By R.J. Anderson //
The Astros were one of the league’s busiest teams over the deadline weekend, as they dealt Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn, then demoted Brett Wallace and Chris Johnson to the minors. That leaves the Astros with four players starting at new positions. Tommy looked at Jason Bourgeois on Tuesday, and Carlos Lee is a known quality. Let’s focus on J.D. Martinez and Jimmy Paredes instead.
Martinez is the Astros new left fielder, as Jason Michael has taken over for Pence in right. The soon-to-be 24-year-old is a former 20th-round pick from Nova Southeastern University (that’s in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, for those unaware). Houston felt comfortable promoting Martinez to the majors despite never touching Triple-A because he hit everywhere he went in the minors, including a .324/.393/.494 line for Double-A Corpus Christi in 577 plate appearances.
Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus ranked Martinez as the eighth-best prospect in the Astros system, noting that scouts believe he has a good approach at the plate and “outstanding hands” that produce a “quick, quiet swing”. The expectations Goldstein outlines are that Martinez will hit for average, but not much power or speed from a corner outfield spot. Combined with this being Martinez’s first exposure to the major leagues, there is no guarantee he will perform well. Still, if you have an itching for a potential sleeper in batting average, keep an on eye out on Martinez.
Paredes, meanwhile, came to Houston in the Lance Berkman trade last July. He is a switch-hitter who won’t turn 23 until late November and a former second baseman. In Goldstein’s aforementioned rankings, he had Paredes at number six, noting that he could become an everyday second baseman in a perfect world. Paredes is a speedster with a stolen base for every 3.5 games played in the minors (or roughly a 46-steal pace over 162 games), although he could stand to improve on his efficiency, as his career success rate is just 67 percent.
While speed is appealing, the other phases in his game could use some work. Even this season, he was hitting just .270/.300/.426 in Double-A before being called up, and his minor league career slash line is .279/.312/.406. Don’t expect much fantasy value from Paredes outside of steals, and even then, it’s possible he doesn’t reach base or succeed enough to make it worth the effort.
Seeing some young players should be more exciting for Astros fans than watching washed up retreads on a nightly basis, but don’t get too enamored with either in a fantasy setting. Martinez could provide some batting average, however his position limits his value. The same with Paredes, as both lack the power you conventionally see with players positioned at corner spots.
For more on potential post-deadline pickups, check out bloombergsports.com