HomeMLB RumorsAstros To Promote Joey Loperfido

Astros To Promote Joey Loperfido

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The Astros will call up Joey Loperfido prior to Tuesday’s game against the Guardians, KPRC 2’s Ari Alexander reports (via X).  Loperfido isn’t on Houston’s 40-man roster, so the Astros will have to make at least one roster move to find room for the first baseman/outfielder.

Rumors about Loperfido’s promotion have swirled ever since Spring Training, when the young slugger drew attention with an 1.076 OPS over 41 Grapefruit League plate appearances.  He kept swinging a hot bat through the start of the Triple-A season, taking a .276/.376/.684 slash line through his first 117 PA of the minor league season.  Loperfido has also gone yard 13 times, as he launched his 13th home run of the young season in Triple-A Sugar Land’s 10-5 win today over the Reno Aces.

While such absurd numbers would make any prospect seem like a candidate for their MLB debut, Loperfido’s production has particularly stood out given how little the Astros have received from the first base position.  Jose Abreu is hitting .099/.156/.113 over 77 PA this season, translating to an astonishing -21 wRC+.  Though Abreu also struggled for much of the 2023 season, his rebound near the end of the year and his good showing in the playoffs led to some hope that the veteran had gotten on track, yet Abreu has limped out of the gates with the worst stretch of his career.

MLBTR’s Anthony Franco recently explored Abreu’s situation, noting that Abreu’s contract (roughly $16.25MM remaining this season and $19.5MM in 2025) has certainly made the Astros wary about sitting him down, or even releasing Abreu entirely.  If Loperfido isn’t going to entirely supplant Abreu, however, Jon Singleton certainly seems like a potential cut given how Singleton is batting only .238/.319/.286 over 47 PA.  Since Singleton and Loperfido are both left-handed hitters, having Loperfido take over as the complementary first option alongside the right-handed hitting Abreu seems like a logical move for Houston.  Trey Cabbage was also on the roster as the 27th man for this weekend’s series with the Rockies in Mexico City, but Cabbage is probably more likely to head back to Triple-A.

A seventh-round pick for the Astros in the 2021 draft, Loperfido (who turns 25 in two weeks) didn’t exactly come out of nowhere, as he posted strong numbers in each of his first two minor league seasons.  He moved up the ladder quickly enough to make his Triple-A debut in 2023, though his .235/.333/.403 slash line in 138 PA with Sugar Land last year didn’t hint at his eye-popping breakout in store for 2024.

Both MLB Pipeline and Baseball America ranked Loperfido sixth on their preseason lists of Houston’s best prospects, noting his raw power potential but also highlighting his possible contributions as more than just a slugging first baseman.  Indeed, Loperfido has spent more time as an outfielder than as a first baseman, with the bulk of his minor league innings coming in center field.  Loperfido could therefore find himself getting some at-bats as a left fielder or center fielder in place of Chas McCormick or Jake Meyers — both are right-handed hitters, and McCormick isn’t producing much at the plate.  Loperfido also brings some good speed to the table, with 64 steals in 79 attempts during his minor league career.

Loperfido’s 30.8% strikeout rate at Triple-A is certainly cause for concern, plus some grain of salt must always be applied to numbers posted in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.  It should also be noted that while Abreu has been a glaring weak spot in the lineup, the Astros are hitting quite well on the whole, as pitching (and injuries within the rotation) has been the much bigger reason behind the team’s unexpectedly slow start.  Houston therefore doesn’t need Loperfido to be an immediate star right away, and frankly, the bar has been set so low by Abreu and Singleton that even average production from Loperfido would represent a nice upgrade.

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