Why the Houston Astros will be title contenders for years to come

Maybe you’re a Houston Astros fan who likes to worry. The kind of fan who wouldn’t be thrilled about the Astros clinching their fifth title in six years because you remember the old days when the Astros were losing 100 games or sweeping the Braves in the NLDS. The kind of fan who simply spends their time surviving the Golden Era of Houston Baseball while you wait for their boots to drop. The kind of fan who shakes your head at the Astros farm system being ranked 29 out of 30 by MLB.com. How long can the Astros simply expect to win the splits and make ALCS with a poorly judged farm system?

First, what you need to know about the Astros farm system is that it did what farm systems are supposed to do: Houston used it to provide major league talent either through trade or development. The Astros ranch system is ranked as low as it gets thanks to deals made by Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Zack Greinke in a span of two years. It’s low thanks to Jeremy Peña graduating from a potential squad to a perfectly acceptable short squad in the Major League. Nobody raises banners or throws rallies for owning the most famous farm system.

When looking at the Astros farm system, one should also take into account the opportunities available at the Major League level. The lineup that settled the division Monday night will be around for a long time: Only DH Trey Mancini, first baseman Yuli Gurriel, and Catcher Christian Vazquez are set to arrive at free agency after the World Championships, and there’s a 2023 mutual option for Trey Mancini if ​​he and the Astros want to restart it. next season.

Otherwise, Justin Verlander will have to decide whether he wants to exercise the $25 million player option in his 40-year season, or look for a richer deal elsewhere. Michael Brantley will be a free agent, but he played just 64 games this year before undergoing surgery at the end of the season, and he will turn 36 next year. Reliever Will Smith has a $1 million buyout deal or a $13 million team option. Loyal Rafael Monteiro will also be a free agent, but other than Verlander we’re not talking about anyone in the MVP race.

Loyals Hector Neres, Ren Stanek, Phil Mattone and catcher Martin Maldonado will not be free agents until after the 2023 season. Jose Altuff, Alex Bregman and Ryan Presley are on contract until 2024. Framber Valdez, Jose Orchidi, Christian Javier and Kyle Tucker will be under team control until 2025. Lance McCullers Jr. Garcia Astros until 2026. Jordan Alvarez will be Astros through at least the 2027 season. Jeremy Peña won’t have access to free agency until 2028.

So how many opportunities are there for really big potential customers? Hunter Brown has only fought three rounds – two of them against Rangers and Tigers – but the right-hander definitely feels like a real bargain, especially considering his numbers during the season in Triple-A Sugar Land. Here are some other names to watch as GM James Click charts the rest of this golden age:

Zack Daniels

The left-hander, chosen in the 2020 fourth round of the University of Tennessee, just finished 23 Homer, 22 prime season stolen at Hay Asheville, scoring .282/.371/.522 in 95 games.

Drew Gilbert

Sticking with the Volunteers theme, the Astros’ first-round pick since 2019 has only reached .362/.455/.673 for Vols in the 2022 season, cementing their first-round position. Gilbert played 10 games for the Astros system this summer before dislocating his elbow while running into a court wall.

Spencer Arigetti

The Astros hit a sixth-round 2021 Cinco Ranch High School 152 hitter at 106.2IP for Asheville and Double-A Corpus Christi. His other dashboard stats aren’t quite as impressive as Hunter Brown, but Brown hit “only” 134 hitters in the 106IP at Sugar Land.

Jacob Melton

Houston chased away collegiate outside players with their first two picks in the 2022 draft, as these guys are more accurate than the teens’ test picks. Milton, the second round in Houston this summer outside of Oregon, hit .360/.424/.671 for the Beavers, with 17 wrecks and 21 bases stolen. In 19 games for the Fayetteville Woodpecker this summer, he’s come in at .324/.424/.578.

Edinson Batista

20-year-old Batista finished a split season between Fayetteville and Asheville, being 1.7 and 3.0 years younger, respectively, than his opponent, and posted a combined 2.67 ERA/1.12 WHIP as he hit 127 hitters in 107.2 innings.

There are only too many points in the Major League roster, 26 to be exact, and the front office is under the direction of Jeff Lono and James Click, who spends Jim Crane’s money (although perhaps not as much as Crane would like) has turned stars. into a perennial force that pledges to keep its feet on the neck of AL West for years to come.

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