Is Dan Straily the 25th guy on the Houston Astros Opening Day Roster?
Coming off a season in which the Houston Astros reached the playoffs for the first time in a decade, the Astros roster is not as open as it has been in the past. One of the open roster positions is the fifth starter, even though Scott Feldman has an inside track on this role and the last spot in the bullpen. One person who on the outside looking in is Dan Straily, but he may have one of the best chances of making the team. While his track record in 2015 was not that nice, he does have one thing going for him.
He is currently out of options, which means the Astros would have to place him on waivers for him to be assigned to the minor leagues. The Astros will have to decide if they are willing to risk losing Straily to another team versus carrying him on the roster as the long guy in the bullpen. As I mentioned earlier, he has not performed well in the majors for the past two seasons with a 6.75 ERA in 2014 (52 innings) and 5.40 ERA in 2015 (in 16.2 innings). However, he still possesses good stuff; he just has to find his rhythm he carried in 2012 to 2013.
Several guys are trying to beat out Feldman as the fifth starter including Michael Feliz, Chris Devenski, Brady Rodgers, and Straily as well as a few others. Feldman has $8 million reasons why he will most likely be on the team, at least, he has a guaranteed contract with the Astros. Straily would have to come in this spring ready to compete for spring training and give results. Some guys just need to go in and get their work in to get ready, guys like Straily will have to impress to make the team.
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While he may not make the rotation, as I mentioned earlier, he could become a Roberto Hernandez type of guy there ready to eat up innings if a starter makes and an early exit. Is he guaranteed to make the team, no, I just said it was a bold prediction. The Astros need to put out the best 25-man roster daily, so if he is not one of those players, the Astros will most likely cut ties. They did so with Chris Carter this offseason, so being out of options is not a be all end all.
However, the Astros are still pretty high on Straily, despite what he has shown in his spot starts or out of the bullpen towards the end of the season. There was a reason he was part of the Luis Valbuena trade, and the Astros coveted him, especially Jeff Luhnow. Granted, Straily struggled last season in Fresno at the beginning of the year but rediscovered some mechanics that led to a little more success down the stretch.
“I think showing up and pitching like I know I’m capable of gives me a good chance to make the team.” – Dan Straily via Twitter
Stats from Fresno in 2015: 10-7/ 4.77 ERA/ 124 strikeouts in 122 2/3 innings/ 25 walks.
I asked Straily about his chances of making the roster, here was his response, “I think showing up and pitching like I know I’m capable of gives me a good chance to make the team.”
These above stats show that despite some clunkers he had at various times throughout the season, he showed flashes of brilliance at other times. This potential is what intrigues the Astros so much; he could be that veteran guy in the rotation or out of the bullpen who comes in and does his job. The Astros will do their due diligence before they release a guy like Straily because he may be scooped up quickly which will affect the Astros depth at starting pitching.
Talking to Rodgers yesterday on @TalkingStros, he said that he was great to be next to Straily with the fact that he has experienced the big leagues, which is big to the young guys. This is a reason to keep a guy like Straily around because people respect him, but the Astros are growing beyond needing the token veteran on the team. This will be an interesting battle to watch this spring.
**Stats from Baseball-Reference**