Featured Image Credit: Keith Allison
As spring training nears its conclusion and all of the WBC participants, outside of Gregerson, Bregman, Correa, Aoki, and Beltran have returned, the 25-Man roster is starting to take shape. The Astros appear to be in an enviable position. The most recent round of cuts included A.J. Reed, Teoscar Hernandez, and Colin Moran. This quartet joins the recently reassigned Francis Martes and Ramon Laureano. That is a lot of prospect power that is heading to minor league camp; power that could seriously compete for playing time on several other major league rosters.
That is where the envy comes in. I know, I know, it’s a small sample size, but A.J. Reed led the team in runs scored (8), home runs (4), RBIs (11), walks (9), and OPS (1.111), all while Moran has led the Astros in hits (14) and average (.389). In an effort to increase his versatility, Moran has seen time at 1B, 3B, and SS this spring. How do spring stats like that not get you on the opening day roster? With Gurriel and Bregman expected to man 1B and 3B respectively to open the season, there wasn’t room to keep Reed or Moran, but they both opened eyes this spring. It is a good feeling knowing that, in the event of injury or poor play, Reed and Moran should be ready to step in and compete immediately.
Hernandez, on the other hand, failed to impress over his 36 at-bats. Limping to a .222 batting average and a less than stellar .211 OBP, his demotion was not as much of a surprise. Martes was fighting an uphill battle to make the rotation and, despite his amazing 2016, Laureano had a slim chance to join a crowded OF, however the experience both players received this spring was invaluable.
Still in camp with Houston are OF Derek Fisher (.276/.389/.483, with a team leading 7 SB), 3B J.D. Davis, RP James Hoyt, and RP Jandal Gustave. With A.J. Hinch recently saying that the team expects to carry 12 position players and 13 pitchers, Fisher and Davis are expected to join minor league camp soon (unless Jake Marisnick somehow plays his way OUT of an OF slot). Fisher, however, has a serious shot at making his ML debut this summer.
On the pitching side, it appears Hoyt might have an inside track to starting the season in Houston, but Gustave is not out of the running either. A big factor will be how the rotation shakes out, with Joe Musgrove and Mike Fiers competing for the 5th slot in the rotation. Collin McHugh, who has yet the throw this season, could begin the year on the DL putting both Musgrove and Fiers in the rotation and opening an extra bullpen spot for one or both of Hoyt and Gustave.
A lot of news coming out of Astros camp, and here at Prospects1500 we like to keep our readers as updated as possible. Look for future articles on the 25-Man roster as well as where all of the top prospects will start their regular seasons. The countdown is on for the Astros first pitch: Monday, April 3rd at 8:10pm EST in Seattle.