The Astros have called up outfielder J.D. Martinez to fill the roster spot vacated by the Hunter Pence trade. Martinez becomes the second position player in recent days to make the jump from AA Corpus Christi. Jose Altuve took over at second base last week and has been a nice addition.
Martinez has an impressive .342/.407/.552 hitting line for his minor league career. This year at Corpus he hit .338 with seven of his thirteen homers coming in the month of July. Martinez is 24 years old and was drafted by the Astros in the 20th round of the June Draft in 2009. He has been a DH and played LF this season and is considered to be below average defensively. I would expect the Astros to make Martinez the starting left fielder and keep Carlos Lee at first base. Brett Wallace seems to be in the doghouse and may not see much action unless El Caballo is traded. Jason Bourgeois would be the logical choice to replace Pence in right. But, when was the last time Brad Mills made a logical decision? I really can’t remember.
Although the AAA team is packed with retreads the Astros are loaded with talent at the lower levels. This can be attributed to soon-to-be-fired General Manager Ed Wade. The Hunter Pence trade brings four more prospects into the fold and the Astros are stockpiling young players the way Tampa Bay did in the 2000′s. Expect this trend to continue. Jim Crane appears to be committed to reducing payroll and building for the future. Ed Wade was able to get a pretty hefty bounty from the Phils for Pence. Perhaps he will be able to save his job. If not, I am sure several teams will be wooing him.