How Astros Rookie of the Year debate just got a lot more intriguing

MIDSEASON ROY

The Houston Astros have dealt with their fair share of injuries so far this season, and while it's made things much more difficult in some aspects, it's also given young players an opportunity to prove themselves.

So which Astros rookie should take home the midseason ROY hardware? On the offensive side of the ball, Yainer Diaz appears to be the front-runner over Corey Julks.

The injury to Yordan Alvarez has given Diaz the chance to play regularly, and he's come through and added some pop in the lineup. He currently has 8 home runs (7 in his last 30 games) and is sporting an .754 OPS.

If only Dusty would start him more often at catcher over Martin Maldonado, whose defensive skills have diminished this season and is hitting an underwhelming .171 with a .536 OPS.

Raising the bar

The other top two candidates are starting pitchers Hunter Brown and JP France. You can't really go wrong with either pitcher. France's numbers (3.13 ERA) are a little better than Brown's (3.76 ERA), but he has only started 10 games to Brown's 16.

So who do you believe has earned Astros ROY at the midpoint of the season?

Be sure to check out the video as we share our thoughts on the team's best rookie.

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Giants defeat the Astros, 5-3. Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images.

Austin Slater had three hits and drove in two runs to help the San Francisco Giants beat the Houston Astros 5-3 on Wednesday.

Slater also stole a base and scored for San Francisco, which took the rubber game of the three-game series in a speedy 2 hours, 7 minutes.

Yordan Álvarez homered for Houston, which has lost three of four overall.

The Giants jumped on Framber Valdez for five runs and eight hits in four innings. Valdez (5-4) threw 59 pitches in his shortest outing of the season, finishing with just one strikeout, his fewest in a game since July 26 when he had one against Texas.

San Francisco right-hander Logan Webb (6-5) permitted three runs and seven hits in six innings.

Ryan Walker, Tyler Rogers and Camilo Doval combined for three scoreless innings in relief. Doval struck out former Giants utility player Mauricio Dubón to end the game, earning his 12th save in 14 chances.

Wilmer Flores gave San Francisco an early lead with a sacrifice fly in the third. Matt Chapman followed with an RBI double.

Jeremy Peña drove in Houston’s first run on an infield single in the fourth.

Slater answered with a two-run single in the bottom of the inning, and Heliot Ramos added a sacrifice fly to make it 5-1.

Álvarez hit a two-run homer to center in the sixth, his 14th of the year.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: OF Kyle Tucker (right shin contusion) has not begun baseball activities and is not expected to return Friday when he is eligible to come off the injured list. However, manager Joe Espada did not rule him out for the weekend. ... C Yainer Díaz missed his third straight game with a sore right index finger, though Espada said he was available off the bench and should be ready to start Friday.

Giants: LHP Blake Snell (left groin strain) threw off a mound for the first time since going on the IL on June 3. ... RHP Austin Warren (right elbow UCL surgery) pitched a scoreless inning with one strikeout in a rehab outing with Single-A San Jose on Wednesday.

UP NEXT

Astros: Return home for a three-game series against the Detroit Tigers beginning Friday night. RHP Hunter Brown (2-5, 5.58 ERA) seeks his fifth straight quality start, while Detroit hadn’t announced a starter.

Giants: Host the Los Angeles Angels in a three-game series starting Friday night. Neither team had announced a starter.

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