Astros News

Astros Cut Two More From Roster

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Mar 17, 2017; Fort Myers, FL, USA; Houston Astros relief pitcher Francis Martes (79) throws against the Boston Red Sox in the fifth inning at JetBlue Park. The Astros won 6-2. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 17, 2017; Fort Myers, FL, USA; Houston Astros relief pitcher Francis Martes (79) throws against the Boston Red Sox in the fifth inning at JetBlue Park. The Astros won 6-2. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /
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Two of the Astros top prospects have now been cut from major league camp.

Francis Martes and Ramon Laureano have promising futures in baseball. Both are considered key to the Astros future plans on the pitching mound and the outfield.

However, it is not uncommon for top prospects to not crack a loaded 25-man roster for Opeming Day. The primary reason they were in major league camp in the first place was to gain experience and learn from the veteran players. Basically a crash course in being a pro baseball player.

Hopefully it is a mission accomplished for Martes and Laureano, and they both have strong seasons in the minors.

Martes, 21, will likely start the season in Double-A with Corpus Christi or Triple-A with Fresno. The team’s top prospect had a solid season last year with the Corpus Christi Hooks. In 125.1 innings pitched, Martes posted a 3.30 ERA and a 2.73 FIP. He also put up 9.41 K/9, but also posted a 3.38 BB/9. But Martes was successful in limiting home runs last year with a 0.29 HR/9. In Spring Training, Martes posted a 3.86 ERA in seven innings pitched with six strikeouts.

Laureano, 22, had a breakout season in 2016 as the outfielder split time with three Astros affiliates. At each stop though he stepped up and became an Astros fan rising star pick in the minors. In all three of his stops last year, Laureano posted an 119, 155, and 184 wRC+ in that order.

Of course, you have to consider sample size.

For example, Laureano had 357 plate appearances with the Lancaster JetHawks, which is in a hitter’s ballpark in a hitter’s league. In Corpus Christi towards the tail end of the season, he received 148 plate appearances. It’ll be interesting to see him play more in the Texas League in a ballpark that isn’t known for gaudy offensive numbers.

The most encouraging aspect to his statistics last season was his walk rate, which stated between 13.5-14.0% in Single-A+ and Double-A. In Spring Training, Laureano posted a .214 batting average with just an RBI and a .603 OPS.

Next: Astros Spring Notes; A Split Squad Sweep on St. Patrick's Day

The Astros roster now stands at 47 players, and additional cuts are on the horizon as more players return from the World Baseball Classic in the coming days. It remains to be seen who else will be cut, but this is a tough roster to crack.

**Statistics courtesy of MLB.com and Fangraphs**

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