Now that the 2015 Winter Meetings are over, lets look towards the future of the Houston Astros. This article will look at who will still be on the Astros roster when we win the 2017 World Series, as predicted by a Sports Illustrated cover a couple of months ago. With the recent signings of Pat Neshek and Luke Gregerson, is the Astros’ management ready to move forward with their goal of being a consistent contender? Luhnow keeps on referring to groups of prospects coming in waves, the next wave should be the best wave to date.
While it’s impossible to totally predict the entire 25 man roster two years from now, this author will look at contract status and what prospects might push other players off the roster. Here is a look.
Starter: Max Stassi
Back-up: Hank Conger
Max Stassi and Hank Conger will combine as a cather duo like Carlos Corporan and Jason Castro did in 2014. While Stassi is the more offensive catcher, Conger becomes the personal catcher to Mark Appel and Michael Foltynewicz.
1st base: Jon Singleton
Back-up: Colin Moran
Jon Singleton rebounded from his terrible rookie season in 2014 to become a Ryan Howard clone. He probably hit 35 homeruns with a low batting average and high strikeout rate. He becomes an average defender at first, but will hit the game winning home run to get the Astros into the playoffs off David Robertson of the White Sox. With the emergence of Rio Ruiz and his strong Spring training, Colin Moran had to learn how to play first after a poor 2016 rookie season.
2nd base: Jose Altuve
Back-up: Tony Kemp
With Jose Altuve missing the end of the 2016 season, Tony Kemp played mostly second base in September, he gets A.J. Hinch confidence to be the backup to Altuve. Jose Altuve gets back to his healthy everyday player status, and hits 0.300 with 30 stolen bases.
Shortstop: Carlos Correa
Back-up: Ronald Torreyes
Fresh off beating fellow former top prospect Byron Buxton for Rookie of the Year in 2016, Carlos Correa is everything that the Astros hoped he would be. He was always touted as a young Alex Rodriguez or Troy Tulowitzki, but develops into more of a Mike Trout type hitter. He follows up his rookie of the year, with a productive season in 2017.
Third base: Rio Ruiz
Back-up: Colin Moran
Right Field: George Springer
Back-up: Preston Tucker
After two injury filled seasons to start his career, Springer finally had a Giancarlo Stanton breakout year in 2016. Jim Crane and Jeff Luhnow locked him up for 10 years following the 2016 season. He finished 2nd in MVP voting in 2016, and has become the new face of baseball.
Center Field: Tony Kemp
Back-up: Brett Phillips
Tony Kemp lead the Astros in steals in 2016, and hits in front of Jose Altuve. Jose Altuve and Tony Kemp lead the league in double steals. Phillips is blocked from a starting position in the outfield, but because of his athleticism, he plays all three outfield slots and designated hitter.
Left field: Jake Marisnick
Back-up: Brett Phillips
Jake Marisnick never lives up to his high rankings as a prospect, but is a defensive genius with speed on the basepaths. Astros fans keep pressing for fan favorite Phillips to become everyday player, manager A.J. Hinch sticks with Jake.
Designated Hitter: Preston Tucker
Dallas Keuchel: He goes toe to toe with Appel in most categories, but keeps his ace status with a lower WHIP, plus he’s a seasoned veteran. Manager A.J. Hinch tells Keuchel in his terrible Joker impersonation, “You are my number one!” The Astros lock him into rotation with multiyear deal after 2015 season.
Mark Appel: Appel shows the Astros why he was drafted number one, going 16-8 with a 2.89 ERA in 2016.
Collin McHugh: The former waiver claim, in his second year after signing his 5 year extension, is still mystifying hitters
Michael Foltynewicz: Folty continues to do his thing, finishing 4th in strikeouts in 2016.
Josh Hader: comparisons of a young Clayton Kershaw emerge during his rookie season, even though he’s had a few rough starts, he’s a young ace on the rise.
More from Climbing Tal's Hill
- Just how much better is the Houston Astros playoff rotation than the rest?
- Houston Astros: A Lineup Change to Spark Offense
- Astros prospect Hunter Brown throws 6 shutout innings in debut
- Always faithful Astros World Series champion Josh Reddick defends the title
- Michael Conforto declines Astros’ 2-year, $30 million offer
Luke Gregerson: Closer
Pat Neshek: 8th inning
Lance McCullers: closer in training
Asher Wojiechowski: Long man
Kevin Chapman: More than just lefty specialist
Luis Cruz: Left handed especial!
I’m sure if the Astros are to get to the World Series in 2017, they will need a little more veteran experience. But I know most Astros fans are excited for the future. Imagine if they all live up to expectations, the Astros are in good hands with Luhnow.
What are your thoughts on the roster? Did I miss anyone?
Read more about Brett Phillips here.
Read more about Jon Singleton here
Read more about the Astros 2015 bullpen here.