Some of the youngsters looking to make the Astros Opening Day roster are getting a jump on the competition. With two days left until the mandatory reporting date for pitchers and catchers, players are already arriving at the Astros Spring Training facility in Kissimmee Florida. Houston Chronicle beat writer Brian T. Smith is reporting via twitter that about 15 players were there to participate in a workout at around 9:00 this morning.
Smith went on to say that shortstop Marwin Gonzalez came to camp with a renewed sense of confidence. The second-year player who was a Rule 5 draftee last season believes he will earn increased playing time if he can improve at the plate.
Smith also spoke with one of this year’s Rule 5 picks, Nate Freiman. The big 1B/DH prospect says being in big league camp is a career highlight and he is anxious to prove he belongs. Freiman says he is “looking forward to learning as much as possible from Carlos Pena about hitting and fielding”.
Gonzalez and Freiman are part of a young group of players that make up the Astros Spring Training roster. Both players will have their work cut out for them as the competition for roster spots will be hot and heavy. There will be plenty of new faces in town by the time camp officially opens for position players later this month. Almost two-thirds of the 61 players currently listed were not in Astros camp a year ago.
Pitchers and catchers report on Monday. Look for my annual breakdown of those two positions to be posted Monday morning.