Astros release outfielder J.D. Martinez

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After being removed from the 40-man roster during the offseason, outfielder J.D. Martinez was given his release by the Astros this morning. The news comes from Brian McTaggart of MLB.com.

Martinez posted some impressive numbers as a prospect in the minors and held his own in the big leagues initially, but he hasn’t enjoyed much success since the early part of the 2012 season. The 26-year-old actually led the Astros with 55 RBI in 2012, but this was more of a statement of how awful the team was than anything else. He hit just .250/.272/.378 with seven home runs and an ugly 82/10 K/BB ratio over 86 games with Houston last season and missed quite a bit of time with a wrist injury.

That Martinez passed through waivers unclaimed in November shows how far he has fallen, but he’ll surely get an opportunity elsewhere soon. However, he’ll have to earn his way back on the major league radar.

U.S Defeats World in a power-packed Futures Game

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They played the Futures Game yesterday, pitting the top prospects from the United States against the top prospects from the rest of the world. You most likely missed it because, for reasons that have still yet to be adequately explained to me, the game takes place on Sunday afternoon, when literally all 30 major league teams are in action. Oh well.

If you did happen to see it, however, you saw a lot of bombast, as the two teams combined for eight home runs, with Team USA prevailing, 10-6. It was the United States’ eighth win in the past nine Futures Games.

Yusniel Diaz of the Dodgers system hit two homers — he was the first one to do that in a Futures Game since Alfonso Soriano did it back in 1999 — but Taylor Trammell of the Reds system was the game MVP following his 2-for-2 (HR, 3B) performance. Other highlights involved Reds pitching prospect Hunter Greene, who threw 19 fastballs among his 27 pitches, each and every one of them hitting triple digits, with one registering at 103.1 m.p.h. Not that velocity is everything: a 102.3 m.p.h. pitch he threw ended up being deposited over the fence for a two-run homer by Luis Alexander Basabe of the White Sox system.

Also of note was a homer from Ke’Bryan Hayes of the Pirates system. Notable for it breaking a tie and putting the U.S. up by two, but also notable because Ke’Bryan is the son of former big leaguer Charlie Hayes. Feel old yet?

There was a lot of back and forth, and certainly a lot of bombast, but the U.S. took its final lead on a wild pitch. Here are some highlights:

Here’s hoping, in the future, the Futures Game is moved to Sunday evening or even Monday where people will have a better chance of seeing it.