Astros Release Francis Martes

The Astros released Francis Martes this week, notes Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle. The 25-year-old is now a free agent.

It’s an unceremonious end to Martes’ seven-year tenure with the Astros. Signed by the Marlins as an amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic, the big right-hander wound up on the move to Houston at the 2014 trade deadline. The then-rebuilding Astros picked up Martes alongside Colin MoranJake Marisnick and the #37 overall pick in the 2015 draft (eventually used to select Daz Cameron) for Jarred Cosart and Kiké Hernández.

Martes was a rookie ball flier at the time of the trade, but he quickly developed into one of the top pitching prospects in baseball. By 2016, Martes was viewed by Baseball America as one of the top twenty minor league talents throughout the league. He made his big league debut in 2017, and while he didn’t perform well over 54 1/3 innings, he still seemed like a potential high-upside member of the pitching staff over the coming years.

Unfortunately, Martes hasn’t appeared in the big leagues since then. He dealt with an elbow issue in Spring Training in 2018 and ultimately required Tommy John surgery that August. He was suspended eighty games after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance the following season. That looked largely like a moot point — his Tommy John rehab cost him most of that year regardless — but he was hit with a second PED ban in February 2020. As a two-time offender, Martes was suspended for all of last season and into June of this year.

Martes was optioned to Triple-A Sugar Land upon his return from that latest ban. He was passed through outright waivers not long thereafter. His time with the Skeeters was a disaster, as Martes allowed 21 runs in 11 2/3 innings, walking a staggering 20 hitters in that time.

Obviously, Martes’ stock has fallen precipitously over the past few years. Nevertheless, it still seems likely he’ll latch on somewhere on a minor league deal. He’s young enough for a rival club to take a no-risk flier in hopes that Martes can recapture some of the highly promising form he showed at his prospect peak.

Published at Thu, 19 Aug 2021 00:18:31 +0000

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