Following last night’s 4-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Jackie Robinson Day, the Astros made a trio of roster moves. By now most of you guys are aware that George Springer has gotten his call to the show. Robbie Grossman has again been optioned to AAA Oklahoma City. And Lucas Harrell‘s time in Houston appears to finally be over with him being designated for assignment.
Much has been discussed about the Houston Astros lack of offense this season. Eight of their nine losses the team has managed just two or fewer runs. They have been held scoreless three times: twice by the Texas Rangers. Brett Oberholtzer is 0-3 despite a 3.50 ERA. At the conclusion of yesterday’s game, seven of the starting nine had a batting average under the Mendoza Line. Robbie Grossman had an o-fer effort to lower his batting average to .125; Matt Dominguez was the highest of the lows at .196. These statistics are shocking considering the rumors of contract extensions near the end of Spring Training.
Now to the future, Astros fans. The highly anticipated arrival of George Springer is tonight: April 16, 2014 in a day many on Twitter have dubbed #GeorgeSpringerDay. His monstrous campaign from the 2013 season has transferred to the 2014 calendar. In 13 games as the AAA Oklahoma City right-fielder has yielded a .353/.459/.647 triple-slash. To sum up his impressive minor league career he has improved at each level. At A+ Lancaster he hit 22 home runs in 105 games while hitting 21 in 95 at AA Corpus Christi. For AAA he has mashed 21 in just 75 games.
There’s plenty more potential from the AAA Oklahoma City lineup. While stripping that roster of its offensive production could hurt that team, the major league club has just failed to meet expectations. The struggles are piling up as mentioned earlier. And the continued lack of production from Chris Carter, Marc Krauss and Alex Presley among others sets the stage for other top prospects.
(Chris Manning-USA TODAY Sports)
Jon Singleton was acquired in the 2011 Hunter Pence trade. A critical component and the top 1st base prospect in baseball, Singleton appears to be putting the 2013 campaign well in the rear view mirror. An impressive line of .333/.448/.688 with 4 home runs and 5 doubles screams MLB-ready. And he isn’t the only player from that roster who is ready. Max Stassi, who made his debut last season, is also off to a torrid start. But he is blocked by All Star catcher Jason Castro and the team’s backup catcher, Carlos Corporan.
With this in mind the team should not ignore Chris Carter’s utter lack of production. Castro has been unable to catch consistently thus far this season and has been the designated hitter several times. I think that the promotion of Singleton and Stassi is inevitable and should be done sooner rather than later.
The promotion of Springer is a move that indicates the Astros are now in a position to transition top prospects into young talent. Max Stassi and Jon Singleton should be the next two in line. Following three straight 100-loss campaigns, this offseason one goal was clear: NOT AGAIN. With the impending addition of Jesse Crain in May, the Astros look poised to strengthen throughout this season. And as players continue to develop in the lower ranks of the minor league system, the pipeline will keep supplying this team with young talent.
So Houston, we are officially on watch for Singleton and Stassi. Tell your families and tell your friends. And happy #GeorgeSpringerDay.