Could Both Tyler White and A.J. Reed Make the Astros Opening Day Roster?
The Houston Astros made a statement during the 2014 and 2015 seasons that they were not going to start the season with their stud prospects on the active roster. They set what was supposed to be a precedent where they waited until late April 2014 for George Springer and June 2015 with Carlos Correa. With the Astros operation procedures for how to handle saving service time, there was zero chance that 2014 second round pick A.J. Reed would start the season with the Astros.
Look at how the Chicago Cubs handled Kris Bryant last season, and they kept him in the minors for the minimum time they could to delay becoming arbitration eligible for one year, which was about a matter of 14 days or so. Bryant was as sure of a player as you can find as a prospect, so if the Cubs can wait for him, the Astros can wait for Reed. Reed could use this time to get some experience against upper-level pitching.
However, there has been a feeling among several of the fans and media that Tyler White has the inside track for the first base job, but isn’t that job Reed’s when he is ready? Yes, but with the chance that Evan Gattis is not ready for the season, it could create an opening on the 25-roster for a player like Preston Tucker or Matt Duffy, depending on how many pitchers the Astros decide to carry.
Jim Bowden got a chance to talk with Astros GM Jeff Luhnow on Tuesday about the first base situation. Apparently, Luhnow told him that there was a chance that both White and Reed both make the opening day roster. For this to happen, Gattis would probably be on the disabled list, prompting the need for a designated hitter. There is also a shot that Preston Tucker could fill in at DH with his experience last season.
We talked about this on yesterday’s Talking Stros.
These moves would probably send one of the hottest hitters this spring down in Matt Duffy. This is a problem the Astros have not had in almost a decade, a great depth of players that figures to strengthen in the future with all the talent in our pipeline.
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I had a chance to talk to Jose de Jesus Ortiz and Evan Drellich about whether both White and Reed could make the roster. Ortiz said that it is possible, but with the money on the table, he sees the Astros giving Singleton a chance to start off the season, even if it’s a month or less. He also mentioned that if White and Reed finish with similar stats, the tie will be broken by who would be the cheapest to retain because of being on the opening day roster. This player is White, so he would be the logical first base pure rookie to make the team while they wait on Reed.
Drellich echoed what Ortiz said by saying, “sure it could happen. I don’t see it as likely.” Even though it is still unlikely that both players, mostly Reed, makes the opening day roster, it is nice to know that the Astros are at least open to the idea of bringing Reed up earlier. This represents that the Astros are willing to go all in now to achieve the most success over the next five-year window they have.