With the Astros clearly committed to a youth movement following a pair of trades this week, it will be all the more important for their most advanced prospects to be ready to make an impact at the big league level.
On Saturday, Jarred Cosart gave every indication he'll be able to contribute before too long.
The 22-year-old right-hander gave up three hits over a season-high 7 2/3 innings as the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks blanked the Frisco RoughRiders, 3-0, at Whataburger Field.
Cosart (5-5) walked three and struck out four in his most impressive performance of the year as he held down a lineup loaded with prospects like Jurickson Profar and Mike Olt.
"That was the most complete outing as far as results," Cosart said. "I got into the eighth, gave my team a chance. I was throwing both my curveball and my changeup for strikes. Your goal as a starter is to give the team six or seven innings and I was able to get to the eighth. And I feel very comfortable giving the ball to any guy in our bullpen."
It was the fourth time in five starts that the Texas native pitched at least 5 2/3 innings and gave up two runs or fewer, a nice contrast from a five-start stretch from May 18-June 14 in which he allowed four runs or more in every outing.
"There was a rough patch for four or five starts. I was leaving my pitches up," Cosart said. "Being down in the zone, I've gotten a ton more ground balls, let the defense make plays behind me. I worked on my fastball [to get more movement], and the hitter gets a different perspective when the ball moves, so the last five or six starts have been great."
The Astros' No. 2 prospect lowered his ERA to 3.52 in 15 starts with Corpus Christi. He ranks 11th in the Texas League with an ERA that has dropped nearly a run since the middle of June. He also has 68 strikeouts against 38 walks.
Houston acquired MLB.com's No. 50 overall prospect from the Phillies last year with top Astros prospect Jonathan Singleton in the Hunter Pence trade. He said he can relate to prospects Carlos Perez, Asher Wojchiechowski and Joe Musgrave, who came over from Toronto in Friday's 10-player trade.
On Saturday, the Astros added pitchers Matt Heidenreich and Blair Walters after sending closer Brett Myers to the White Sox.
In addition, Matt Dominguez (No. 4), Paul Clemens (No. 8), Brett Oberholtzer (No. 9), Rob Rasmussen (No. 13) and Kyle Weiland (No. 20) have been brought into the organization since last year's trade deadline.
"I was traded last year, so I know what it feels like," Cosart said. "It's weird. It shows the organization wants you, and the other organization thought highly enough of you to trade you for an eastablished player.
"You have to have that starting point, of cleaning out and bringing in young guys. That's what the Astros are trying to do. So we just need to keep doing what we're doing and, hopefully, we can help them down the road with that in the big leagues."
On Saturday, Andrew Simunic led the Hooks offensively, going 2-for-4 with an RBI. Singleton contributed a sacrifice fly and Kevin Chapman got the last four outs for his first save of the season.