The Houston Astros continue to collect long shot middle-infielders as prodigiously as minor league baseball players seem to collect DUIs. The most recent addition, Jose Carlos Thompson, has agreed to a minor league contract with the ever-enticing invitation to spring training.
Thompson is reportedly best friends with the Reds’ Aroldis Chapman and even though everyone reporting on the infielder mentions this, I’m not sure why it’s important. Although it is interesting how they both have oddly English surnames for such Hispanic first names.
Anyways, the 23-year-old hit .440/.484/.729 over 59 games and 225 at-bats for Western Oklahoma Junior College in 2009 with 10 home runs, 62 RBI and 10 stolen bases for a team that went 53-12. While he did not play for a team in 2010, Houston scouts laud his bat speed. Although one does wonder how a 2B/SS with bat speed meriting a Spring Training Invite went a year without even a minor-league deal but stranger things have happened. The other candidates for backup infield help after starters Clint Barmes and Bill Hall are Tommy Manzella, Angel Sanchez, Edwin Maysonet, and a slew of prospects nowhere near major league ready. Thompson has a chance to be better than any of the three aforementioned players although I’d expect him to start the season in Triple-A.
It’s a wise move by Ed Wade. If you don’t have a clear candidate at a position, you might as well take some flyers and hope you found a lottery ticket. Wade certainly knows this practice well as shown by his acquirements of Nelson Figueroa, Ryan Rowland-Smith, Anuery Rodriguez, and Land Pendleton to fight for the last spot in Houston’s rotation.