The current offseason will see Crawfish Boxes review each of the 316 players to appear at some level of the Astros system in 2022.
Although the regular season doesn’t end for another two weeks, I was set on starting early because even profiling two players per day, I would still not have them all done by the start of spring training. I compromised by starting as late as I could and still guarantee finishing, and by only profiling players who appeared only below the Double-A level through October 1. Today is the 13th day of this project. There will be 145 more.
Eurys Martich is a six-foot-three, 206 lb. right-handed pitcher from San Cristobal, DR. Born on August 20, 2002, Martich signed his first professional contract with Houston on July 2, 2019.
Although Martich has technically been a part of the Astros organization for three-plus years now, he wasn’t assigned to an affiliate until nearly two years after he signed. He joined the DSL Astros in July, 2021, and put up a 2.734 WHIP in 26 1⁄3 innings. You read that right. Martich did strike out 43 batters over that span, but also surrendered 44 runs (42 earned) on 18 wild pitches, 20 hits, and 52 walks. That’s almost two walks per inning, and Martich was blessed with a 14.35 ERA.
Martich joined the FCL Astros Blue Squad for the 2022 campaign, and fared only slightly better. In 17 2⁄3 frames, he struck out 17 batters but walked 28, allowing 14 runs (nine earned) on 16 hits and eight wild pitches. Despite his WHIP improving slightly to 2.491, his ERA improved by triple, all the way down to 4.58.
Martich has a very long and uphill climb if he wants to someday reach the major league level. I find it doubtful that he’ll remain with the club into 2023.
Luis Encarnacion is a five-foot-eight, 170 lb. first baseman and catcher from Santo Domingo, DR. Born on September 25, 2022, Encarnacion turns 20-years-old tomorrow. On July 2, 2019, he signed his first official contract with the Houston Astros organization. Like Martich, Encarnacion didn’t appear in a game-setting until the 2021 campaign. Unlike Martich, Encarnacion looked passable right away.
In his first season as a pro, Encarnacion led the DSL Astros with 56 appearances and with 72 total bases. He slashed .320/.401/.426 with 25 RBI and 15 stolen bases in 18 attempts. Also notable was his lower-than-expected 11.5 percent whiff-rate. Defensively, he racked up a .960 fielding percentage in 210 innings at first base. As a catcher, he threw out two-of-15 baserunners and put up a 1.000 fielding percentage through 56 innings, although he was guilty of five passed balls. Fourteen times he put up multiple hits in a game, including on July 17, when he went three-for-four with three singles and three RBI in the DSL Astros first win of the season, a 15-5 victory over the DSL Twins.
The 2022 campaign would see Encarnacion start the season with the FCL Astros, a lateral promotion of sorts. In 40 games with the Orange squad, he hit .264/.324/.436 with five homers, 29 RBI, and a very low whiff rate of just 12 percent.
Defensively this season, the Astros wanted to try Encarnacion in a variety of places. He played 71 innings at first base (1.000), 61 innings at second (.967), 41 innings at third (.923), 21 innings in left field (1.000), and 67 frames behind the plate (1.000). As a catcher he passed zero balls and threw out four-of-19 runners trying to steal.
Encarnacion’s modularity no doubt makes him an easy decision to retain. I consider it a good bet that he starts next year at the Low-A level with the Fayetteville Woodpeckers. A conservative estimate would see him making an impact on a major league field of play sometime in 2027 or 2028.