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SF Giants: Former Infield Prospect Signs with Astros

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 20: C.J Hinojosa #84 of the San Francisco Giants poses for a portrait during a MLB photo day at Scottsdale Stadium on February 20, 2017 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
SCOTTSDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 20: C.J Hinojosa #84 of the San Francisco Giants poses for a portrait during a MLB photo day at Scottsdale Stadium on February 20, 2017 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
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PHOENIX, AZ – OCTOBER 16: C.J. Hinojosa #8 of the Scottsdale Scorpions and SF Giants looks on during the 2018 Arizona Fall League on October 16, 2018 at Camelback Ranch in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

The Houston Astros bolstered organizational depth by signing a former SF Giants middle infield prospect.

Former SF Giants infield prospect C.J. Hinojosa has signed a minor-league pact with Houston, according to Robert Murray of FanSided. It is not yet known if the deal includes a Spring Training invite.

C.J. Hinojosa with the SF Giants

The Giants selected Hinojosa in the 11th round of the 2015 draft out of the University of Texas. Interestingly, the Astros originally picked the middle infielder in the 26th round out Klein Collins High School in 2012, but he did not sign.

Hinojosa quickly established himself as one of the better infield prospects in the Giants system but hit a wall in Double-A. In five minor league seasons, the 26-year-old slashed .274/.335/.387 with 94 doubles, eight triples, 29 home runs, and 180 RBI.

While he did not show off a lot of power, Hinojosa demonstrated good control of the strike zone as he posted a 12.3 percent strikeout rate against an 8.2 percent walk rate since debuting as a pro in 2015. The University of Texas product does not excel in any one area, but he has solid tools across the board while being able to move around the diamond.

He appeared in parts of three seasons with Giants’ Double-A affiliate in Richmond but struggled to set himself apart as he generated just a .689 OPS. He did not get a chance for a fourth campaign with Richmond given that he was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers before the 2019 season in exchange for catcher Erik Kratz.

The Brewers assigned him to Double-A where he posted a .738 OPS in 460 plate appearances before becoming a free agent. He spent the 2019 season with the fantastically-named Sugar Land Lightning Sloths of the Constellation Energy League.

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Now, he is set to join the third major league organization in his career. Given the presence of the Astros’ infield core of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and Alex Bregman, Hinojosa is going to face an uphill battle for a roster spot. The likelier alternative is that Hinojosa gives the Astros infield depth at the upper minor league ranks.

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