Astros Claim Ex-Phenom Fernando Martínez From Mets

Hey, have you heard? The Astros are rebuilding!

Which is why this move makes a lot of sense. Adam Rubin:

One-time top Mets prospect Fernando Martinez is now a Houston Astro.

Houston, which has first dibs in waiver claims by virtue of its MLB-worst record in 2011, selected the 23-year-old outfielder.

If the Astros hadn't grabbed Martínez, somebody else would have. For two simple reasons:

1. Fernando Martínez used to be a hot prospect, and

2. Fernando Martínez just turned 23 last fall.

Just yesterday, Grant Brisbee detailed Martínez's career, so we won't do that again here. But for three years running, 2007 through 2009, Martínez was ranked by Baseball America as one of the 30 best prospects in the minor leagues.

Of course, Martínez's career has completely stalled in the last couple of seasons, in part because of knee problems, in part because he's gained no semblance of control over the strike zone, and in part because of things you and I don't know about and probably never will.

But if Martínez can get completely healthy and if he can develop his batting eye as players often do, he might still become a useful major league player. And considering he was essentially free, the Astros would consider that a big win.

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