The Astros Have 2 Lineup Spots up for Grabs
Chris Carter and L.J. Hoes (Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports)
Spring Training serves many purposes. Each purpose works towards the same goal; getting ready for the season.
This is true whether we are dealing with individual players or a team as whole. Players such as Jose Altuve or Jason Castro have it easy. They know that their jobs are secure and essentially guaranteed for 2014.
In that vein, they simply need to take the necessary steps to work on improving and fine tuning their games while making sure they are ready for Opening Day. To go along with that goal, Bo Porter and the coaching staff have worked out a schedule that will ensure their work is done and they are ready for the season.
For players such as L.J. Hoes, Marc Krauss, Brett Wallace, J.D. Martinez, and Jesus Guzman, Spring Training is a little more difficult. Just like Altuve and Castro they need to shake the rust off, work on some things, and prepare for the upcoming season. But this also must be done while competing for a job, both in the starting lineup and on the team in general.
At this point, it appears that the left field job is Robbie Grossman‘s to lose, as Evan Drellich lists the right field and first base spots as being available for the taking. George Springer is also in the mix for the right field job, but as a top prospect who will likely start the season in the minor leagues, the stakes are a little different.
The generally held assumption coming into camp, was that the spots would be filled on a platoon basis by multiple players until Springer and Jonathan Singleton are ready to take over. But Bo Porter seemingly has other thoughts.
"“As we stand here today, I’m hoping that we don’t have to platoon at any position because I think that when you look around the diamond and you have everyday players, that puts you in the best position to actually be successful each and every day,” manager Bo Porter said. “With that said we’re going to do what’s best for the ball club once all these competitions play themselves out, and if it’s the best thing for the ball club to platoon at a particular position, then we’ll take that option at that time.”"
I certainly understand where Porter is coming from, as the team is ultimately better off with one player filling each role. But with the 2014 Astros as they are currently assembled, that might not be the most prudent decision. Of course we still have a long way to go before the season starts, so it is possible that Porter’s decision will be easier than it is today.