Before Wednesday’s contest, Brian McTaggart reported that the Houston Astros‘ top position player prospect Pedro Leon will be out about six weeks, as he is placed on the 7-day IL. The shortstop/center fielder fractured his left pinky finger while sliding into a base on Monday.
Chatter erupted on Twitter about Leon exiting Monday’s game with the Sugar Land Skeeters in the eighth inning with the bases loaded. These type of moves aren’t seen when testing a highly touted prospect, but now we know that it wasn’t to prevent an injury before being traded. He was actually injured.
Unfortunately, Pedro Leon will miss six weeks, but did the Astros miss out on Starling Marte?
With Leon being called up to Triple-A, the Astros could’ve aimed for a late season call up for the right-hander to acclimate the prospect with the major leaguers. This could be a shot in the dark, as he wouldn’t have many Triple-A games under his belt, but it would make sense since he will be on the 40-man roster in the near future.
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There wasn’t any anticipation that Leon would be a key factor for the team in 2021, and although most of his innings have been at shortstop, he offers elite defending in center field, where the Astros lack consistency. Starling Marte was a trade target for the Astros, and while he was dealt to the Oakland A’s in a one-for-one deal (Miami Marlins will pay off his salary) for Jesus Luzardo, Houston dodged a bullet.
For those that don’t know, Luzardo has a huge ceiling and adds to the long list of Marlins’ elite farm pitching. While making a respectable impact in 2020, the left-hander has spent most of his 2021 in Triple-A due to major-league struggles. While the Marlins do cover the rental of Marte, this trade looks one-sided on paper along with the Seattle Mariners biting at the heels of the A’s.
Marte would surely be an upgrade, but one comparison for Luzardo could be Cristian Javier, who is someone the Astros’ shouldn’t look to lose in their current state. Leon is out until mid-September, so a late-season call up looks out of grasp, but it makes you wonder if there are any other center fielders out there that the Astros could try landing this week.