Will Austin Wates Make his MLB Debut Soon?
In the last few weeks, the Astros have added a couple of highly regarded prospects. With left field, shortstop, and designated hitter still looking like black holes for the team this season, the Astros should try to upgrade. Internally the Astros have options. Austin Wates is currently at AAA and should be considered for his call to the show soon.
Wates, a 25-year-old right handed hitter, was a 3rd round selection of the Houston Astros in the 2010 draft. Some injuries have prevented him from playing full seasons. But for the most part, the outfielder has hit at every level. With a minor league average above .300 as well has an on-base percentage near .400, he is certainly getting close to the major leagues.
So far this season the Astros have employed four different players in left-field. Marc Krauss has been sent to AAA to make room for Singleton. L.J. Hoes is currently in AAA as well. Robbie Grossman has been shuffled between AAA/Majors this season. Alex Presley, being a waiver claim, might have to be the one to be DFA’d in order to make room for Austin Wates. Unfortunately, the Astros have a full 40-man and Wates is not on it right now.
Collectively the Astros left fielders have hit for a .218 average, 27th in all of baseball. They rank the same in terms of wRC+ with 72. The Oakland Athletics have the best value at 142. With a lot of room for upgrades, the Astros need to explore their options.
I think that right now trying Austin Wates in left field is the most logical. There are some outfielders with more potential deeper in the system. Domingo Santana, also in AAA, could be ready but perhaps it is best to wait until at least July to add him to the team.
Wates would be an upgrade in plate discipline and speed. Maybe he could even display some power. Once Wates is able to get a shot as a starting left fielder for the Astros, management can look for potential trades if necessary.