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Houston Astros Release Pair of Pitching Prospects

Former Astros Prospect Jose Alberto Rivera
USA TODAY NETWORK

In the midst of spring training, the Houston Astros released two right-handed pitching prospects — Jose Alberto Rivera and Alex Palmer — Friday.

In 2020, the Astros left Rivera off the 40-man roster, exposing him to selection in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft. The Los Angeles Angels claimed Rivera on Dec. 10, 2020, but returned the righty to Houston on March 25, 2021. Rivera didn’t make it out of spring training with the Angels, after the organization concluded he wouldn’t contribute to the 26-man roster.

He spent the 2021 season with High-A Asheville, making five appearances with the Tourists before a season-ending injury struck in June. After being placed on the shelf for an undisclosed injury in 2021, Rivera missed all of the following season, too. Once a top prospect in the system with impressive velocity, injuries plagued any progression for Rivera. He ended his tenure in Houston’s system with a 3.91 ERA and 202 strikeouts in 172.2 innings pitches.

Palmer’s career with the Astros ended unprompted. Houston selected Palmer in the 20th round of the 2019 MLB Draft, and shortly after, the Stephen F. Austin product posted a 2.45 ERA with 27 strikeouts in 22 innings of work in the Florida Complex League.

After a lost season in 2020, Palmer started back in Florida for his second year of professional baseball. He received FCL Pitcher of the Week honors Sept. 5, 2021, and a promotion to Low-A Fayetteville followed soon after. Palmer made one start, allowing one run over five innings with eight punch outs.

Everything looked to be clicking for Palmer, but in 2022, he made just three appearances in the Florida Complex League; all three outings came in August. The Astros didn’t provide insight into Palmer’s release.

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