Right-hander Francis Martes went unclaimed on waivers after being designated for assignment by the Astros and will remain in the organization, tweets The Athletic’s Jake Kaplan. Houston designated him for assignment late last week.
Now 25 years old, Martes once ranked as one of the game’s premier pitching prospects. The big righty peaked at No. 15 overall on Baseball America’s Top 100 and also landed within the game’s Top 25 overall prospects at MLB.com and at FanGraphs as he rose through Houston’s minor league ranks.
That peak, however, came more than three years ago, and Martes has seen his stock plummet in the years since. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2018 before being hit with not one but two bans after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Martes was suspended for 80 games after testing positive for Clomiphene in March 2019, and less than a year later he was saddled with a 162-game ban after testing positive for boldenone.
Martes returned to the mound in 2021, but he’s been drilled for 14 runs (10 earned) on eight hits and a staggering 13 walks in just 8 1/3 frames. He hasn’t hit any batters but has unloaded three wild pitches as well.
Martes made his big league debut with the Astros as a 21-year-old back in 2017, though he struggled to a 5.80 ERA in 54 1/3 frames. In four years since that time, he’s only managed only 33 1/3 innings because of that injury and the pair of PED violations. It’s possible he’ll eventually work his way back into the mix for a big league spot, but given that he’s walked 29 percent of the batters he’s faced in his limited mound work so far in 2021, he has quite a ways to go before that happens.