The Astros have sent corner outfielders/first basemen Bligh Madris and J.J. Matijevic outright to Triple-A Sugar Land, tweets Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle. Both players went unclaimed on waivers after being designated for assignment on Opening Day.
Madris has yet to play a non-exhibition game in the Houston organization. The Astros acquired him from the Tigers over the offseason in a cash transaction. It continued an active few months on the transactional front, as Madris had gone from the Pirates to the Rays to Detroit via waivers or trade since September. The 27-year-old has only suited up at the MLB level with Pittsburgh, getting into 39 contests and hitting .177/.244/.265 through 123 plate appearances as a rookie last season.
It wasn’t the most exceptional debut, but the former ninth-round pick has played reasonably well in the minor leagues. He’s a career .265/.334/.415 hitter through parts of five minor league seasons. He’s been particularly effective in Triple-A, putting up a .284/.358/.470 line with 20 home runs in 719 plate appearances there.
Matijevic has spent his entire career with Houston. The Astros selected him in the second round out of the University of Arizona six years ago. The left-handed hitter worked his way up the professional ranks, compiling a .260/.337/.494 line over five minor league seasons. That includes a huge .285/.372/.561 showing with 16 homers in just 64 games for Sugar Land last year.
Those Triple-A numbers earned the 27-year-old his first big league call in 2022. Like Madris, he floundered in an initial brief look against MLB pitching. Matijevic managed a .209/.254/.328 line through 71 plate appearances. He struck out in 25 of those trips while walking just twice. Much of that time came as a pinch-hitter or in a brief look at designated hitter, which didn’t afford him many consistent reps against MLB arms.
Players who have previously been outrighted in their careers or have at least three years of major league service time can elect free agency after clearing waivers. Neither Madris nor Matijevic qualify, so both players will stick in the Houston organization. They’ll report to Sugar Land and try to work their way back into consideration for roster spots. Both would reach minor league free agency at the end of this season if they’re not added back to the 40-man roster.
Dumpster Divin Theo
Bligh is walking the plank
As the article states, I felt like JJ never got consistent at bats.