Houston prospects tend to get a little extra bump up the lists from me. My first year doing these, some readers on Reddit came at me for having Jeremy Peña too high (fifth) on the list. I might never forget it: my first time getting cooked in the comments. I wasn’t familiar with the ways of Reddit yet, and to be fair to the Redditors, I wasn’t particularly adept at writing these blurbs to reflect my reasoning yet either. The other comment-cooking that comes to mind was Houston related as well. I had ranked Alex Bregman 9th among third basemen for dynasty leagues coming off his 41 home run season. I think Astros fans were especially salty because this happened during those early pandemic days when the trash-can hate was still fresh, and there was no baseball on the field to distract us or force them to pay the full-stadium consequences for their fuckery.
Sorry for the jaunt down memory lane. It’s just, both of these memories wound up being foundational for me as a baseball writer. Something might look wrong to most readers today, but that doesn’t mean you should hesitate to say it. This gig requires a fair amount of future-casting, and that requires a fair amount of confidence on top of the competence. Mostly I just want to say thanks to all of you who’ve read my work between there and here. Thanks to all of you who chat it up in the comments. And thanks to the Houston Astros for developing good baseball players. The automatic bump to a Houston prospect has been useful since Yordan Alvarez was left off the Top 100 lists heading into his rookie year. It’s helped us to roster Luis Garcia, Jose Urquidy, Cristian Javier and Jeremy Pena among others. Decent chance a couple people from this group vastly exceed their present perceived value in a similar fashion.
Format: Position Player | Age on 4/1/23 | Highest Level Played | ETA
1. RHP Hunter Brown | 23 | MLB | 2022
Can Jose Urquidy hold this freight train off for the fifth starter spot? Hunter Brown is the most chamber-approved pitching prospect Houston’s had since Forrest Whitley. At 6’2” 212 lbs, Brown maintains impeccable balance throughout his delivery thanks to elite posture and strong legs. His ability to repeat has improved year over year to the point that his control is finally trending toward command. Hitting spots is still not his long suit, but Brown’s stuff is so dynamic, he’ll never have to be especially fine to retire big league hitters. In 20.1 MLB inning in 2022, he posted a 1.08 WHIP after recording a 1.08 across 106 Triple-A innings. The Houston development plan of piggy-backing mixed with starting all the way up prepares these guys for the life they’ll face as an Astro, waiting sometimes multiple seasons to truly crack the rotation. Whether or not Brown can buck that trend will come down to health across the roster, the club’s commitment to Jose Urquidy, and how Brown handles the back-and-forth role in which he’ll likely open the season.Please, blog, may I have some more?