Astros outfield prospect Ramon Laureano's stock rose considerably in 2016 but dropped off significantly last season in Class AA Corpus Christi.

And in the coming days, the team must decide whether to add Laureano to its 40-man roster or risk losing him in next month's Rule 5 draft.

The decision on Laureano is probably the most difficult one the Astros must make before Monday's 7 p.m. C.T. deadline to set 40-man rosters ahead of the Rule 5 draft. Their brass will meet Friday to discuss the players under consideration.

Cionel Perez, the 21-year-old Cuban lefthander eligible for Rule 5 only because he signed last year with the same team that first voided his contract, is certain to be protected. Other Astros minor leaguers eligible to be picked in Rule 5 if not added to the 40-man roster include outfielder Jon Kemmer and righthander Dean Deetz.