What other prospects could we see in 2019?

After Corbin Martin's call-up, who's next?

Photo by Rich Schultz / Getty Images

After Jose Altuve was sent to the Injured List, the first position player of the year to end up there, the Astros took the opportunity to call up Corbin Martin to make his Major League debut. While Houston fans should hope that there aren't too many more players going to the IL to create these opportunities, George Springer and Aledmys Diaz are both nursing injuries that need further evaluation. So it's fair to ask, who else might we see in 2019?

Yordan Alvarez 

Let's start with the obvious candidate that has the most buzz surrounding him right now, Yordan Alvarez. He has been DOMINATING in the minors this season, currently batting an incredible .411 average with a 1.378 OPS. He has 18 home runs and 55 RBIs over 39 games this season, placing him firmly on top of the minor-league batting charts.

Yordan had the opportunity to get some major-league action this spring, making the Spring Training roster and getting 49 at-bats with the big-league team. He didn't light up the scoreboard, hitting for a .265 average with 7 RBIs and 14 strikeouts, but his performance since then has shown that his upside is very much worth a chance.

The Astros will likely take their time with Alvarez to avoid any early arbitration or free agency situations, so if they do call him up, it'll likely be in June. Yet, with Tyler White off to a slow start in his DH role, it has many understandably wondering why Alvarez can't be given a shot.

Kyle Tucker

Kyle Tucker was in a very similar situation as Alvarez last year when he got his highly-anticipated call up in July of 2018. He had been putting together great offensive numbers in the minor leagues, however, when brought up to the majors couldn't quite replicate that success.

Tucker was invited to Spring Training this season, where he hit a respectable .276 average, but he still has not quite gotten back to the performance that earned him his debut last season. Still, his ceiling is incredibly high, making it no surprise that he was in pre-season Rookie of the Year prediction talks. He could easily go on a tear and earn another shot at the majors.

Forrest Whitley

Similar to Tucker, Forrest Whitley finds himself struggling recently to live up to his big expectations. Whitley, who is Houston's overall top prospect and ranked number 9 in the league, has had a lot of buzz as being a future starting pitcher for the Astros, especially after being designated as one of the few players Houston would simply not give up in any trade.

Whitley also was brought to Spring Training to get a little major-league exposure. During the spring he pitched 15 innings, over which he allowed five runs giving him an ERA of 3.00 while striking out 11, a respectable result. However, after being sent to the minors to continue improving for his inevitable promotion to the big-league roster, he's struggled heavily. In his 22.1 innings this season for Round Rock, he's allowed a surprisingly high 26 earned runs, giving him an ERA of 10.48. Whitley has very high upside, so he too could turn things around quickly and still make his way onto the Astros' roster, but for now, he needs more time to turn things around in the minors.

Myles Straw 

Another player currently spending time developing in a Round Rock Express uniform is Myles Straw. Straw made his major-league debut as a September call up in 2018, brought in to give the Astros some speed on the base paths for the playoffs. While he definitely still warrants consideration for his speed, he continues to develop as a hitter, too.

Straw was another invitee to Spring Training, where he hit for a strong .378 with 1 home run and 2 RBIs in his 45 plate appearances. He's continued to do well at the plate in the minors this year, sitting with a .308 average with 15 RBIs over his 38 games. He's not one of the most renown prospects, but his speed and versatility make him a good fit if the Astros should need some depth in the outfield this season.

The Astros are fortunate that these are just four of the many prospects they have in their system that could have big impacts in this and the coming years. All of the years of prospect hoarding in the down years has paid off in a big way, and it's showing via the good problem to have: having major-league caliber players that have to be slowly moved into the big-league system.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome