Over the past two decades, the Houston Astros have always had a superstar or two that served as the faces of the franchise.
From Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell to Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt, no matter what, they had iconic star players. Now that Hunter Pence is playing in Philadelphia, there is no player who immediately comes to mind when you think of the Astros.
One player who has the potential to take that role is left fielder J.D. Martinez. A former 20th-round pick, Martinez was the steal of the 2009 draft. Though he was never highly touted as a prospect, he has absolutely raked over his minor league career.
Martinez has never shown much power and doesn’t possess great speed, but he has no glaring holes in his game and knows what to do in the batter’s box. He made the jump from Double-A to the majors last year after compiling an impressive minor league slash line of .342/.407/.551. He held his own in Houston last season, hitting .274 with six home runs in 53 games.
Carlos Lee is in the last year of his mega deal he signed back in 2006 and could be traded at some point. Even with Lee still in the fold, Martinez will hit somewhere in the middle of the Houston lineup, possibly even third. The Astros are expected to have one of the worst offenses in baseball again in 2012, but if Martinez can stick in the middle of the order, he should put up solid numbers.
Whether it’s Martinez or one of his other, promising teammates, someone needs to step up and give Astros fans something to be proud of in 2012.
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