Today the Houston Astros formally announced the first wave of September call-ups. It is bittersweet to see some of the roster moves that they had to make to facilitate a pair of 40-man roster additions.
Paul Clemens is the next piece from the Michael Bourn trade to (possibly) leave the Astros organization for good. Clemens is an average pitcher in the minor leagues that has shown flashes of greatness while being a starting pitcher. But the Astros hardly gave him a chance in the rotation. His ERA skyrocketed as a relief pitcher. I would attribute most of his struggles to poor character and a tendency to give up the long ball far too much. Clemens was, for the most part, a major disappointment. He was shuffled to and from the big league club and the organization all but built a Clemens expressway from the MLB club to AAA.
David Martinez, 27 years old, was also designated for assignment. Martinez, a graduate of the Astros baseball academy in Venezuela, has a career 3.80 ERA in parts of 10 seasons with minor league teams. Through a few stints with the MLB club in 2013 and 2014, Martinez compiled a 6.38 ERA in just 18 1/3 innings of work.
Now on to the festivities!
De Leon is an intriguing addition to the major league bullpen. Yes he has some velocity with his fastball. The 27-year-old right-hander has a decent ERA in parts of 5 seasons in the minor leagues and has worked just over 300 innings. He had yet to allow a home run and had posted a 2.62 ERA through his stint with the AAA Redhawks this season.
The Astros have already had some looks at Hoes, Stassi, and Villar. Hopefully these guys will be able to contribute something good this time around.
Nick Tropeano, Nitro, is the highlight of this wave of talent. A pick out of college, Tropeano figured to be a depth pick. But he quickly accelerated through the system due to improving his pitch offerings and his fastball velocity. In 2013 he actually led the Astros system in strikeouts by a pitcher. Pretty solid honor to have considering Mike Foltynewicz had a nice year as well. Overall Tropeano has simply mastered the level of AAA in 2014, holding hitters to a .200 batting average.
Tropeano’s best asset, in my opinion, is his ability to keep the ball in the strike zone. This is exhibited by his sterling 3.64 K/BB ratio. He also led the PCL with a WHIP (Walks + Hits/ Innings Pitched) of just 0.99. Nitro was the only pitcher in the league with a WHIP sub-1.00. I am excited to see his development continue throughout the month of September.