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Astros Top Three First Base Prospects for 2024

Houston Astros' Joey Loperfido
Joey Loperfido | Caller Times

As we inch closer to the 2024 season, I am going to give top three prospects at each position. This will be based on where they currently play and also where they may end up. This will culminate with my newly updated top 30 prospects before the season starts. This week, we are looking at the first base position.

Previous Positions:

Catcher

1. Joey Loperfido

Loperfido will end up on another list but with the current crop of first base prospects, he is also at the top. The Astros minor league player of the year, Loperfido followed up a strong 2022 with a breakout 2023 season. The 7th rounder from 2021 hit .278 with a .880 OPS and 25 HR/27 SB, making his way up to Triple-A. Loperfido does a lot of things really well. He makes contact, draws walks, has some power and speed on the bases. He plays mostly in the outfield but has also played 51 games at first base in the minors. Loperfido has the makeup and the tools to be a plus defender at first base or center field, wherever the Astros end up playing him.

2023 Stats: 124 G, .278 BA/.370 OBP/.510 SLG, 27 2B, 3 3B, 25 HR, 78 RBI, 27 SB

2. Luis Encarnacion

Encarnacion has been in the system since 2021 and made his full season debut in 2023. At just 20-years-old he showed some good signs on offense. He finished the season hitting .243 with a .667 OPS but finished the year hitting .261 over the final 69 games. He has some versatility playing first base, left field and catcher. While he is smaller in stature, standing at 5’8″ and 170 lbs, he has had offensive success everywhere he has gone. He will be just 21 for the 2024 season and has some intriguing offensive upside.

2023 Stats: 98 G, .245 BA/.302 OBP/.369 SLG, 16 2B, 10 HR, 44 RBI, 7 SB

3. Ricardo Balogh

Like Encarnacion, Balogh has been in the system for a few years and made his full-season debut in 2023. The switch hitter had some ups and downs but the highs were really good, like a .877 OPS in the month of June. He struggled with some injuries towards the end of the season and finished with just a ,673 OPS,  but showed signs he can hit. We will see where he ends up for the 2024 season.

2023 Stats: 89 G, .241 BA/.315 OBP/.358 SLG, 12 2B, 3 3B, 6 HR, 31 RBI, 3 SB

Be sure to subscribe to receive weekly updates on the Astros minor league system. Also be sure to follow on Twitter, @AstrosFuture, and like my Facebook page, facebook.com/AstrosFuture.

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