The Houston Astros Spring Training Update on the First Base Battle.
The biggest battle during Spring Training for the Houston Astros could be the one at first base. We wrote a post about this last week looking at all the players who will be competing for the job at first base. In a post I wrote, I argued that first base was Jon Singleton‘s job to lose. Later on, I wrote a post that changed my stance that Tyler White could be the favorite to start the season as the first baseman with all the buzz surrounding him entering camp. A large portion of A.J. Hinch‘s dialogue at the Town Hall meeting for season ticket holders was that they needed someone to step up this spring, so let’s let it play out and enjoy.
Yesterday, Evan Drellich reported that Preston Tucker will get his first look at first base this spring. This news is something that I know Tucker has been pushing towards, but the Astros did not approach him about this change this offseason. While he will get some playing time, at first, don’t look for him to run away with the first base job, but it makes him a more valuable player when the Astros get down to 25-players.
It still appears unlikely that Tucker will make the opening day roster unless Evan Gattis requires some time on the DL to start off the season. If that is the case, Tucker would be battling with either Matt Duffy, Singleton, or White for the designated hitter or backup first baseman. There has not been that much buzz around Duffy, but all we have heard from players on Talking Stros is that he knows how to hit.
More from Climbing Tal's Hill
- Just how much better is the Houston Astros playoff rotation than the rest?
- Houston Astros: A Lineup Change to Spark Offense
- Astros prospect Hunter Brown throws 6 shutout innings in debut
- Always faithful Astros World Series champion Josh Reddick defends the title
- Michael Conforto declines Astros’ 2-year, $30 million offer
Speaking of Singleton, Drellich reported that Singleton has packed on 25 pounds this offseason, 17 of which is muscle. Singleton reported to camp at 255 pounds and feels like he is still a young player with a lot to offer. He has noticed how the public seems to have moved past him after the last two seasons. He spent the offseason working with Cedrick Johnson to be better prepared to battle this spring for his job. From Drellich’s article with quotes from Singleton, he is ready this year.
Will he win the job? It’s all up to how he can connect his mind to his athleticism because no one can argue that Singleton is not talented, and he still has the raw power to be a dominating power hitter in the middle of the order. He will not be given the job this year, and he will have to earn it, and it’s hard not to root for a guy like him. He has to beat out all the other candidates for first base, though, including Reed.
Reed reported to camp today, and he took the offseason a little more seriously this year, according to Drellich. However, on Talking Stros, we interviewed Reed twice, once in person at the Houston Pets Alive event hosted by Lance McCullers. We already knew that he was ready to compete and that he was in better shape this season. He looked like he was in better shape as he joined Talking Stros, he seemed ready to go into spring training and compete for first base with the Astros and not in Fresno.
These are just notes about the potential first base candidates as more players have reported to Spring Training. I’m looking forward to going to Florida this Spring Training to get to see these guys in person, but until then, I will follow Drellich and others.