Francis Martes has a very high ceiling. Rated as the top prospect in the Astros system, he is No. 17 on the MLB Top 100 Prospects list as well as No. 4 on the MLB Top RHP Prospects list. Even though he has been struggling a bit this season, Martes may find himself on a major league roster by the end of the 2017 season.
Martes has flown through the Astros minor league system. Once a 19-year-old prospect thrown in in the deal sending Jared Cosart to the Miami Marlins, he was stellar in 2015, his first full season in the Astros system. Through Single-A Quad Cities, Single-A Lancaster and Double-A Corpus Christi, Martes had a 2.04 ERA with a 1.09 WHIP. With a .220 batting average against, he struck out 98 batters in 101.2 innings of work.
The strikeouts have started to become a major part of his game, striking out at least 20 percent of his batters faced in all but one of his stops in his minor league career. His pitching repertoire has helped with that, consisting of a high-nineties fastball with a nasty breaking ball.
So far in 2017, Martes has become much more hittable. Through five starts at Triple-A Fresno, he has a 5.68 ERA with a 2.37 WHIP. He has given up 26 hits and 19 walks through his 19 innings of work. The strikeouts are still there, with 20, but he is being hit a lot harder in the Pacific Coast League than any other.
With his early season struggles and his high expectations, Astros fans should be worried that management may rush him onto a major league roster too soon. However, he has shown that the talent it there. It just needs to be refined a bit.