Talented young Astros pitchers poised to challenge for big-league roster

Posted at 5:18 PM, Mar 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-19 19:43:17-04

It’s an old baseball adage you can never have enough pitching.

Clearly, the Astros have taken heed of that and now have some of the best arms in the sport.

The team’s farm system is flooded with young talent. And with free agency looming and uncertainty for its veteran pitching staff, Houston’s young pitchers are looking to step up.

One of those pitchers is Ryan Hartman, a 2016 draft pick who was 11-4 with a 2.69 ERA with the Hooks last season. Now, the team’s pitcher of the year is looking to build off that success.

“Last year, I had a great year,” Hartman said. “It was a great platform to get on but now there are only steps forward.

“You know, I got my feet wet in the big leagues during spring training. I got to learn from some of the older guys and now I have to take all of that information and hopefully have a better year this year.”

Hartman is part of a deep pitching pool that has become the envy of MLB front offices. There’s also Corbin Martin, a flamethrower who spun a 2.97 ERA with the Hooks in 2018. Martin believes in the old saying that competition breeds talent.

“You learn a lot just from being around them and watching their stuff,” Martin said. “It’s been fun just being able to compete with the guys. It’s almost everyone is trying to not one-up each other but just trying to make each other better.”

According to the MLB Pipeline, the Astros have the sixth-best farm system in baseball. Fans obviously are eager to see these rising stars on the big stage, but Houston manager A.J. Hinch is playing the waiting game.

“It takes time, it takes exposure to things they haven’t seen yet,” Hinch said about his heralded crew of youngsters.

But whenever these young aces have their names called, they’ll be ready.

“The whole system is loaded,” Houston catcher Max Stassi said. “I mean these kids that come up, they come up pounding the zone with good fastballs and good secondary pitches.

“The future is bright.”