Several players on the bubble in the Astros’ 2013 stretch run


Now that the Astros have passed the much-awaited, ballyhooed trade deadline, the organization can focus on the last third of the season.

These next two months are all-important for a handful of players, hoping for one more shot at turning the heads of management and fans.  Here’s a rundown of some of the players on the bubble as the summer and the 2013 season begins its final descent.

Jimmy Paredes. Already mentioned in these pages this week. Definitely getting perhaps one final shot to make his case. He started like gangbusters when he made the jump from AA Corpus Christi along with J.D. Martinez and Jose Altuve back in 2011. At 24, all he’s proven since is that he can hit at AAA, but not in the majors. Prediction: Under team control for at least five more years, he’ll be around, if only as a stop gap for times like these.

Brett Wallace.  Not so young anymore (27 this month) he got an incredible reprieve since Jonathan Singleton hasn’t been able to put things together after his 50-game suspension to start the season. Wallace — how many times has he been up? — is hitting .273 with 6 HRs and 15 RBI since July 4, but still Ks often with few walks. Next 54 games may tell his tale. Prediction: He stays.

J.D. Martinez. On pace for 100 Ks if he plays regularly. Once projected as a middle-of-the-order hitter, Martinez is still somewhat of a run producer, but has a lower OBP (.280) that Altuve’s batting average (.284). With Springer in the OF and a possible FA in right field next spring, Martinez could be the odd man out. Prediction: Probably out at some point, as late as spring training.

Chris Carter. How do you cut, release, trade, send down the player who leads the team in HRs and RBI? Answer: You don’t, unless you find a suitable replacement. At this point, there is none. Prediction: He’ll be in Houston in the spring until and unless something better comes along.

Lucas Harrell. Ah, yes, Mr. Harrell. The next two months will be interesting. His challenge: He must turn his fortunes both on the field and off. Attitude will determine if he remains or is packaged in one of those under-the-radar winter moves. Prediction: Pitches well enough down the stretch to warrant a trade this winter.

Wesley Wright. Believe it or not, he will probably thrive in the right environment. That won’t be in Houston next season. Either the Astros will trade him early on or decline arbitration, which could pay him as much as $2 million. Prediction: Traded.

Erik Bedard. Interesting scenario. He seems fragile, but he’s given a young Astros’ rotation some steady performances and should become stronger in 2014. If the Astros can re-sign him, he would definitely add value at next season’s trade deadline. Prediction: Probably gone via free agency, but wouldn’t mind a $2-$3 million deal with incentives.

Others on the bubble: Travis Blackley (arb-eligible), Hector Ambriz, Trevor Crowe, Jake Elmore, Marwin Gonzalez and others. These players hold valuable spots on the 40-man roster, which will be shuffled come October and November.

One thing you can say about Luhnow and manager Bo Porter. They’re allowing players more than ample opportunity to prove themselves on the major league stage. If any of the above players are released, traded or left at Oklahoma City, there shouldn’t be any second guesses on those decisions.

Did I miss anyone on the bubble? Which of these players have you already seen enough of?

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17 comments on “Several players on the bubble in the Astros’ 2013 stretch run

  1. I hate to keep bringing this name up, but David Martinez at Corpus, turns 26 on Sunday. This guy is 13 and 2 now, 2.01 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP. Has given up just 101 hits in 121 innings. Can anyone tell my why the guy has not made it to OKC or beyond? I’m guessing he does not throw particularly hard, but his BB/K ratio is excellent too. I hate to see a guy with great production stuck in one place.

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  2. Daveb – I’m with you on Mr Martinez. If he is totally dominating keep moving him up – I mean he is not being blocked by Roy O, Pettitte and Clemens.

    Paredes – he was brought up when he was super hot ( the first time). He has been figured out and not done anything since. Verdict – has hit the AAAA glass ceiling.
    JDM – Is good when on a hot streak with the bat but brings nothing else to the party when slumping. Verdict – Does KC have any other big arms at the A level we can steal away?
    Wallace – He has been pretty good since the recall but gets overpowered inside way too much. Verdict – has probably earned another shot but his 9 lives are almost gone.
    Carter – He is like some kind of meal where when you get done you don’t remember what you ate. Very few memorable moments even with the HRs and RBIs. Verdict – trade him to someone who has the smallest scout budget.
    Harrell – would have been traded for something decent if he had not imploded and exploded at the same time. Verdict – Hope he straightens out and then trade him?
    Wright – Proof that throwing lefty gets folks jobs long after they no longer earn it. Verdict – don’t really care.
    Bedard – has some value as a vet, lefty, who appears healthy. Verdict – bring him back for a decent price and then decide at the trade deadline what to do.

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    • Completely agree until you got to Bedard. All teams at this trade deadline passed on him and Wright or they would both be gone. So don’t see need to watch him next year.

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  3. Paredes is terrible. He’ll never be a good major league player.

    I am disappointed by JDM. I remember before he was brought up we were all real high on him. I expected much more out of him.

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  4. I’m done gnashing my teeth about this team. They traded the only guy in the bullpen who could actually get outs…….so that part of the team is what it is. I’ll tell you one
    thing, I’m not as impressed with Villar as some of you are. In the last two games he’s had two very big errors, and it cost Lyles and Cosart their games. Give me back Marwin Gonzalez, the guy rarely made errors, and he could handle the bat….neither
    one can Villar do. The rest of the year is a bust, and I hope Jim Crane gets his
    gut full of losing fans, and ball games. I could care less who comes up next month
    it’s a moot point anyway.

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  5. Sorry Becky – we know what Marwin brings to the table – in a dead season – might as well find out about Villar. I’m pretty sure the future at SS is Correa or Fontana but Villar could do O K in the meantime – give him some time.

