Astros AM: Playing Rookies is a Double-Edge Sword
The Houston Astros “radical” rebuild has produced numerous top prospects.
From Alex Bregman to A.J. Reed to Joseph Musgrove, the Houston Astros have seen the farm system churn out players at a fast pace in 2016. Not counting the three mentioned above, the team has had up to ten rookies at a time on the 25-man roster this season.
For a team that has its sight set on the playoffs, this is unusual development. However, the Astros are not a conventional team.
Young players are the lifeblood of this franchise. This radical rebuild earlier in the decade essentially forced the Astros to lean on young talent for the foreseeable future.
And the plan has worked well.
Carlos Correa and Lance McCullers were rookies in 2015 and the two provided key lifts to the Astros as the team advanced to the playoffs for the first time in ten years. The hope is that the likes of Bregman, Reed, and Musgrove will do the same.
However, when a team relies on rookies it can sometimes be a double-edge sword.
While the youth movement can provide a jolt to a team, you must also expect an adjustment period for the young bucks.
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At first there was even chatter that speculated if Reed was truly the answer at first base after a few weeks of major league at-bats. Sure, Reed’s .143/.244/.314 slash line in his first 13 games was a tad disappointing. But to think that the Astros should give up so quickly on a top prospect in such a short amount of time was preposterous.
Fellow Astros rookies have struggled as well.
Musgrove has had backtoback rough starts. Bregman started his major league career 2-for-38 before hitting his stride as of late. Tyler White has been up-and-down. Jandel Gustave and James Hoyt were give brief albeit rough introductions to major league hitters.
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Only time will tell if the rookies push the Astros to another playoff berth this fall. While the division may be out of the question, the wild card spots are still up for grabs in the American League. There is a give and take though when it comes to relying on a massive youth movement. The Astros realize this truth.
**Statistics provided by Baseball Reference**