MARCH 18: Solis has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Sugar Land, tweets Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle. He’ll remain in the organization but no longer occupies a spot on the 40-man roster.
MARCH 15: The Astros announced this afternoon they’ve designated right-hander Jairo Solis for assignment (relayed by Jake Kaplan of the Athletic). The move clears 40-man roster space for the signing of utilityman Niko Goodrum, which has been made official.
Solis, 22, has yet to pitch above Low-A. Signed for a $450K bonus during the 2016-17 international signing period, he quickly elevated his prospect status with a velocity spike in pro ball. Baseball America wrote in 2019 that he’d run his fastball up to 98 MPH and slotted him among the top half of Houston’s top 30 prospects every year from 2018-20. Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs ranked him third in the Houston farm system as recently as last year, while his colleague Kevin Goldstein wrote in February that Solis could emerge as a top 100 overall prospect with a breakout performance in 2021.
Unfortunately, Solis’ past few seasons have been destroyed by injuries. He underwent Tommy John surgery late in 2018, missing all of the following campaign. The cancelation of the 2020 minor league season prevented Solis from pitching in game action, then he suffered another elbow injury last year. He underwent a second Tommy John procedure in June, likely costing him most or all of the upcoming season.
If Solis indeed misses the entire 2022 season, he won’t have pitched in a single affiliated game between 2019-22. Houston added him to their 40-man roster during the 2020-21 offseason to keep him from being poached in the Rule 5 draft, but after another health setback, they’ll now make him available to other clubs. The Astros could have elected to place him on the 60-day injured list to open a roster spot, but doing so would’ve required paying him a major league salary and granting him MLB service time. Instead, they’ll presumably try to pass him through waivers in hopes that he can be kept in the system without requiring either a roster spot or MLB pay.