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.

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Composite photo by Jack Brame

Former Astros manager Andrew Jay Hinch is on a short list of candidates to become manager of the Detroit Tigers in 2021.

The question is, after being suspended and later fired for his role in the Astros sign-stealing scandal, does A.J. Hinch deserve to manage again in baseball?

It's weird to think because so much has happened in 2020, but Hinch was suspended and fired only nine months ago. His banishment, however, ends in a matter of weeks with the final out of the upcoming World Series. At that point, he will be available to manage the Tigers or any other team. There's a possibility that the Mets are interested. Some were hoping it'd be the Astros, but the Astros are committed to manager Dusty Baker for next year. After that … never say never.

Shortly after getting the Astros ax, Hinch went on MLB TV and apologized for his role in the Astros cheating scandal. Although baseball's investigation said the garbage can banging scheme was "with the exception of (Astros coach Alex) Cora, player-driven and player-executed," Hinch took responsibility as manager and didn't challenge his punishment. No players were punished.

"I still feel responsible and will always feel responsible as the man out front," Hinch said. "As the leader, I was in charge of the team. I put out a statement to apologize. But there is something different to doing it on camera and putting a face to an apology, and saying I'm sorry to the league, to baseball, to fans, to players, to the coaches.

"It happened on my watch. I'm not proud of that. I'll never be proud of it. I didn't like it. But I have to own it. And the commissioner's office made very, very clear that the GM and the manager were in position to make sure that nothing like this happened. And we fell short."

In effect, while Hinch didn't authorize or participate in the sign-stealing scandal, he didn't do enough (really anything) to stop it. He is the rare case of being a guilty bystander.

To be clear, Hinch has not been offered the Detroit manager job. However, he has more experience and more wins under his belt than most of the other candidates being considered.

Hinch's reputation is blemished, but his credentials can't be disputed. During his five years as Astros manager, the team never had a losing season, won 100 or more games three times, including a team record 107 wins last year, made the playoffs three times and won a World Series.

Has baseball forgiven Hinch, and does he deserve another chance to manage in the big leagues? This is America, the land of forgiveness and second chances.

As Mahatma Gandhi said, "The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong."

Hinch knew his team was cheating and didn't do enough to stop it. There's no defense for that. But I think he's paid enough of a price to get back in baseball.

Mike Tyson raped a woman, went to jail, and now he's practically America's sweetheart. Hillary forgave Bill. We not only forgave Confederate leaders, we built schools and statues to honor them. Martha Stewart went to jail for insider trading, now she's back on TV baking crumpets. Ozzy Osbourne was arrested for pee'ing on a monument outside the Alamo, there is no more sacred place in Texas, and now he sells out concerts at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.

Pee-wee Herman, well, let's not say what he was caught doing, but he's planning to tour the U.S. celebrating the 35th anniversary of Pee-wee's Big Adventure movie.

Remember, Hinch was suspended for a year. It could have been worse. Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has the power to ban people for life. Since becoming the commish, Manfred has permanently banished two people: former St. Louis Cardinals scouting director Chris Correa for hacking into the Astros computer database, and former Atlanta Braves general manager, John Coppolella for signing international players illegally.

Manfred also has temporarily banned Astros assistant general manager Brandon Taubman for shouting inappropriate comments at female reporters last year. Taubman is eligible to apply for reinstatement after this year's World Series. However, if he commits one more violation of baseball rules, he will be banned for life.

Lifetime bans aren't as unusual as you might think. Since baseball's beginnings in the 1800s, dozens of players, managers and team owners have been banned, mostly, like Pete Rose and the Chicago Black Sox, for gambling-related offenses.

A.J. Hinch copped to his crime, suffered the consequences, now it's time for him to manage a baseball team again. It's not like he'd be landing a plum job with Detroit. The Tigers are out of this year's playoff picture. They lost 114 games last season. And were 64-98 the two years prior. Managing the Tigers will be punishment enough.

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