Getting to know your new Astros

Just like last season, the Astros traded away key players mid season. This means opportunities are created for some of the younger prospects and players a chance to get substantial playing time.

Over the past three games it has been exciting to watch some of these younger players getting their shots and taking advantage of it, taking two of three from the Reds. Here is a couple of articles I have found the past few days talking about some of these players.

Over at Seedling to Stars, they do a weekly article, called Breaking Through, discussing players who have made it to the majors. This week they talk about outfielder J.D. Martinez and third baseman Jimmy Paredes.

OF J.D. Martinez (23) – Houston Astros

Preseason Ranking: #6 in BA’s Astros Top-30

2011 Minor League Performance: 0.338/.414/.546, 25 2B, 13 HR, 42 BB and 55 SO in 317 AB (88 G) for the Corpus Christi Hooks (AA)

Debut Date: July 30th

If you’re going to promote a player from Double-A and have them skip Triple-A, at least make sure they’re dominating their competition. The Astros followed that path last week when they aggressively promoted 2B Jose Altuve to the majors and took it again this week with the call-up of J.D. Martinez.

In his first 2 seasons Martinez won a batting title in the New York-Penn League and the South Atlantic League. In fact, last season in the SAL, he won the triple crown and was rightfully named the league’s MVP. Now just two years after being drafted in the 20th round, he’s reached the majors. Once he settles in, he figures to be able to hold down a job as an everyday player with solid slash stats, 2B and HR totals.

On July 30th, he came into the game as a pinch hitter and in his only at bat of the night drove in a run with a double. He has started in LF each of the last 3 games going 1-11 with 1 BB and 5 SO in the process. As with Jacob Turner, I’d like to see Martinez in AAA, but unlike the Tigers, the Astros have little to lose by throwing their prospect into the fire as they cruise toward the 1st overall pick in the 2012 draft.

 

3B Jimmy Paredes (22) – Houston Astros

Preseason Ranking: #7 in BA’s Astros Top-30

2011 Minor League Performance: 0.270/.300/.426, 22 2B, 10 HR, 29 SB, 15 BB and 84 SO in 385 AB (93 G) for the Corpus Christi Hooks (AA)

Debut Date: August 1st

With his call-up and debut, Paredes became the 3rd top-10 prospect out of Houston’s system to reach the majors this year joining Martinez and Jordan Lyles. While I can see the logic in believing that Altuve and Martinez could make the jump from AA to the majors, feeling the same about Paredes is just misguided.

A career 0.279/.312/.406 hitter in 5 minor league seasons, Jimmy has never shown much (statistically) in the way of plate discipline. He is now the proud owner of a 285-to-64 SO-to-BB rate in his minor league career, which if you do the math works out to 4.5 SO for every 1 BB. That’s not good but it’s better than the 5.6 SO for every 1 BB, which is his current pace this season. Maybe if the guy was hitting 0.340 with more flashes of power a promotion to Triple-A would be justified, but a guy hitting 0.270 on the season in AA while whiffing once every 4.85 times he comes to the plate should not get promoted anywhere, let alone the major leagues.

In his debut he started at 3B and went 1-4 with a triple, run scored and 2 RBI. The following night he went 1-3 with a walk and a run scored. Keeping with his tradition, he’s struck out in both games.

While the Astros are a league worst 36-74, there was no reason to call-up Paredes who is still only 22-years old. I get the logic of trying to accelerate the future while giving some prospects experience at the major league level, but only those prospects that stand out and prove they are ready should be given that chance. Doing it otherwise doesn’t do anyone a bit of good.

I have to say I am really excited to see what J.D. Martinez can do the rest of the year, especially after his four RBI game last night but have been really impressed with Jimmy Paredes who has a hit in his first three games since being called up. If Paredes plays well this season, it will create an interesting battle in spring training between him and Chris Johnson

Rob Steingall over at Yahoo! Sports mentioned the two main prospects coming over from the Phillies in the Pence trade here.

Jared Cosart, Houston: He has dominating stuff, with a big mid-90s fastball, and a curveball and change-up for secondary offerings. Injuries have been an issue for Cosart in the past, but he’s a top-of-the-rotation talent if he can stay on the mound and continue to develop. He’s a few years away, but is a great dynasty prospect to sit on.

Jonathan Singleton, Houston: Potential to hit for power and average in the majors, and his bat should play very well at Minute Maid Park. Singleton is an advanced hitting prospect for his age (19), and should reach the majors quicker than most prospects his age.

Both players sound like top prospects but I worry about the injury history of Cosart. Hopefully he can stay healthy and live up to that top of the rotation talent.

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