New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez ($29 million) will earn more this season than Houston's entire 25-man roster.
The Astros' payroll is $27.3 million but actually is closer to $20 million. Houston is still paying for a couple of former players, including $5 million to pitcher Wandy Rodriguez, now with Pittsburgh.
Second-year Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow is building around youth. Six of the Astros' top 30 prospects will begin the season with the RedHawks, who open the season Thursday night at Memphis.
“We consider the RedHawks as an extension of the Houston Astros,” Luhnow said. “We keep 25 here and we have another 25 there. Nearly every player in Oklahoma City we feel has a chance to make it here at some point the next couple of years.”
The Astros' top prospect, first baseman Jonathan Singleton, is ranked No. 27 overall in minor league baseball. Singleton, though, will start the season serving a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a banned substance.
Other top 20 prospects opening in OKC include pitcher Jared Cosart, shortstop Jonathan Villar, outfielder Robbie Grossman and pitcher Brett Oberholtzer.