Astros 2017 World Series Roster Part II
In honor of the Astros Triple-A affiliate, the Fresno Grizzlies canceling their replica Astros 2017 World Series ring, I decided to revisit who could be on the 2017 Houston Astros World Series roster. While Morgan Ensberg thinks the Sports Illustrated article on the Astros was a bad thing for the Astros, the fans saw it from a different light.
The Astros have been preaching for fans to be patient with the “Process,” so Astros fans saw the article as a new hope for the organization. The article may have brought out that the Astros were bad, to become good in the future. 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. Speaking of the future, let’s go back to the future to create a possible Astros roster for the 2017 series.
I’m going to out on a limb and say that A.J. Hinch will still be the manager in 2017. It would be his third season as the Astros skipper. Unlike Bo Porter, Hinch will be given the talent to have a potential winner. Hinch will ride the waves of talent led by Jose Altuve, George Springer, and Carlos Correa to hopefully field a winning team in 2017 or sooner.
Mar 6, 2015; Jupiter, FL, USA; Houston Astros catcher Max Stassi (12) at bat against the St. Louis Cardinals during a spring training baseball game at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Starter: Max Stassi
Back-up: Hank Conger
I made this call in the first article, and I am sticking to it still. Max Stassi has proved to be ready for the majors this spring , but the incumbent starter Jason Castro has shown his 2013 ability with the bat as well. Castro, who is eligible to be a free agent after the 2016 season, will be traded for prospects or will sign with the Yankees when he becomes a free agent. Stassi should be able to contribute similar stats to Castro, while playing better defense.
Conger is a former top prospect, but has struggled with the bat early in his career.
Dark-horse Candidate: Tyler Heineman, he could potentially be the starter if Stassi fails to produce.
Mar 8, 2015; Lakeland, FL, USA; Houston Astros first baseman Jon Singleton (21) hits a double during the second inning against the Detroit Tigers at a spring training baseball game at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Starter: Jon Singleton
Backup: Evan Gattis
This is assuming that Jon Singleton rebounds from his terrible, no good, very bad rookie season. The Astros have team control of Singleton until the 2021 season, so he should be on the 2017 roster. My guess is that he will turn into a Ryan Howard clone, and will have many good years with the Astros.
While Gattis is not ready to play first base for the 2015 season, I believe that after a certain transaction occurs he will be placed into the Chris Carter role of first baseman/DH. Also, if you think there is a logjam in the outfield to begin the 2015 season, it’s going to be much worse in 2017. With two years of service time, he will be an Astro until at least the 2019 season.
A.J. Reed, if Singleton continues to struggle, A.J. Reed may be fast-tracked to the majors. His left-handed power would be good in the Astros lineup.
Feb 26, 2015; Kissimmee, FL, USA; Houston Astros infielder Jose Altuve poses for a picture during photo day at Osceola County Stadium Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Starter: Jose Altuve
Backup: Joe Sclafani and Tony Kemp
Altuve has been the face of the franchise for the past two years, and I can see the Astros and Altuve working out a Craig Biggio type relationship for the future. The earliest Altuve can become a free agent is the 2018 season, so 2017 could possibly be a contract year for him to shine. Altuve is one of the top second basemen in the game, and for the Astros to win in 2017, they would need great play and leadership by Altuve. With age Altuve’s speed could decline, but he should still be able to hit for high average.
Joe Sclafani will become a super-utility player for the Astros pretty quickly, and will join up with a veteran infielder to become one of the best bench duos in Astros history. He may not have the best tools around, but he makes up for that with his energy.
Tony Kemp–the Astros might see a cheaper version of what they have in Jose Altuve. In a potentially cost-cutting move, the Astros could use Altuve as trade bait. Kemp could offer similar stats to Altuve, but it will be hard to replace his moxie.
Mar 5, 2015; Jupiter, FL, USA; A general view of baseballs on the field at Roger Dean Stadium prior to a game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Starter: J.D. Davis
Backup: Jed Lowrie
I know this is a bold prediction, but I think that Davis’s power will play with the Astros. I’m not sold on Colin Moran‘s potential as a player. Yes I have predicted Moran being a Matt Carpenter type player, but third base is normally reserved for a power bat. In a recent post, I compared Davis to Ryan Zimmerman at the beginning of his career, which I believe could happen. This will be Davis’s rookie season, after Colin Moran struggled his rookie year in 2016.
Lowrie will become a valuable super-utility guy like Sclafani, playing shortstop, second, and third. Jeff Luhnow once mentioned that he sees Lowrie as a big piece off the bench, like Marco Scuturo did with the Giants during playoffs.
Colin Moran, he could prove his doubters wrong, namely me, by playing well.
Feb 26, 2015; Kissimmee, FL, USA; Houston Astros infielder Carlos Correa poses for a picture during photo day at Osceola County Stadium Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Starter: Carlos Correa
Backup: Jed Lowrie and Joe Sclafani
The future at shortstop belongs with Carlos Correa. He will make his debut in 2016, with Jed Lowrie and his contract become a utility player. I believe strongly that Correa will probably have a rookie of the year season, similar to a Troy Tulowitzki type of rookie season. Besides Dickie Thon, the Astros have had issues finding true All-Star production from the shortstop position. He follows up his rookie of the year season, with a productive season in 2017.
Jeff Luhnow. Why not? There is no question who starts at shortstop.
