In 2013, the Houston Astros put together an absolutely disastrous product at the Major League level. For reference, the team finished an astonishing 51-111 on the season, and it didn’t appear that they had even half of one eye on the “current” state of affairs.
With that, the team is making serious waves with direction they seem to be heading in during the off-season, and in that vein, they’ve made 2 roster moves on Wednesday.
@astros have claimed IF Ryan Jackson off waivers from STL; additionally, JD Martinez outrighted to AAA; Elmore claimed by CWS…
— Houston Astros (@astros) November 20, 2013
First, the team claimed infielder Ryan Jackson off of waivers from the St. Louis Cardinals, and that’s actually a move that I like. Jackson is a plus-glove at the shortstop (or second base) position, and those guys are difficult to come by in today’s baseball. There is a small problem (okay, a big problem) in his bat, though, as the 25-year-old has a .279/.339/.365 slash line over 2,417 plate appearances in the minor leagues. Jackson probably isn’t quite Brendan Ryan with the glove, but if he hits (at all), he could be a MLB asset.
The second move is a bit more tenuous as the team sent outfielder J.D. Martinez to triple-A by outrighting him. Martinez has 24 home runs in under 1,000 plate appearances in the majors, displaying a reasonable amount of power and the ability to draw walks (6.5% career walk rate). It isn’t clear whether he’s anything more than a 4th outfielder, but I think he’s probably better than guys on their current MLB unit.