Astros Add Thatcher and Hernandez, Who Will Be Subtracted?
By Eric Huysman
After the blowout win by the Blue Jays against the Astros on Monday night, Brian McTaggart reported that both Joe Thatcher and Roberto Hernandez will be added to the 25-man roster to start the season. The Astros had until Tuesday to make the decision to keep them, or give them the option to find a place on another team. It probably had nothing to do with the way Brett Oberholtzer pitched, but it might have encouraged them to keep the stable veteran in Hernandez.
Astros Sign Two Pitchers
As you can see by McTaggart’s Tweet from above, not only did Roberto Hernandez make the team, but he could possibly start the third, fourth, or fifth game of the season. Collin McHugh has struggled a little, but not enough to not pitch the third game against the Indians. The rotation appears to be Dallas Keuchel, Scott Feldman, Collin McHugh, Roberto Hernandez, and either Brett Oberholtzer or Asher Wojciechowski. Wojo, as Astros fans call him, still could make the team.
Last night, as I listened to the broadcast of the game versus the Blue Jays, I tweeted out that very question through my alter ego @astrosCTH. Brett Oberholtzer didn’t pitch down in the strike zone like he normally does, so he left some balls up that went really far. McTaggart echoed my thoughts after the game, and Oberholtzer has one more start to improve upon his troubles from last night. Would the Astros actually break the twelve day rule for a prospect? That would be news in itself.
The 40-man Issue
Before Roberto Hernandez and Joe Thatcher can pitch for the Astros, two spots must open on the 40-man roster. In other words, two people’s Astros careers could be over. A link for the current 40-man roster can be found here.
Let’s look at some of the players that could possibly be taken off the 40-man roster.
RHP- Jake Buchanan
Outfielder – L.J. Hoes
Outfielder – Alex Presley
Those four players are the ones that may not have a future with the Astros and/or might easily pass through waivers. Alex White might be the easiest player to remove, because of his struggles during the spring, and his prospect status has long since diminished.
Alex Presley is a fan favorite–to be released. The only catch is to do that, the Astros could be on the hook for his salary. He might pass through waivers, but teams craving a good bat off the bench might scoop him up, regardless of his $1M contract.
L.J. Hoes is the forgotten man it seems. I felt at the end of the 2014 season, even with George Springer on the DL, Hoes was always on the bench with his jacket on. Once a top prospect, he has struggled to find success in the big leagues. He may pass waivers, but a team could take a flier. He seems like the kind of reclamation project that Oakland would love to take a gamble on.
Jake Buchanan has shown some promise in his short career and is a good depth starter to have around. He made two starts last year with the Astros, but he could be the long relief guy in case Sam Deduno is not up to the task.
Most likely to be cut: L.J. Hoes and Alex White
Since the Astros have already informed Thatcher and Hernandez that they have made the team, they don’t have to physically put them on the roster until Sunday.
The Astros roster is not set, but it’s starting to get a little clearer. The biggest issue is the Jake Marisnick versus Jon Singleton competition that I wrote about here. Hinch will take his time with the final moves.
Next: The Math Equation for Jake Marisnick to be the Astros CF
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