The Houston Astros have been hit by the injury bug in the starting rotation. The team has been without Collin McHugh all season and had Joe Musgrove, Charlie Morton, and Dallas Keuchel has missed starts.
The team has attempted to fill the gap with the likes of Mike Fiers and Brad Peacock, but the bullpen innings have piled up for Houston.
In an attempt to stem the tide, the Astros have fired their best bullet for pitching help by calling up top pitching prospect Francis Martes on Thursday, reports the Houston Chronicle’s, Jake Kaplan.
The Astros have called up Francis Martes from AAA, per sources. Expectation is they'll break in their top pitching prospect out of the 'pen.— Jake Kaplan (@jakemkaplan) June 8, 2017
Martes, 21, has been a diamond from the rough after being a thrown in player in the Jarred Costart trade in 2014 with the Marlins.
Martes has skyrocketed up the Astros minor league season, spending 2016 in Corpus Christi. He was 9-6 with a 3.30 ERA in 25 games (22 starts), striking out 131 and walking 47 in 125 1/3 innings.
The right-hander has struggled in Triple-A with a 0-2 record and a 5.29 ERA in eight starts. But the Astros were without many options to help out the major league bullpen with Ashur Tolliver injured and Jordan Jankowski unable to return until Friday.
Martes is currently the No.1 prospect on the TCB Top 30 Astros prospect list. Brian Stevenson profiles Martes for our list:
Among a host of shrewd acquisitions since his tenure began, perhaps none shine as bright a light on Jeff Luhnow as does Martes. A virtual afterthought in the Jarred Cosart trade, the tacked-on lottery ticket has become the prize of the whole deal, the gem of the whole farm system, and one of the great trade heists in recent memory.
Of course, all that continues to hold true depends on Martes reaching his potential. Martes utilizes two plus pitches (a consistent mid-90's heater and a power curveball) to attack hitters, and he generally has a strong feel for using and locating them. His changeup has lagged behind, and the Astros brought Roy Oswalt to spring camp to work on it with him. A hot start to the year in Triple-A could see him in Houston by mid-season.