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  6. Forgive me for being cynical about the Astros, but I can remember 1965-66 when our SS & 2B were on the cover of SI. They were going to be great for a decade, and we had a young RF that could hit. We were on our way with prospects that could play. Jackson to Atlanta, Morgan to Cincy, and Staub to Montreal. And soon Cuellar to the Orioles. Astros fans have suffered for years. And when the mgmt. decides to keep some young players and PAY THEM – I will get excited. Been disappointed too many times through the years.

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    • Astro 45 – you have earned your cynicism. First we have to get players to the majors worth keeping and then we have to keep them.

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  7. I believe Carter is out of options and would have to go through waivers to send him to AAA. He’d never make it through — not with those “unimpressive” 19 HRs and 51 RBI. My question is why hasn’t Mallee worked with speeding up his stroke? I was appalled to go to Spring Training and see that tired swing. Not what I expected at the time of the Lowrie trade. Give that guy some 5-hour energy or something. Attack the baseball! And as for his home/road splits (much better on the road), I maintain that MMP only helps visiting clubs. The Astros hitters change their approach there. I watch it every single night. Mallee needs to be aware of this and work to correct this. On the other hand, visiting players bring their “good” approaches to Minute Maid and take advantage of the LF and RF pull dimensions. I feel for the Astros hitters there. Line drives to either corner OFer are outs, not singles because the fielders have to play so shallow. Doubles in the corner often become singles. Blasts high off the LF Crawford Boxes wall are singles if played properly. Long monster shots to CF and LC and RC are run down and caught. And even solid HRs don’t leave the yard — leaving a psychological dent with the batter. How often have you seen Astros hitters drive one “outta here” and have to hold up to see if the crazy ground rules and zig-zags in the fence, yellow line, etc. actually turned their shot into a double?

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    • Correct, Carter is out of options. The point out MMP may be most poignant in regards to Carter. He’s been abysmal at home this year which makes absolutely no sense. Someone with his strength should just look for any pitch away and try to drive it into the second deck in right field. If pitchers get inside and jam him he can still muscle it out over the infielders. Instead, he takes good pitches to hit and swings at pitchers pitches. I think a lot of his struggle at home is psychological.

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  8. It’s really bad when I check the MLB box scores to make sure that the Cubs and the Marlins won. This season has warped my whole understanding of what I consider a good baseball evening. Anyway, I say get rid of Wallace, JDM, Paredes, and Chris Carter. Bedard and Wright are on the fence but leaning to the trade or release side of the fence. I don’t follow the minor leagues that much but it confuses me as to how Miami can dump all of their salaries and all of a sudden they have a very competitive team whereas we dump our guys and we turn into a steaming pile of camel dung.

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  9. Spent the night in Corpus on Friday and went to the game. Great little park with a loyal following from the locals. But watching the game, I really did not see a whole bunch of potential ML talent. Seaton has an odd delivery, and his continued struggles tell me he’s about peaked. Jiovanni Mier looks like he could care less. Three K’s, a BB and two lazy errors at short. I think he’s hitting .202 at this point. I was looking forward to watching Preston Tucker. Although he had a nice shot into the corner, the kid simply can’t run. He reminds me of a younger, shorter, slower, almost as wide, Wallace. I’m not sure who ranked him 17th in the organization, but I’m not buying it. The two guys that did impress were Stassi and Santana. Stassi looked great behind the plate and Santana hit the ball hard all night, and showed his strong arm. I know we’ve at least a couple of pitchers in CC that have a real good shot. But the point is that most guys in the minors are not going to have a real big impact in ML ball. We’ve still got a ways to go. I think if we eventually see five guys from the present Hooks roster have a significant impact in the majors, that’ll be a good outcome.

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  10. I don’t expect Bedard back. Not sure I want him back. Fragile, and while his fastball still has some life he isn’t he same pitcher he was 5 years ago. Besides, why would he, if has proven he can still pitch, come back to a last place team that will just trade him in July if he has other opportunities? Only way he is back is if he doesn’t have other opportunities.

    Say what you will about Carter – yes he is striking out at break neck rates – but this is the first time in his career that he is bouncing out over 30%. Given the lack of depth of DH and 1B, and yes, I cringe as I type this, LF, he should get his opportunity to settle in at his previous minor league levels in the mid 20’s. At 25% and a standard BABIP line of .300 he will hit .260. That’s fine by me if he is capable of cranking 30.

    Paredes is miscast as a starter, at this point at least. No power, high strikeout numbers, low walk numbers. He isn’t helping you by getting 4-5 ab’s. Porter needs to use his strengths – limit his at bats while getting his athleticism on the field. Personally, I wouldn’t have him on my roster, but he is here, so use him wisely. Is he here next year? He isn’t one of Luhnow’s, so I doubt it.

    The only thing you can do with JDM is either play him everyday or get rid of him. He doesn’t have the skill set to come off the bench, he has horrible contact rates, he is a monumentally bad defender, only plays one position (if that), you just have to keep feeding him 4-5 plate appearances and hope that the OPS is passable for all the warts. Doubt it.

    For me the sun has set on Wallace. Too streaky. The bad streaks have far outweighed the good streaks. Its like Jason Lane is back.

    I’ve never been too convinced of Harrell, but it’s not like there are 5 all stars on the roster. Give him a chance to right himself.

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  11. Carter is not only out of options, he’s still young. I’m willing to keep him around through 2014 as a DH. I’m so tired of Paredes, I want to scream. Let’s see, what are his pluses? Power? We can get that from Springer. Plays outfield? Springer. Unfortunately strikes out too much? Springer. He’s a poor man’s version of Springer. So I say …

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