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Houston Astros Lose Four Prospects, Gain Four in Rule 5 Draft

The Houston Astros went heavy on selecting left-handed pitchers in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft.

The Houston Astros entered the Rule 5 Draft with their 40-man roster set at 37, and slated with the 29th pick, the club passed. Also, no Astros prospect was selected in the Major League phase.

The Triple-A phase was a different story for Houston. The organization targeted a select group of prospects, landing three left-handed pitchers through four rounds of selections.

The Astros selected left-handed pitcher Max Roberts from the Seattle Mariners' High-A roster in the first round of the Triple-A phase. Roberts, a 2017 seventh-round pick, holds a 5.29 ERA in 38 minor-league appearances in his career.

Chicago Cubs Double-A lefty Bryan King was selected in the second round by Houston. The 26-year-old hurler was a 30th-round pick in 2019, pitching in just three seasons before being left unprotected. 

In 51 minor-league outings, King posted a 3.10 ERA in 90 innings pitched with 86 strikeouts to 51 walks. The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery this season which likely leaves him out of competition in 2023.

The Astros took a round off from selecting lefties, grabbing Florida Complex League right-handed pitcher Manuel Urias — who would've likely faced Houston's FCL squads. The 21-year-old righty posted a 2.14 ERA in 53 games between the Dominican Summer League, Single-A and the FCL.

Houston returned to targeting left-handed pitchers in the fifth round, nabbing a second Cubs prospect in Luis Angel Rodriguez. The Single-A left-handed pitcher struck out 268 batters through his first 216 innings.

The Astros also lost four prospects: Double-A right-handed pitcher Layne Henderson, High-A right-handed pitcher Ernesto Jacquez, High-A catcher Jose Alvarez and FCL shortstop Yohander Martinez.

The Detroit Tigers selected Henderson in the first round, telling Inside the Astros he is "super excited" for the opportunity. The righty reached Triple-A Sugar Land this season but finished the year back in Double-A Corpus Christi.

Jacquez and Alvarez were also selected in the first, going to the Chicago White Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals, respectively. Jacquez pitched for both the Asheville Tourists and the Single-A Fayetteville Woodpeckers this season, while Alvarez climbed to as high as Triple-A filling in where he was needed.

Martinez started the season in Single-A on the injured list. In June, he was sent to the West Palm Beach, Florida, where he stayed the remainder of the season. The Minnesota Twins selected Martinez in the middle rounds from Houston; he was in the Astros system since 2018.

The Astros' Triple-A roster was set at 33 which offered five roster spots for selections in the Triple-A phase. Houston passed in the fifth round, ending its selections for 2022 with four. 

Former Houston Astros Pitcher Peter Solomon

Former Houston Astros Pitcher Peter Solomon

Peter Solomon was designated for assignment by the Astros on Sept. 1. He was claimed by the Pittsburgh Pirates three days later, ending his season in Triple-A Indianapolis. 

The Pirates left Solomon unprotected in the Triple-A phase, removing him from the roster which paved way for the Arizona Diamondbacks to swoop in. The National League West club's pitching coach is a former Astros' staff member: Brent Strom. But there's no guarantee Solomon makes it back to the Major Leagues.

Segra Stadium, Home to the Fayetteville Woodpeckers

Segra Stadium, Home to the Fayetteville Woodpeckers

Minor League Baseball Awards

The Single-A Fayetteville Woodpeckers’ Mike “Magic” Montesino was named the Minor League Baseball Home Clubhouse Manager of the Year on Tuesday at the winter meetings in San Diego.

"Magic is one of those clubhouse managers that really takes pride in taking care of the players and staff," Woodpeckers manager Dickie Joe Thon said. "The way he integrates the well being of the players and the baseball player development side is crucial.

"He is a great friend as well. The reaction of the players and organization is a reflection of how much he means to us."

Thon is coaching this offseason in the Puerto Rican Winter League with the Leones de Ponce.

Former Houston Astros Pitcher Andre Scrubb

Former Houston Astros Pitcher Andre Scrubb

Around the Farm

The minor-league contract market isn’t moving that quickly this offseason for some, former Astros pitcher Andre Scrubb told Inside the Astros. There is no movement on former Astros outfielder Jake Marisnick either at the moment, a source said.

“Don’t really expect anything until mid-to-the-end of January at the soonest," a former agent said regarding older free agent looking for minor-league contracts, noting they are usually the last to sign.

Astros prospect Amilcar Chirinos signed with the Navegantes del Magallanes of the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League today, marking a future contract to play in the winter league.

The righty appeared in 12 Dominican Summer League games this season, posting a 1.44 ERA with 46 strikeouts in 31.1 innings pitched. His efforts brought hit stateside a few months ago to the Astros' spring training facilities in West Palm Beach, Florida.

"It really went very well for me, excellent indeed," Chirinos told Inside the Astros.

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