Astros MiLB: Francis Martes Dominating Double-A
Much has been said this season about the great job the Astros have done scouting and picking up players in trades that are little known at the time of the trade. One of the pieces the Astros have acquired in the recent years has blossomed into a top pitching prospect. He is Francis Martes.
Martes was acquired in a trade with the Marlins in 2014. For more on the full trade, click here. Following the trade Martes was assigned to the Astros rookie league affiliate where he struck out 12 over 11 innings. In 2015 Martes would have a breakout season.
Martes made his full season debut in 2015 at just 19 years old. In 10 outings for Quad Cities, Martes went 3-2 with a 1.04 ERA and 45 K in 52 innings. This was enough for him to earn a promotion to High-A Lancaster where he went 4-1 with a 2.37 ERA and 37 K in 35 innings. The Astros bumped him up another level sending him to Double-A to finish the season. In 3 starts for the Hooks he had a 4.91 ERA with 16 K in 14.2 innings.
At just 19 years old he went a combined 8-3 with a 2.04 ERA in 101.2 innings over three different levels. Martes began to receive national attention and was ranked the #20 prospect in baseball by Baseball America and the #40 prospect in baseball by MLB.com.
Martes opened the 2016 season in Double-A, where he is still currently assigned. His first start of the season went well as he tossed 6 shutout innings. He hit a tough stretch over the his next 8 outings he has a 7.11 ERA with 18 BB in 25.1 innings. Since then, in 15 games, Martes has gone 7-3 with a 2.48 ERA and 24 BB/101 K in 90.2 innings while holding opposing hitters to a .203 BAA.
I had the opportunity to watch Martes pitch last night and he was impressive. Martes has a fastball in the mid 90s and a very sharp power curveball. He pitches at a very fast pace and did a great job attacking hitters and not wasting any pitches. Early in the season he struggled with command and might have been nibbling. Now he is attacking guys with confidence and putting up some gaudy numbers at just 20 years old.
With his performance this season, Martes has improved his stock and should be ranked even higher this season. He is already ranked as the best pitching prospect in the Astros system and is making a case to be on the of the best pitching prospects in baseball. Once again, another great job by the Astros finding a developing another top prospect. It shouldn’t be long before Martes is pitching his home games at Minute Maid Park.
**Photo Credit: Tammy Tucker**