Fontana was added to the Astros' 40-man roster Friday, the Houston Chronicle reports. While Fontana slugged just .357 in the Pacific Coast League last season, he managed a .369 OBP on the strength of a 16.2 percent walk rate, and there is some hope that a bit of power will show up eventually. This move was made primarily for Rule 5 protection, but Fontana could be a utility option at some point in 2016.
Astros prospect Nolan Fontana was sent to minor-league camp Friday after batting just .111 (1 for 9) in nine spring games. While it doesn't appear Fontana made a lasting impression, stats don't tell the whole story. "He doesn't come with as much attention, but from a well-rounded baseball skill standpoint he made a good impression," manager A.J. Hinch said. Fontana, who was a second-round pick in 2012, is not among the Astros' top 10 prospects, according to Baseball America.
The Astros announced Friday they sent seven players to minor-league camp, including starting pitcher Alex White, who was in the running for the fifth spot in the rotation. White was technically optioned to the minors, while the remaining six were reassigned. Also sent to minor-league camp were Colin Moran, Jason Stoffel, Nolan Fontana, Preston Tucker, Matt Duffy and Roberto Pena.
The Astros announced Tuesday they will have 17 non-roster invites for spring training, including starting pitcher prospect Mark Appel and shortstop prospect Carlos Correa. Appel was the No. 1 pick in the 2013 MLB draft, while Correa was the No. 1 pick in 2012. The other non-roster invitees are outfielder Andrew Aplin, pitcher Darin Downs, infielder Matt Duffy, catcher Luis Flores, infielder Nolan Fontana, catcher Tyler Heineman, pitcher Jordan Jankowski, infielder Dan Johnson, infielder Colin Moran, catcher Roberto Pena, infielder Gregorio Petit, pitcher Brady Rodgers, infielder Joe Sclafani, pitcher Jason Stoffel and outfielder Preston Tucker. Correa (No. 1) and Appel (No. 2) are considered the team's top two prospects, according to Baseball America. Moran (No. 7) is also considered a top-10 prospect.
Astros shortstop prospect Nolan Fontana is off to a blistering start for Class A Lancaster. The 2012 second-round pick has hit safely in his first six games, batting .476 (10 for 21). Fontana also has a triple, two home runs, three doubles and nine RBI. He has a 1.000 slugging percentage and 1.586 OPS. Fontana hit .225 with a .338 slugging percentage in 49 games for low Class A Lexington last season after being drafted. Fontana is considered the Astros' 11th-best prospect by MLB.com.
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