May 19, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Houston Astros center fielder Dexter Fowler (center) celebrates with right fielder George Springer (right) after the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. The Houston Astros won 6-2. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
It’s officially Hot Stove season as rumors are running rampant daily around Major League Baseball, especially with the Astros as of late. A lot of focus has been on the bullpen with potentially bringing in David Robertson and Andrew Miller, but there is some talk of the outfield as well. Dexter Fowler has been linked to trade talks with the Toronto Blue Jays and the Atlanta Braves the past couple of days, and I don’t think it’s necessary.
Outside of Houston, Dexter Fowler, George Springer, and Jake Marisnick doesn’t sound like the best outfield in baseball… But it doesn’t have to be, it just needs to be productive. And these three guys can be very productive overall, at the plate, and on the field. Dexter Fowler is known for getting on base, with a career OBP of .366, and that is all the Astros need him to do. And we all know George Springer is a potential superstar after showing off his 5 Tools his rookie season. But the most important thing in all of this is the relationship between Fowler and Springer. Anybody who watched the games in 2014 was able to see the incredible bond between the two players, and this article in the Chronicle confirmed it even more. If Springer is to become the phenom we all hope he becomes, he might need another season with his mentor on the field. We know he wants it, so don’t do anything to change that.
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The only wild card here is Jake Marisnick, who the Astros brought over in the trade for Jarred Cosart. He had a BA .272 and an OBP of .299 in 186 plate appearances with the Astros in 2014, which is down from his overall Minor League career total. Marisnick is only 23 years-old and has a bright future ahead, which is why he was the 65th ranked prospect on MLB.com heading into last season. If these three guys can remain healthy in 2015, they won’t be in bad shape.
It doesn’t stop there for Houston in the outfield. Alex Presley is a nice 4th outfielder to have on the roster, and there are some nice players waiting in the wings like Domingo Santana and Preston Tucker. Yes, Santana struggled a lot in his brief time in the majors, but that definitely doesn’t mean he was a bust. He only had 18 plate appearances, and is the 3rd ranked prospect in the system at just 22-years of age. Give him a little more time to develop in AAA this year, and potentially be the next man up when he’s needed in 2015.
The Astros could potentially have too many outfielders this season, which is the same potential problem the Astros could have with the rotation this upcoming season. And no, it’s not a bad problem to have. They do not need to mess with an area that isn’t going to be an issue when they have bigger needs at the time, like the bullpen and the left side of the infield. Would you rather the Astros mess with this promising outfield and ignore the bullpen/infield needs?
Yes, I am fully aware a potential Fowler trade could bring in another outfielder and a potential infielder, but it is not worth it at this stage. His relationship with Springer is very important to both players, and that should be important to the Astros and their fans.