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Your 2014 Shortstop Will Be...

We all know that Carlos Correa is waiting in the wings as the Astros shortstop of the future. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the 19-year old in Houston by the end of the 2015 season. Until then, the Astros will have to make do with what they have and unfortunately, that’s not much. I don’t know about you, but Jonathan Villar, Marwin Gonzalez, Cesar Izturis and Gregorio Petit battling it out for the leader of the infield doesn’t do much to tickle my fancy.

The favorite to win the battle at the start of Spring Training was the incumbent, Jonathan Villar. He came up from Triple-A last July and immediately took over the starting shortstop role with mixed results. Villar ended the season with a .321 OBP and 18 steals, primarily hitting out of the leadoff spot. He showed the ability to make phenomenal plays in the field with his tremendous range and strong arm. The 23-year old also showed the ability to strikeout in nearly 30% of his plate appearances, make bone-headed decisions on the bases, and consistently boot routine plays in the field (16 errors in 58 games). So far this spring, Villar has continued that trend and looks like he is working his way off the Astros 25-man roster.

That leaves Gonzalez, Izturis and Petit fighting for the spot. Of the three, Marwin Gonzalez is the youngest and is the only one currently on the Astros 40-man roster. While Spring Training stats mean very little, the 25-year old switch-hitter is also providing the most offense of the three thus far. He is batting .481 with six doubles and six RBI in his 27 spring at-bats.

Cesar Izturis has always been outstanding with his glove, and could be a great clubhouse guy, especially with the Latin-born players. His main issue is that he is a light-hitting 84-year old. Gregorio Petit is 29 years old and has only 56 career MLB at-bats. His last major league appearance was in 2009, with the Oakland A’s, when he batted .226 in 11 games.

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My prediction is that Villar will not be on the major league roster come Opening Day. While Marwin Gonzalez (or any other shortstop currently on the roster) doesn’t deserve to be the shortstop for the 2014 Astros, I believe he is the closest thing to a MLB shortstop the Astros have on the roster. Either Izturis or Petit will be added to the MLB roster in the utility/mentor role.

I know that none of these options are very exciting for fans, but look at the bright side; we don’t have to watch Ronny Cedeno kick the ball around Minute Maid in 2014!


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Tags: Houston Astros Jonathan Villar Marwin Gonzalez

  • † ⚾ Mundo ⚾ †

    I dunno, seems to me that Villar, Gonzalez, and Izturis will all three make the team especially in light of Gonzalez’ recent trial in the OF. Villar hasn’t been horrible and it’s not like the Astros have many other options. Right now it seems like the OF will be Grossman/Fowler/Hoes but who will be their backups? Krauss and Carter? I get the sense JD Martinez is not even being given the chance to win a job (not that his numbers are exactly demanding a longer look) and there really aren’t additional options other than Chambers.

    • strosdude9

      Thank you for reading! It wouldn’t surprise me to see all 3 of those guys make it, but you also have to remember that Jesus Guzman has experience at 1st, 3rd and OF. I also wouldn’t mind seeing Chambers make the OD roster too…basically anything to keep Carter out of the OF is fine by me!
      Villar infuriates me. Mental lapses drive me insane, and this guy reminds me of the Little League kid that you have to constantly remind to get his glove off his head and stop picking flowers! Still has much more upside than anyone other SS on the roster.

      • † ⚾ Mundo ⚾ †

        Oh I know and I project Guzman to make the roster although I’m not real thrilled about it as he has proven to me little more than an automatic out thus far and his career numbers are lackluster as well. Here is what I see as a roster projection at this point:

        1B/DH Carter/Krauss
        2B Altuve
        SS Villar
        3B Dominguez
        LF Grossman
        CF Fowler
        RF Hoes
        C Castro
        Marwin G

        I agree on Villar, I would be far more strict with him than the team has been with his antics but I think he recognizes pickings are slim until Correa is ready. Already have to trim 1 from the 40 man roster to get Izturis on there and possibly another for Moylan so I don’t see them dropping a third for someone like Martinez/Chambers/Petit to take Villar’s roster spot.

        That would seem to me to leave 1 more bench player unless they go with a 12 man pitching staff. Apparently that must be what Porter is leaning to because I get the sense neither JD Martinez nor Chambers are going to make the team.