Pitchers & Catchers Report (Part One)
Astros pitchers and catchers have reported to camp and it’s time for my annual “Pitchers & Catchers Report.” This year I’m going to break it up into three sections, starting with the catchers.
Jason Castro is perhaps the most asked-about player in Kissimmee this spring. The 24 year-old backstop missed all of last season after suffering a knee injury in Spring Training. Castro returned to action in the Arizona Fall League, but again fail victim to injury. Castro had off-season surgery to remove the sesamoid bone in his left foot and has successfully completed his injury rehab program. Castro participated in catching drills today in Kissimmee, but the Astros will probably take things slowly with their former first round pick this time around.
Castro has shown promise early in his career, but now must shake the label of “injury prone.” Castro ascended quickly through the Astros minor league system, posting above average offensive stats while throwing out an impressive 43% of would-be base stealers. The Stanford product hit .205/.286/.287 in 67 games with the Astros in 2010. Not great numbers, however, a line drive percentage of 22.2 and a BABIP of only .250 would suggest that Castro hit into his share of bad luck.
The Astros should be able to send Castro on a 30-day minor league injury rehab assignment to start the season. If not, he does still have minor league options. For that reason, Humberto Quintero and newcomer Chris Snyderare likely to be the only catchers on Houston’s Opening Day roster. Both of the veteran backstops are out of minor league options.
Snyder, a University of Houston alum, signed a Free Agent contract with the Astros over the winter. The former Pittsburgh Pirate missed most of last season with a lower back injury but has been pronounced ready for Spring Training. Assuming that Snyder is healthy, I see him as the every day catcher starting the season. Snyder has a .231/.333/.394 slash line in eight big league seasons. He is also an above average defender who has received rave reviews from former battery mates. Snyder should be a welcomed addition to help nurture a young Houston pitching staff.
If neither Castro nor Snyder can stay out of the trainer’s room Humberto Quintero is once again the Astros stand-by. Quintero is an outstanding defender and has been steady yet unspectacular on offense. “Q” has seen increased playing time in the last two seasons. Hopefully this year he can settle back into the back-up role.
Some of the non-roster invitees were discussed yesterday. Basically, these guys are only in camp to catch bullpens and give the top three guys a bit of a breather now and then. Carlos Corporan could be a last resort for the big league roster in the event of multiple injuries.
If you’re in the mood for some nostalgia take a look at last year’s report. It was one of my last posts at Astro Blog before I made the permanent move to Climbing Tal’s Hill.
Next up: Starting Pitchers