Things to Watch: How the Astros’ Outfield Affects the Infield

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In a recent article by the Houston Chronicle’s Evan Drellich, A.J. Hinch talked about the outfield position battles. He said it was unlikely that the Astros would carry five outfielders – George Springer, Colby Rasmus, Jake Marisnick, Alex Presley, and Robbie Grossman.

Notice anyone who’s missing?  Evan Gattis.  Many people presumed El Oso Blanco would take over the role in left field when he came over from the Atlanta Braves. That means that for the moment he is being thought of as a catcher (unlikely), first baseman, and/or designated hitter. But enough about him as there’s more on Gattis in another article coming out later today.

The most interesting thing is how this affects the infield reserve position battles. Matt Dominguez, Marwin Gonzalez, and Jonathan Villar are trying their best to earn a roster spot. What seemed like a battle for two open spots is narrowed down to one.

Gonzalez is the most versatile of the group, having spent time at third base, shortstop, second base, and in the outfield at the Major League level. This puts Dominguez and Villar a notch or two below MarGo in terms of team flexibility, though Dominguez is learning first base and Villar will see some time in the outfield during Spring Training. Additionally, first base is a pretty deep position with Jon Singleton off to a hot start in Spring Training, and Gattis or Chris Carter as his backup.

So the question for now is, can Dominguez or Villar prove themselves as a better option than Gonzalez for that final spot?

This is something to keep an eye on over the rest of the spring. Hinch said it will come down to the wire for reserve players, so the pressure is on.

Which player do you think has the upper-hand as the reserve infielder, AKA “utility man”?

Next: How Are Former Astros Faring This Spring?

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