Monday, January 30, 2017

Non-Roster Invitees: The Pitchers

As we creep closer to Spring Training - 15 days until Pitchers & Catchers report - it's time to take a look at the guys not on the 40-Man roster who have been invited to Spring Training. With the 25-Man roster pretty much set, let's see what each player brings to the table, and the chance they have of making the Opening Day roster. Starting with the pitchers...


Edison Frias. 26-year old RHP, signed with the Astros as an amateur free agent in March 2011. In his sixth full season in the Astros organization, Frias finally reached Triple-A in late 2016. His success was meh - 28H/21ER, 8K:9BB in 19IP - but his numbers at Corpus in 2016 gave him the chance to push him to Fresno. Frias was excellent for Corpus last season: 60H/20ER, 63K:20BB in 73.2IP. He'll be in his Age 26 season, so Frias is really going to have to step it up at Triple-A to be seen as a viable option for the Astros.

Brian Holmes. 26-year old LHP, 13th Round draft pick in the heralded 2012 draft. Holmes was injured for a decent amount of the 2016 season, spending most of his time at Corpus where he threw 50.2IP, 51H/21ER, 51K:13BB. He allowed three earned runs in one inning of work at Fresno. Holmes is a lefty and a career 9.3 K/9 pitcher. The Astros don't have much in the way of lefties, so if he can - like Frias - pick it up at Fresno, he may get a shot at a call-up in a spot-start situation.

Jordan Jankowski. 27-year old RHP, 34th Round draft pick in 2012. Jankowski was originally drafted by the Astros in the 34th Round of the 2008 draft, didn't sign picked by the Astros in the 34th Round of the 2012 draft. He saw most of his time out of the bullpen where his strikeout numbers can really shine: over his career Jankowski has struck out 10.8 batter per nine innings, including last season's 3.77 ERA/1.19 WHIP effort at Fresno where he struck out 103 batters in 71.2IP. There is slightly more uncertainty in the bullpen than there is in the rotation, which works in Jankowski's favor.

Francis Martes. This is the dude. 21 years old, 6'1" 225lbs. Acquired by the Astros in the 2014 deal that sent Jarred Cosart to Miami. You know Frankie Tuesday. Just listed as the #20 prospect in all of baseball. Mike Elias said he might have the highest ceiling of any pitching prospect in the game. And he has the numbers to back it up. In his first full season at Corpus in 2016, Martes - four years younger than his average competition - put up a 3.81 ERA/1.20 WHIP and struck out 131 batters in 125.1IP. He still hasn't pitched above Double-A, but Martes will almost certainly start 2017 at Fresno in part to see if he can get those 47 walks down and refine some of his stuff. But Martes is likely a key reason why the Astros didn't pull the trigger on Jose Quintana or Chris Archer. He'll be up soon enough.

Tyson Perez. 27 years old, 6'3" 215lb RHP, selected in the 17th Round of the 2011 draft. Perez missed most of the 2016 season due to injury, throwing only 4IP for the GCL Astros and Tri-City. That said, his 2015 season was really good. In 44.2IP for Fresno, the reliever allowed 33H/13ER, 32K:11BB - a 2.62 ERA/0.99 WHIP. The Astros will likely keep him in Fresno for a bit due to the injury recovery, but he could possibly be an internal relief option call-up.

Cy Sneed. 24 years old, 6'4" 185lbs. Acquired in the November 2015 trade with Milwaukee for Jonathan Villar, Sneed was the Brewers' 3rd Round pick in the 2014 draft out of Dallas Baptist. He spent the 2016 season at Corpus, his first experience at Double-A. In 118IP, Sneed allowed 119H/53ER, with 112K:33BB, playing at a little over a year younger than his competition. His 4.04 ERA/1.29 WHIP belies his late season performance. After getting lit up for 15ER in 5IP over two straight July road starts, Sneed's last seven appearances saw him with a 2.08 ERA, 32K:10BB in 43.1IP. His non-roster invitee will likely simply give him some exposure to the Major League staff, but could be interesting if his late-season run resembled who he really is.

Aaron West. 26 years old, 6'1" 195lbs RHP. West saw limited action at Corpus in 2014 (24.1IP), but ended up with a 5.55 ERA. He spent the entire 2015 season at Corpus with much better results: 2.99 ERA with 68K:11BB in 84.1IP. In 2016 he went from Corpus to Fresno, posting a composite 4.48 ERA in 82.1IP. But there were positive signs from his time in Fresno: in his first two outings (2.1IP), he allowed 4ER. Over his final ten appearances (17.2IP), West allowed 18H/5ER, 16K:3BB - four of those five earned runs came at the hands of Sacramento in ten days.