What other prospects could we see in 2019?

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

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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.

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This week the NASCAR cup series heads to the world center of racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, for the inaugural fourth of July version of the Brickyard 400. This is unprecedented for NASCAR considering over the course of 50 years they are usually in Daytona around this time. While this move was met with a lot of criticism from fans, there is a positive to come from this move though, as the sport will hold their first doubleheader with Indycar. This has been talked about for many years and now it has finally come to fruition. Another new facet of this weekend will be the Xfinity Series running on the road course configuration. This could very well lead to the cup series transitioning from the oval to the road course next season should everything go well when the Xfinity series does it. It will definitely be an interesting weekend.

Last week, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin dominated the first-ever doubleheader at Pocono. The two drivers finished first and second in both races with Harvick taking race one and Hamlin winning race two. Both of these races came down to pit-road strategy as Harvick was able to eke out a victory by taking two tires and fuel while his teammate Aric Almirola took four. The next day Denny Hamlin pretty much had the whole field covered as he went on to claim his fourth victory of the season. Overall, the idea of two races in a weekend went over well but for the racing itself, it was hard to watch. One of the main issues I had was how the drivers didn't have to shift this week. In my opinion, that was what made this track so unique. It was an oval that had road course characteristics and it usually produced some pretty good finishes. Hopefully this will be addressed when the new car makes its debut in 2022.

One of the big stories going into this week is the announcement a couple of weeks ago that NASCAR will be moving their all-star event to Bristol Motor Speedway. Over the past couple of weeks, there has been a whirlwind of news from the Bubba Wallace story at Talladega, to the doubleheader races last week. A lot of this has put this announcement on the back burner but this is a huge story. The race will be held on Wednesday, July 15th as NASCAR continues with midweek races. This is the first time since 1986 that the race will not be run at NASCAR's home track in Charlotte back when it took place at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The format will be pretty much the same as all the winners from 2019 and 2020 will all have an automatic birth into the race while the rest of the field will run in the open event the day before. The main event will feature four stages including a 15 lap closer around one of NASCAR's most popular race tracks. I think this move was long overdue and I hope that they continue with it in the future. Don't get me wrong, there isn't anything wrong with the race at Charlotte but I think a change of pace would be welcomed. I look forward to seeing how this turns out.

As we move on to Indy this weekend, the driver I have winning is Kurt Busch. This weekend will be the 2004 Cup Series champion's 700th career start, and he's won just about every race that there is to be won except this one here at the Brickyard. This week, that is going to change. It hasn't been the most consistent season for the Vegas native, but he still sits tenth in points and right in the thick of the playoff battle. This track isn't his best as he currently has a 19.42 average finish, including a dismal 30th place finish last year. But this week, I think he gets back on track with a victory as he starts second. The veteran has flown under the radar this year, but he has definitely shown spurts where we think he is going to break-out. He also has runs where it seems like him and his team are mid-pack, but there aren't many drivers out there that have the experience he has. And a talented driver like him always finds a way to bounce back. Look for Kurt Busch to take the #1 Monster Energy Camaro to victory lane.

All stats and information used in this article are brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Reference.com, the best websites for all NASCAR stats.

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