The Astros informed reporters this afternoon that prospect Pedro León will not be ready for the start of Spring Training after undergoing sports hernia surgery earlier this week (relayed by Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle). The procedure comes with a six-to-eight week recovery timetable, so León still looks to be in position to start the regular season on time.
León, 24, was a high-profile international signee for Houston over the 2020-21 offseason. A native of Cuba, he didn’t reach the amateur free agent market until he was headed into his age-23 campaign. He was nevertheless regarded as one of the more talented players in that signing class and his experience meant he was far more advanced than the typical signee, most of whom join clubs as teenagers. He was assigned to Double-A during his first professional campaign and made it to Triple-A Sugar Land later in the season.
The right-handed hitter spent all of last season with the Space Cowboys. Through 504 plate appearances, he hit .228/.365/.431, connecting on 17 home runs and stealing 38 bases. Promising as his combination of speed, plate discipline and power potential is, León also showed some areas of concern. He was caught stealing on 18 occasions and struck out in nearly 29% of his trips to the dish. Baseball America named him the #6 prospect in the Houston organization this offseason, praising his physical abilities but raising questions about his contact skills.
Initially signed as a shortstop, León mostly moved to the outfield last year. He made 52 starts in center field and 33 more in right while playing 23 games in the middle infield (all but three at second base). Given his upper level experience, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him factor into the MLB outfield during the upcoming season. Chas McCormick, Mauricio Dubón and Jake Meyers are each on the 40-man roster and ahead of León on the depth chart for now, though the young player could find himself in the mix midseason. He has not yet been added to the 40-man.