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Astros sign Mexican slugger Japhet Amador

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The Houston Astros acquire another bat from the Mexican League: burly slugger Japhet Amador.

Japhet Amador
Japhet Amador
Hector Vivas, Getty Images

"Japhet Amador" sounds like a character from a Robert Heinlein novel. He's not; he's the newest acquisition of the Houston Astros, a 26-year-old first baseman from the Mexican League. This is on the heels of the earlier signing of outfielder Leonardo Heras, as the Astros are making a concerted effort to mine new sources of talent.

Amador is certainly an interesting and unusual player: a 6-3, 315 pound right-handed hitting first baseman. That's not a typo; he's listed at 315 pounds and looks every bit of it.

As you'd expect, power is his calling card and he's put up some monster numbers in Mexico, including a .368/.419/.693 mark with 36 homers this year for the Mexico City Red Devils. Over seven seasons in the Mexican League, he's hit .330/.401/.584 with 112 homers in 503 games.

How good is this really? The Mexican League is officially a Triple-A League, but conditions greatly favor offense and the quality of pitching talent can be spotty. That said, he's currently third in the league in OPS, ranks second in home runs and slugging percentage, doesn't strike out much for a guy with this kind of production, and reportedly has power to all fields. This is confirmed if you look at his spray charts from

Despite his size, he has spent his entire career at first base, DHing very seldom, and has a very good career fielding percentage of .994. We'll have to see about his range and overall fielding ability, but he doesn't look like a butcher on paper.

At age 26, Amador is a finished product. He should start in Triple-A and could see the Houston roster next year, challenging Chris Carter. I don't know what they have here, but I like the fact that Amador is getting a shot.