Baseball has been embracing roster flexibility for quite some time. The Astros are now getting in on the act.
Out of all the potential issues that could plague the Astros this year, position depth shouldn’t be one of them. In fact, it should be a strength for this club.
Between the likes of Marwin Gonzalez, Yulieski Gurriel, Alex Bregman, Nori Aoki, Jake Marisnick, and possibly Tony Kemp, there isn’t a lack of options at numerous positions. First base, for example, illustrates as much. While manager A.J. Hinch may not have an everyday option for the position, he can choose between Gonzalez and Gurriel most days. Even Brian McCann can be an option.
Shortstop is another with Carlos Correa, Gonzalez, and Bregman. Third base with Bregman, Gonzalez, and Gurriel. George Springer, Nori Aoki, and Jake Marisnick can play all three outfield positions. Options galore!
The lineup will also benefit from this roster flexibility. Designated hitter is the most likely benefactor as Hinch likes to rotate players in and out. Also plan to see Evan Gattis or McCann get plenty of at-bats at DH when one of them isn’t catching. You will also see Jose Altuve, Correa, and Springer all get at-bats as the DH.
One reason why the roster flexibility will be a valuable asset this year is that there isn’t a true weakness in the lineup. Sure, there won’t be nine All-Stars in the lineup everyday. But this team has the capability to produce an above-average lineup every single game. Of course with health permitting.
Honestly, it is difficult to remember when the Astros had a roster this deep in terms of position players. But the unfortunate byproduct means that there will be talented players left off the active roster. Names like Marisnick, Kemp, and Preston Tucker immediately come to mind of those who may already be on the roster bubble. Hey, don’t forget that Spring Training is only two or so weeks away from beginning. In my mind the build up to baseball has already begun.
Just think that not even two years ago that would’ve been unheard of with the Astros. This development rightfully demonstrates the strides this franchise has made seen since the controversial rebuild. Only time will tell if those strides are enough in 2017.