Astros Winter League Spotlight: Francis Martes
Since being acquired from the Marlins at the deadline in 2014, Francis Martes has done a good job turning heads within the Astros organization. He has pitched his way from the Gulf Coast Astros all the way to Double-A Corpus Christi. He currently sits as the Astros number one prospect according to MLB.com. He was tasked with pitching for the Glendale Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League once the 2016 season ended.
After struggling in his first outing of the winter, Martes got things back in order and finished up on a strong note. In his final outing he went five innings giving up two hits without allowing a run. He did walk two, but tied his Winter League season high with seven strikeouts. Overall in the AFL, Martes went 2-1 with an ERA of 3.22. He gave up 20 hits in 22.1 innings pitched, while walking nine and striking out a total of 25. If he continues to improve the rate that he has been, the Astros might have just found the power arm that most teams crave.
Martes had a very productive 2016 overall playing for the Corpus Christi Hooks. He appeared in 25 games making 22 starts pitching to a record of 9-6 with an ERA of 3.30. In 125.1 innings pitched, Martes had 131 strikeouts to 47 walks. It isn’t known as of yet where he will start 2017, but if the consistency is there he may make a late season appearance with the Astros.
To top off a successful winter campaign, Martes was named to the Top 25 (No. 6) Arizona Fall League Prospects. Also making the list was Ramon Laureano (No. 24), who participated in 12 games in the beginning of the AFL season. MLB.com mentioned that Laureano’s hitting ability and overall speed impressed many of the scouts and team officials.
Several other Astros prospects are still in action in various winter leagues trying to get their final tune-up before spring training.
This article was published by John Ginder. You can follow him on Twitter here.
**Photo Credit: Tammy Tucker**