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Astros make sweeping roster changes, including calling up prospect Domingo Santana

Jul 1, 2014, 1:13 PM EST

Domingo Santana Astros Getty Images

One day after making headlines for all the wrong reasons the Astros are adding a bunch of young talent to their roster, calling up prospects Domingo Santana, Enrique Hernandez, and Kevin Chapman. They also placed center fielder Dexter Fowler on the disabled list with an intercostal strain, demoted shortstop Jonathan Villar to Triple-A, and designated right-hander Jerome Williams for assignment.

That’s a whole bunch of changes, so let’s break it all down …

Santana is the big draw, as the 21-year-old outfielder hit .304 with 13 homers and an .885 OPS in 84 games at Triple-A after putting up similarly strong numbers at Double-A last season. He now joins Jon Singleton, Jarred Cosart, and Josh Zeid on the Astros’ roster after all four players were acquired from the Phillies as prospects in the Hunter Pence trade in 2011. That is starting to look like one of the more lopsided deals in recent history.

Hernandez was the Astros’ sixth-round draft pick in 2009 and didn’t look like much of a prospect before this season, but the 22-year-old infielder/outfielder has had a breakout campaign by hitting .336 in 77 games between Double-A and Triple-A.

Chapman was very effective in his 25-game debut with the Astros last year, but was demoted back to the minors after struggling to begin this season and the 26-year-old left-hander returns after posting a 0.94 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 29 innings at Triple-A. His control has always been shaky, but Chapman has bat-missing raw stuff out of the bullpen.

Fowler was acquired from the Rockies this offseason and proved to be a fantastic addition atop the lineup before the injury, posting a .377 on-base percentage despite no longer calling Coors Field home. Villar has a ton of speed and remains in the Astros’ long-term plans at age 23, but he’s hit just .221 with a .618 OPS and ugly 139/39 K/BB ratio through 129 games as a big leaguer.

  1. stex52 - Jul 1, 2014 at 1:29 PM

    I expected Santana up soon. Chapman is desperately needed. The bullpen has a way of making easy wins close (or losses). Hernandez surprises me, but Villar has been a dumpster fire this year. You look at his speed and his fielding (and occasional power) and the guy is just less than the sum of his parts. A lot of people say he just can’t keep focus.

    Well, the procession of prospects has started in earnest – a little earlier than I expected. I hope they work out well.

  2. Hard On For Harden - Jul 1, 2014 at 1:29 PM

    Awesome

    • Hard On For Harden - Jul 1, 2014 at 2:15 PM

      I just can’t resist. It’s a GREAT thing that Amaro held onto Dom Brown instead of these four “schlubs” that are now in Houston. 5 tool guys like Brown come around once every three generations, and you’d be an absolute moron to even entertain the thought of ever trading him. I look forward to him batting .400 next year with 55 steals, 58 home runs, and 193 RBIs.

      • stex52 - Jul 1, 2014 at 2:29 PM

        I remember when the deal was made. A bunch of Phans said “Thank God is wasn’t X.” But I don’t remember who X was. It wasn’t Dom Brown, because I would have known his name.

        The deal is looking good for Houston, but it’s not a slam dunk yet. They all made it to the MLB. But Singleton isn’t hitting for much yet, Zeid has been up and down. Pence is still a very solid performer.

        That is the biggest problem with the trade. Pence is a solid performer for the Giants. Where the Feelies really bit the bullet was letting him go for very little.

  3. stex52 - Jul 1, 2014 at 1:42 PM

    Fowler has been quite a pleasant development for the Astros. I see where Lyles is pitching about middle-of-the rotation for the Rockies, so both teams got some benefit. But Fowler has really put something into the leadoff position so far.

    • jerze2387 - Jul 1, 2014 at 2:54 PM

      and hes th veteran leader of that team. I think thats a big part of it too.

  4. gloccamorra - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:00 PM

    If you’re going to lose, do it with exciting rookies that fans will pay to watch develop, knowing they’ll stay for a few years at least.

  5. Andee - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:10 PM

    Even more reasons why Ruben Amaro should be fired into the sun?

  6. sonsoflombardi - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:18 PM

    Freakin’ Rueben Amar-No.

  7. baseballisboring - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:59 PM

    Boy… the Phillies inevitable rebuild would be so much more doable if they had those four guys.

    • sportsfan18 - Jul 2, 2014 at 4:41 PM

      If Ruben still had them he would have traded them for Raul Ibanez… or Raul’s older brother or something…

      They would have been long gone if they hadn’t left in that deal…

  8. baseballisboring - Jul 1, 2014 at 4:00 PM

    Team of… the near future?

    • sportsfan18 - Jul 2, 2014 at 4:42 PM

      Long time Cubs fan here…

      Are you paying attention to the Astros Theo?

  9. jkaflagg - Jul 1, 2014 at 5:09 PM

    Unless Santana really kills it I expect he’ll go back to OKC when Fowler returns…..only 21 and likely needs a little more seasoning.

    If he does stay up, Astros may threaten any strikeouts records they may have already set…..they have tried to add more contact-oriented prospects in recent drafts but until they arrive they’ll be some big hits mixed in with a lot of Springer/Singleton/Santana Ks…..

    • stex52 - Jul 1, 2014 at 5:17 PM

      If Santana comes up hitting big, I could see Oberholzer as the fourth outfielder. But you have a point about strikeouts.

      • stex52 - Jul 1, 2014 at 5:20 PM

        Brain fart. Hoes. Oberholzer is kind of ancient history.

  10. Bob - Jul 1, 2014 at 7:46 PM

    Oberholzer is also a pitcher. He started Saturday for the Astros against Detroit and would have gotten the win had Williams not blown the save in the ninth.

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