Mar 8, 2015; Lakeland, FL, USA; Houston Astros left fielderRobbie Grossman
(19) on deck to bat against the Detroit Tigers at a spring training baseball game at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
In the previous slide, we went over who I thought would make the Houston Astros opening day pitching staff. Here we’ll go through the same process, but on offense.
According to the Astros site, the team currently holds 16 position players, which means three need to be cut in the coming days. The roster currently includes:
Catchers: Jason Castro, Hank Conger, Evan Gattis (yes, I know he won’t be there much). DH: Chris Carter. Infielders: Jose Altuve, Marwin Gonzalez, Jed Lowrie, Jon Singleton, Luis Valbuena, Jonathan Villar. Outfielders: Robbie Grossman, L.J. Hoes, Jake Marisnick, Alex Presley, Colby Rasmus and George Springer.
What this all boils down to is one infielder and two outfielders will need to be sent to the minors. In the infield, it will come down to Gonzalez and Villar, both of whom could be considered utility players. Based solely on spring performance, Villar gets the nod from me. Before camp began, I had already penciled in Gonzalez on the roster, but Villar came to play this spring, posting a .278 batting average with three triples, two steals and eight rbi.
Villar’s batting average is higher than MarGo’s OBP (.256), so the call shouldn’t be too hard. Manager A.J. Hinch has said he’s starting anew with everyone since this is his first season with the Houston Astros. With that in mind, Villar has likely impressed more.
Now for the outfield. It has been the talk of camp all month, and we shall get the final verdict soon enough. Two players are guaranteed spots on the roster in Springer and Rasmus, leaving four players vying for two spots.
Singleton’s status has been up in the air all spring, and we here at Climbing Tal’s Hill have been saying that there may not be a way for Singleton and Marisnick to both make the club. Yet, it’s Marisnick’s elite defense that has had him in this discussion, and he’s hitting .303 in 33 spring at-bats, so that should be enough to put him on the club. With Matt Dominguez being optioned to the minors yesterday, it seems as though Singleton may have also survived.
With Marisnick in, that leaves Hoes, Presley and Grossman. Even though Presley has $1M coming his way, I’m hoping that the Houston Astros field the best team as a sign of good faith to the fans, and that would mean having Grossman on the roster. He has impressed this spring, batting .349 in 43 at-bats.
The rest of the projected 25-man roster looks like this:
Gattis, Conger and Castro
Altuve, Lowrie, Singleton, Carter, Villar, Valbuena
Rasmus, Springer, Grossman, Marisnick
The big concern here will be at-bats. Gattis’ bat needs to be in the lineup, as does Carter’s, and with Singleton struggling a little of late, they would be the perfect first base/DH duo with Marisnick patrolling center. This would also allow Hinch to pinch-hit Singleton now and again, say for Marisnick, and move whoever is playing first base to left field.
Is this roster ideal? Yes and no. These are the players that should be on the team to start the season, but playing time will be a bit tricky. Because of this, the roster may vary a bit from the one that I have, but this is who I feel should be on the team.
As long as Hinch is upfront with the players about their roles, this could actually work out, however. Heck, it has worked in Oakland, and it could work for the Houston Astros. What do you think Astros fans? Who would you take off of this roster, and who would you put on in their stead?