Which Astros Pitching Prospects Could Help in 2019?
Every year teams will have players come up from the minors and make an immediate impact. This post will focus on the pitching side. In 2018 the Astros received contributions from Josh James, Framber Valdez, and Cionel Perez. While all three of these guys are likely to contribute in 2019, I wanted to look at some pitchers who have yet to make their MLB debut. Here are a few guys who should/could contribute in 2019.
Whitley will be the guy everyone is looking for but with an uber prospect, you can expect the Astros to play the system and hold off until the Super 2 Deadline has passed. Whitley will still be working his way back from a up and down 2018 but he was solid in the Arizona Fall League and pitched very well this spring. Whitley was ranked the #5 prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America.
Armenteros appeared destined for a call-up last season after he had a great 2017 season between AA and AAA (2.04 ERA, 10.6 K/9). He pitched the entire 2018 season in AAA and had a 3.74 ERA and 10.2 K/9. He didn’t pitch much this spring only logging 5 innings with 1 earned run allowed. Armenteros seems like the perfect prospect to call-up when the Astros need a fill-in starter. He was recently added to the 40-man roster so he should have a good shot.
Martin was just drafted in 2017 but has flown through the system so far. In 2018 he spent the majority of the season in AA and had an overall ERA of 2.51 with 9.0 K/9. He should start in AAA this season which means he is on the doorstep. I see Martin as less likely than Whitley or Armenteros but if the Astros run into some injury problems. he could get the call.
Bielak is in the same boat as Martin. A 2017 draftee, he pitched the majority of the season in AA (61.1 innings). Overall he had a 2.23 ERA and struck out 131 K in 117 innings. Like Martin, he might start in AAA, though the pitching depth is stacked now. His chance of being called up is similar to Martin’s, but maybe a tad lower just based on pure stuff. This just illustrates the depth the Astros have on the farm right now.
Bostick has been in the Astros system since 2015 when he was acquired for Carlos Corporan. He put together a solid season in 2018 and made it to AAA (1 start) after posting a 3.48 ERA and 9.4 K/9 in AA. He only allowed 2 runs in 8.2 innings this spring and figures to be in the AAA rotation. While there are other guys ahead of him, he figures to be on the list of potential call-ups.
While the other guys listed were starters, McCurry is one of the relivers I could see making his debut this season. He has constantly posted solid numbers and has struck out 169 in 150.1 AAA innings. If the Astros are in need of a reliever sometime this season, they could look to add someone like McCurry to the 40-man roster for a call-up.
There may be others that might get the call, but I feel these guys are on the end of “most likely”. But a list like this, and the others we have seen, is just more reason to be happy as an Astros fan.
**Photo Credit: Kiel Maddox**