The Astros are calling up top pitching prospect Francis Martes
By Matt Snyder
The Astros have lost two straight, but still easily have the best record in baseball at 42-18. They’re also bringing up some pitching help.
Francis Martes is a 21-year-old right-hander who was signed out of the Dominican Republic by the Marlins as a teenager. He went to the Astros in the deal that sent Jarred Cosart to the Marlins and Jake Marisnick to Houston.
Baseball America ranked Martes as the 17th-best prospect in baseball heading into the season. MLB.com had Martes 20th, saying, “he can work at 93-96 mph and reach 98 with his fastball, and while it doesn’t feature a ton of life, he does show some feel for moving it around the strike zone. His curveball gives him a second well above-average pitch, combining power and depth.”
Martes has started eight games for Triple-A Fresno this season, going 0-2 with a 5.29 ERA, 2.10 WHIP and 38 strikeouts in 32 1/3 innings. More head-scratching on the promotion is that Martes has walked 28 batters (7.8 BB/9). Worth note is that Martes started slow last season in Double-A and then closed really strong, posting a 2.52 ERA with 114 strikeouts in 103 2/3 innings in his last 19 starts.
As a reliever, perhaps Martes will focus only on the aforementioned fastball and curveball, his two best pitches. As a starter he also works in a changeup and slider.