parker Mushinski, and Jon Bermudez. Not as big a fan of Ryan Hartman. I’ll give you a name to be watching for: Juan Pablo Lopez! Hails from Mexico with Osuna. Gonna be a stud lefty in 2 yrs.

        On OF call up, it could be Fergie or Dawson to try to get them trade value, similar to how we yanked Fisher and Kemp’s chain a few years to do the same. Look we got Maldy, plus 3 players for Fisher by doing so. As for true better hitter, and the guy we’re grooming, Chas has the better bat-to-ball skills imo. I think Drew Ferguson is one of the smartest players in baseball — really. Great teammate, pure blood and guts from Belmont (with Ritchie), not a ton of talent. As you know SFG returned him in Rule 5. That should tell you something bc they had one of the worst OF in baseball, then paid Pillar instead of playing Ferguson.

        Scrubb is decent, but I have my eye on 10 other guys, frankly.
        garcia Conine paredes Abreu javier are top of radar guys.
        Also watch out for “Go 7” Jojanse Torres this year.
        Another one that has really really turned heads is Nivaldo.
        And lastly I’m out of breath, Shawn Dubin 99 mph and pounds soaking wet is intriguing.

        To be named on tis team and not be R5 eligible until Dec is saying something. like Fiorrest Whitley. Astros want to use his this year, but don’t have to. It’s a sign they’re not “messing with him” by holding him back.

        Let the kid pitch! I say

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      • I like McCormick as a prospect more than Ferguson. A little bigger, has more upside and more patience at the plate. He’s 2.5 years younger.

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