Javier entered pro ball with little fanfare, signing for $10,000 out of the Domincan Republic in March 2015, 20 months after he first became eligible. But he has dominated everywhere he has gone, posting a 2.22 ERA with 512 strikeouts in 377 innings during his first five seasons. He took his performance to another level in 2019, leading the Minors in ERA (1.74), strikeout rate (13.5 per nine innings) and opponent average (.130) while advancing from Class A Advanced to Triple-A.
Javier usually pitches with unremarkable velocity on his fastball but hitters rarely barrel it. He hides his heater well and it seems to come out of his chest while he adds and subtracts from 88-96 mph and creates outstanding spin rate and shape. He also misses bats with a pair of solid breaking pitches, a downer curveball and a sweeping slider, and he made some progress with his sinking changeup in 2019.
The biggest question with Javier is his ability to provide consistent strikes after he averaged 4.7 walks per nine innings last season. Whether his approach will work as well against more discerning hitters in the big leagues remains to be seen, but his deception and creativity could make him a No. 4 starter. He also could become an intriguing multi-inning relief weapon.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 50 | Curveball: 55 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 50 | Overall: 45
Like several of the Astros' best international pitching prospects, Javier didn't receive a lavish bonus. He turned pro for $10,000 out of the Dominican Republic in March 2015, 20 months after he first became eligible to sign. He performed well in short spurts during his first three pro seasons, recording a 2.35 ERA while Houston limited him to no more than 60 frames per year.
Javier averaged 11.5 strikeouts per nine innings during that time frame despite operating with a fastball that ranges from 88-93 mph. His heater has a high spin rate that causes hitters to continually swing under it, and they also have trouble solving his solid pair of breaking pitches, a downer curveball and a more sweepy slider. His changeup is more of a work in progress, though his willingness to use it will help in its development.
Javier doesn't have much projection in his 6-foot-1 frame, so he probably will have average fastball velocity at best. After his walk rate jumped to a career-worst 4.1 per nine innings in 2017, he'll have to guard against nibbling at the strike zone too much as he rises through the Minors. He still has to prove he's durable enough to log a full season of starts, and if he can't his curveball and slider could make him a useful right-on-right reliever.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 45 | Slider: 55 | Curveball: 55 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 45
Javier wasn't highly regarded coming out of the Dominican Republic, signing for $10,000 in March 2015, 20 months after he first became eligible. The Astros kept him in Rookie ball for his first two pro seasons before he made his full-season debut in 2017 and helped low Class A Quad Cities win the Midwest League championship.
Javier features some of the best pitchability among the Astros' younger pitching prospects. His pair of quality breaking balls and his ability to mix and spot his pitches allowed him to average 12.0 strikeouts per nine innings this season. His fastball usually ranges from 88-91 mph and tops out at 93, and he also shows aptitude for employing his changeup.
Because he doesn't have a lot of projection in his 6-foot-1 frame, Javier probably will have average fastball velocity at best. He'll need to challenge hitters more often at higher levels after his walk rate rose to a career-high 4.1 per nine innings in 2017. If he can't make it as a back-of-the-rotation starter, his slider and curveball could make him a useful right-on-right reliever.