The most likely prospect to make an impact in 2017.
While Martes has not even pitched a game in Triple-A, but the Astros feel strongly enough about Martes’ potential to not trade him. If Peter Gammons was correct, the Astros could have included him in exchange for Chris Archer. But, they refuse to include him in a deal for Jose Quintana. Both Luhnow and Hinch have said that Martes could be up this season.
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What does Jim Callis think?
MLB Pipeline thinks that Martes is a top of the rotation pitcher, who ranks as the fifth overall right-handed pitching prospect. Recently, Jim Callis came on Talking Stros to sing praises of Martes, who is drawing comparisons to where Lance McCullers was before his call-up. His delivery has shades of Johnny Cueto to it.
Callis said that Martes had had more success as a starter in the minors like McCullers did. “Francis needs to fine tune the control a little bit and maybe improve the changeup a little bit.” Callis mentioned that he looked better in the Arizona Fall League, calling him one of the top three pitchers there. He can see Martes becoming a number two starter.
When asked if Martes could be wearing an Astros uniform this year, Callis said, “yes I do. Becuase he pretty much conquered Double-A pitching last year after a slow start. He can go to Triple-A and get a month or two there, but he will be ready when needed. I would expect him up by the end of the year.”
Because of his potential, I think Martes will be called up when a long-term starting pitcher is needed. Gustave may make the opening day roster, but he will only pitch one inning at a time. Paulino has the stuff, but he could use a little more seasoning. But Martes, after getting his feet wet, Martes could be the early favorite for the best rookie on the Astros.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference and MLB Pipeline***