The Astros are keeping tabs on powerful Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler as he nears free agency, GM Jeff Luhnow told Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle. Soler, who is represented by Praver/Shapiro, is not yet a free agent, but Luhnow has seen him and is in contact with his camp.
Baseball America ranks the Astros' farm system 17th in the game, but ESPN's Keith Law has them 27th. With 11 picks in the first ten rounds of the 2012 draft including the first overall, the Astros have MLB's second-largest allowance at $11.1777MM, according to Baseball America. BA's Jim Callis would rank Soler 43rd on their top 100, better than any Astros prospect aside from Jonathan Singleton. With the new $2.9MM international spending cap beginning with the 2012 July 2nd class, Soler represents the last chance for any team to bid eight figures for a raw international free agent.