HOUSTON -- With catcher Jason Castro making his Major League debut on Tuesday night against the Giants, the title of top Minor League prospect in the Astros' farm system likely rests on the broad shoulders of 19-year-old right-hander Jordan Lyles.
Lyles, as Castro did a year ago, will represent the Astros at the XM All-Star Futures Game as a member of the U.S. team. Lyles, who's spending this season at Double-A Corpus Christi, is the only Astros prospect selected to appear in this year's showcase of Minor League talent, which will take place on July 11 in Anaheim.
The 12th annual Futures Game can be seen live on MLB.TV, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD and followed live on MLB.com's Gameday. In addition, XM Radio will broadcast play-by-play coverage of the event live on XM 175. MLB.com will also provide complete coverage before, during and after the game.
"Jordan's done a terrific job for us," general manager Ed Wade said. "I believe he's the second-youngest pitcher in that league, and he's more than held his own. He's been the talk in the league in a lot of ways. I've talked to scouts from other clubs and officials with other teams, and they're all saying the same thing we're saying about him: This kid has a chance to be front-line starter in the big leagues in the not-too-distant future."
Lyles, the No. 38 overall pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, is 6-4 with a 2.37 ERA in 14 games (13 starts) for the Hooks, allowing 77 hits and 20 walks and striking out 78 in 87 1/3 innings. He struck out 167 batters last year in the South Atlantic League.
Wade anticipates keeping Lyles at Double-A for the entire season, though he said it wouldn't be uncommon for a pitcher to make the jump to the Major Leagues from Double-A.
"The sentiment is to let him go ahead and build up a big year at Double-A and evaluate it from there," Wade said. "I frankly believe that Double-A is a real proving ground in our game, and if he can excel at Double-A, there's no reason for us to believe that he couldn't jump a level and end up at the big leagues without Triple-A service. That said, we'll continue to approach it one level at a time and see where it leads."
Castro, who was in the starting lineup on Tuesday, hit a three-run homer for the U.S. in last year's Futures Game in St. Louis. Astros prospect Chia-Jen Lo pitched for the World team and got the win.
All-Star right-fielder Hunter Pence played in the Futures Game in 2006 in Pittsburgh.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.