Jul 9, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Houston Astros center fielder George Springer (4) before the game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Starter: George Springer
Backup: Tony Kemp
George Springer becomes the face of the Astros, and starts hitting for average and cuts his strikeouts down to low the low twenties. After an injury filled rookie season in 2014, Springer recovers to join Altuve at the next three All-Star games. In 2016, Springer will finish in the top five for A.L. MVP, while averaging 30-30 each season.
Tony Kemp moves his game to the outfield, and becomes the fourth outfielder in 2017. He is inserted in games for defensive purposes in left field, and starts two to three times a week. With Altuve trade rumors swirling after the 2016 season, Kemp gets hounded by questions about replacing Altuve.
Brett Phillips, AKA Maverick. He has become one of my favorites with his personality. He probably is more suited for everyday play, but he will have to outplay other candidates.
Sep 21, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros center fielder Jake Marisnick (6) hits a single during the second inning against the Seattle Mariners at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Starter: Jake Marisnick
Backup: Tony Kemp
Jake Marisnick becomes a fixture in the Astros outfield because of his defense and speed, while fighting off many outfielders trying to take his job. He becomes the clubhouse leader, and Astros MLB player rep.
Teoscar Hernandez, he has the best all-around hitting talent with power and speed. He could replace any of the outfielders if he continues his high performance.
Feb 26, 2015; Kissimmee, FL, USA; Houston Astros outfielder Preston Tucker poses for a picture during photo day at Osceola County Stadium Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Starter: Preston Tucker
Backup: Evan Gattis
Preston Tucker will earn his spot on the roster with his play, beating out some of the higher ranked prospects. Jeff Luhnow feels that Tucker will become a Allen Craig type of player, who can hit for high average and power. He has done nothing but prove scouting reports wrong since he joined the Astros organization. His left-handed power could be a difference in the Astros lineup for years.
Domingo Santana, with and injury to an Astros outfielder in 2015, he could be given a chance to succeed and reassert himself into the Astros future.
Feb 26, 2015; Kissimmee, FL, USA; Houston Astros outfielder Evan Gattis poses for a picture during photo day at Osceola County Stadium Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Evan Gattis and his 40+ homers per year give the Astros the confidence to trade Chris Carter in 2016 for a rental starting pitcher at the trade deadline, during a failed playoff run.
Mar 16, 2015; Kissimmee, FL, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel (60) pitches in the third inning against the Atlanta Braves at Osceola County Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
The Astros choose to keep Keuchel instead of McHugh. They wanted the veteran presence in the rotation, and after McHugh’s down year in 2016, the Astros choose to hold onto the consistent Keuchel.
Feb 26, 2015; Kissimmee, FL, USA; Houston Astros pitcher Mark Appel poses for a picture during photo day at Osceola County Stadium Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Appel made his debut mid 2015, with and injury to one of the starters, and never looked back. He had an up and down first season, but became the pitcher the Astros thought he was during the 2016 season.
Hader was called up in 2016, to make a spot start for a pitcher needing a rest, and he dominated the Seattle Mariners lineup McHugh style in his debut. The Astros like having Hader in the rotation as a good lefty complement to Dallas Keuchel. He doesn’t quite pitch as good as his early Chris Sale comparisons, but he becomes a 12-14 win type of pitcher with 200 strikeouts.
Feb 26, 2015; Kissimmee, FL, USA; Houston Astros pitcher Vince Velasquez poses for a picture during photo day at Osceola County Stadium Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
After an injury filled start to his career, Velasquez finally finds his grove on the mound. He becomes a Johnny Cueto type pitcher who struggles one year, and then pitches lights out the next year. Good thing he struggled in 2016, because he single-handedly helped the Astros get into the playoffs by winning the Wild Card game versus the Kansas City Royals by pitching eight shutout innings.
Jun 18, 2013; Dayton, OH, USA; West pitcher Lance McCullers throws against the East All Stars in the first inning during the Midwest League-All Star Game at Fifth Third Field. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Lance McCullers Jr.
McCullers talked his way out of relief, and A.J. Hinch never regretted his decision. While McCullers didn’t live up to his ace potential, he became a quality fourth starter who kept his club in games. He won the Division Series clincher versus the White Sox, by pitching seven innings and giving up two unearned runs.
Feb 26, 2015; Kissimmee, FL, USA; Houston Astros pitcher Collin McHugh poses for a picture during photo day at Osceola County Stadium Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Collin McHugh, there is a chance that McHugh is not on the team in two years, because he could be a cost cutting measure for the Astros to go with a cheaper staff.
Feb 26, 2015; Kissimmee, FL, USA; Houston Astros pitcher Michael Feliz poses for a picture during photo day at Osceola County Stadium Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Feliz made his debut in late 2015 in the bullpen, and quickly earned the confidence of Hinch. In 2017, Feliz took over closing duties from Luke Gregerson, who became the setup man. The one-two punch of Feliz and Gregerson made games a seven inning affair. Feliz through with the ability of Aroldis Chapman.
This was just for fun, and I did not hop into the DeLorian and go into the future to come back and write for an Astros fan blog. So if any of my predictions come true, don’t come asking me about the winning Lottery ticket numbers are. I’m excited for the present, but I can’t wait for the future of the Astros.
If you want to compare the changes for Part 1 to Part II, click here.
Next: Astros Top 30 Prospects Part 2
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