Eric (Twitter handle: @huysman_eric)
This is one of the most set positions on the Astros. With three candidates for two spots, Jason Castro, Hank Conger, and Max Stassi.
The Starter: Jason Castro – Even after a down year in 2014, the former first round pick has the potential to be a top-10 catcher. While his batting average went down from .276 to the .222, he is still capable of hitting 15-17 home runs. Plus my son would be mad if his favorite player was not playing every day.
The Backup: Hank Conger – The Astros traded for him for a reason, he is a pitch framer and great defensive catcher. While he has potential to be the everyday guy, he has failed to show this promise in the majors. If the Astros were to make him the everyday catcher, it would be a strong statement that the Astros have enough offense to sacrifice some pop at catcher.
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
This is one position that I think can change, day-to-day, week to week, and month to month. The three candidates for the designated hitter position are incumbent Chris Carter, Evan Gattis, and Jason Castro.
The Starter: Chris Carter – He is the only person the Astros have who has experienced the designated hitter position. It’s a different role to serving as the DH, that most people have a hard time doing. Chris Carter has seemed to embrace the role. Last year Carter had a breakout season after a poor start to begin the year. If the second half Carter shows up this year, he would move to the top of the DH rankings soon.
The Backup: Evan Gattis – A.J. Hinch said on Friday, that Gattis would get most of his playing time in left field during spring training. Hinch warned though, don’t read anything into that. I see two situations where Gattis is the primary DH;
- Jon Singleton starts in AAA, and Carter plays first.
- Gattis proves a liability in left field, so Carter ends up playing there.
Both of these instances could possibly happen. Spring training should settle this.
Jason Castro will start with Hank Conger backing up.
Chris Carter will start the season as Astros designated hitter.
Next: Thomas and Jason's Predictions