The Major League season is hitting the stretch run, however, the Houston Astros minor league system is about to wind down for the year.
The Houston Astros announced which players will be representing the team in Arizona this fall to work on their baseball skills in preparation for the 2017 season.
Per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle, the Astros have decided to send Francis Martes, David Paulino, Garrett Stubbs, Ramon Laureano, Nick Tanielu, Jason Martin, and Jacob Dorris to Arizona. The report also mentions that former major league outfielder Aaron Rowand will manage the team.
Of all of the prospects, Martes and Paulino are the two to keep an eye on. The Fall League though isn’t anything to take too much stock in. But the duo have proven to be two of the Astros most promising arms.
Martes posted a 3.32 ERA/3.69 RAvg in 122 innings pitched for the Corpus Christi Hooks. The 20-year old right-hander is the Astros top prospect per MLB Pipeline since the promotions of Alex Bregman and A.J. Reed earlier this season.
Paulino is considered the Astros fourth-best prospect as the 2016 season enters its final month. Even though he missed a portion of the season due to suspension, the 22-year old right-hander proved the excitement surrounding his prospect star in 2016. In 85 total innings pitched at three levels, Paulino posted a 2.12 ERA/2.96 RAvg while starting and relieving.
The remaining Astros prospects that are joining the Arizona Fall League are worth paying attention to as well.
Stubbs, an eight-round draft pick in 2015, is the Astros 30th ranked prospect per MLB Pipeline. The 23-year old catcher/designated hitter slashed .300/.388/.464 between Class A+ and AA. Laureano, a 16th round pick in 2014, is another hitter that Astros fans have been closely watching this year. The 22-year old had his best season of his young career as he split time between Lancaster and Corpus Christi. In 400 at-bats, Laureano has hit 15 home runs and 72 RBI with 39 stolen bases.
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Another 14th round pick of the Astros, Tanielu, is an infielder that has also split time between Lancaster and Corpus Christi. While not a power hitter, the Washington State alum slashed a batting line of .286/.326/.409 in 486 at-bats.
Martin is one of the more intriguing prospects in the Astros system. His potential has been bragged upon since the team took him in the eighth round back in 2013. And it looks like he finally delivered. The 20-year old posted a .869 OPS while hitting 22 home runs for Lancaster. Of course, Lancaster is in an extreme hitters league so it will be determined how real this power surge actually is as he climbs the ladder.
The final player is Dorris, a right-handed pitcher from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, pitched this season for three Astros affiliates. In 59.1 innings, Dorris struck out 87 hitters while allowing 27 walks. So potential is clearly there, and maybe the Arizona Fall League can provide fans more opportunity to familiarize themselves with the 23-year old.
There are some intriguing names to keep an eye this fall. The Astros minor leagues are stocked with talent all over, and these eight will provide a snapshot into how deep the system is for Houston.
**Statistics provided by Baseball Reference**