Astros desperate for arms call up Francis Martes
By Eric Huysman
Astros will give their top prospect Francis Martes a brief taste of the big leagues.
After Dallas Keuchel was scratched minutes before the game last night, I knew it would be a long night. With Dayan Diaz making the start, the bullpen would be taxed. Diaz only pitched 2 2/3 innings yesterday with Tony Sipp and Michael Feliz trying to bridge the gap, Astros fell 7-5 to the Royals.
With the situation, you had to expect that Diaz would be on the way back to Triple-A. The Astros need a fresh arm in the bullpen, so a move had to be made. There was not much MLB ready pitching at the Triple-A level outside of Jordan Jankowski. Jankowski was not eligible to return until tomorrow. Then came the news of a scratch of a starting pitcher in Triple-A.
Martes was scratched from Triple-A start.
Francis Martes was supposed to start yesterday but was scratched. With that scratch, the writing on the wall was that Martes would be called up. Early this morning, Jake Kaplan broke the news that indeed Martes has been called up.
He is not going to be a starting pitcher at this time, but will be available out of the bullpen. This is not a bad idea, give Martes a little taste of the big league life.
With Joe Musgrove likely coming back this weekend, this could be a short stay with the Astros. Martes has struggled with command and going deep in games this year. If he has one appearance with the Astros, it will help him see what he needs to do to get back up to stay.
With Lance McCullers on the mound tonight, you may see Martes come in and pitch the final 2-3 innings. Despite being a last place team, the Royals seem to play the Astros better than others.
In eight starts, Martes has a 5.28 ERA with 38 strikeouts in 32 1/3 innings. While the strikeout numbers are impressive, his 28 walks demonstrates his struggle with command. He has already given up a career high five homers.
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While the stats are not impressive, sometimes the light turns on when a player reaches the majors. Maybe this will be the case for Martes. Either way, we will get a sneak peek at how he pitches. He throws in the mid-90s with a big curveball. He is the top prospect in the Astros organization and 15th overall according to MLB Pipeline.
Martes could have beat the Super Two deadline, meaning if he stays up the rest of the year, he will only have three years of arbitration. However, it expected that this will be a short stay to eat some innings.
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The Astros need to make some space on the 40-man roster. They could DFA Diaz, but they may want to hold onto him. They could also DFA Preston Tucker, but he is having a good offensive start. The easiest thing I can see is placing Brady Rodgers, Collin McHugh, or Charlie Moton on the 60-day DL. The countermove had not been announced yet.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***