To say the Astros have struggled so far this season would be an understatement.
As of Sunday, they have the second-worst record in the majors at 15-25 and dropped two of three this past weekend to the Mets at home.
When a team struggles this much, there are generally a number of call-ups from the minors to give players experience and allow them to be evaluated by management.
The Astros are in a different situation though as they already experienced that situation last year with midseason promotions of Chris Johnson, Brett Wallace, Angel Sanchez and Mark Melancon.
Add in the fact the Astros have one of the weaker farm systems in the majors, and pickings are slim for Houston.
However, here are five players who could see their last name on the back of an Astros' jersey soon.
Max Ramirez is an interesting prospect who the Astros signed to a minor league deal last week.
The Astros are the fifth organization Ramirez has been with since 2002, as he has been involved in two different trades and was most recently released by the Texas Rangers.
He was the main prospect the Rangers were going to send to the Red Sox in the Mike Lowell trade that never happened because Lowell failed his physical.
Ramirez is a three-time minor league All-Star and was a part of the 2007 All-Star Futures game.
He has played well so far this season at the Triple-A level, hitting .283 with one home run and 17 RBI through 15 games.
His bat has never been questioned, but his defense behind the plate has.
With neither Quintero or Towles lighting it up for the Astros, they may give Ramirez a chance in a few weeks.
Collin DeLome has been one of the top hitters for Oklahoma City so far this season, hitting .296 with three home runs and 10 RBI.
His new approach at the plate has certainly helped. He talked about in this article, saying, “I’m a first-ball, fastball hitter, but I’m changing that up and just looking for the pitch exactly where I want it, and if it’s not there, I’m letting it go. I’m trying to be more disciplined at the plate with less than two strikes.”
If he is able to continue taking this approach and continue hitting the way he is, the Astros will need to find a place for this outfielder at the major-league level.
Wesley Wright was a part of the Astros' bullpen last season, but he started this season at the Triple-A level. He is doing everything he can to make his case that he should be at the major-league level.
He has appeared in 12 games so far this season and has only given up four earned runs for an ERA of 2.77. He has also struck out 15 and has only given up one home run.
Other than Mark Melancon, the Astros' bullpen has struggled mightily to this point, and I don't think reliever's job is safe.
Wright could get his call soon because has been playing well and already does have major-league experience.
The likelihood of J.D. Martinez being promoted is a little bit of a stretch because he hasn't played higher than the Double-A-level yet. However, he is crushing the ball, and I hope the Astros' organization is taking notice.
Through 27 games, he is hitting .340 with three home runs and 30 RBI while only striking out 15 times.
This is nothing new for Martinez as last year—between Double-A and Single-A—he hit .341 with 18 home runs and 89 RBI.
The knock on the left fielder has been his defense, but can he be any worse than Carlos Lee at this point?
As long as Jordan Lyles doesn't suffer any injuries between now and midseason, this move is almost guaranteed.
He was in contention for the final rotation spot during spring training, but the Astros decided to go with Nelson Figueroa instead. Figueroa is now Lyles' teammate at the Triple-A level, and Aneury Rodriguez, who replaced Figueroa, has not been lighting it up either.
Lyles has not had a great win-loss record this season, sitting at 1-3, but he does have an ERA of 3.97, averaging a little over 5.2 innings an outing. He has 35 strikeouts and only 14 walks in 45.1 innings of work.
During spring training, against major-league talent, he was 1-2 with an ERA of 1.98 while striking out nine in 13.1 innings.
It will be interesting to see how much longer the Astros go before Lyles gets the call every minor league hopes for and is told to pack his bags and head to the show.