Tuesday night, Francis Martes made his first start of the season and debut for the Houston Astros Class A affiliate the Quad Cities River Bandits, who were on the road playing against the Clinton Lumberkings at Ashford University Field.
Martes was acquired by the Astros in the trade with the Miami Marlins organization along with outfielder Jake Marisnick and infielder Colin Moran, who is on the disabled list with a fracture jaw, and a competitive balance round pick in the 2015 Draft for right-hander Jarred Cosart and infielder Kike Hernandez on July 31, 2014.
On a clear, cool night — 57 degrees with the wind blowing out to right — Martes (0-0, 2.25 ERA) pitched 4.0 complete innings, giving up just one run on two hits and three walks, while striking out five. He also hit a batter. The Bandits would go on to win the game 8-5. Martes did not factor into the decision.
Prior to being activated by the Bandits, Martes was ranked as the #19 prospect in the Gulf Coast League in 2014 after posting a 3-3 record with a 4.09 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 44 innings. He held opponents to a .209 batting average.
The young pitcher will 19 years old for the entire season and naturally at that age is a raw talent. He has a fastball in the upper 90s, a changeup that is his best secondary pitch and he also throws a slider and a curve that are in the development stage.
Prior to the start of the 2015 campaign, Martes was ranked as the Astros #15 prospect by Baseball America and the #21 prospect by MLB.com.