The World Baseball Classic is fast approaching, and so are the departures of some of the best players on the Houston Astros from spring training.
The eight Houston Astros participating in this great event, Nori Aoki, Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman, Carlos Beltran, Luke Gregerson, Kevin Chapman, and Dayan Diaz, will soon start leaving to represent their countries. One of these players, Aoki, has already left after appearing in two Spring Training games (and looking strong too, going 3 for 6).
Though it is unfortunate that Houston Astros fans will not be able to see our full-strength lineup until later in the spring, this opportunity is golden for the young ‘Stros trying to impress the organization.
Infielders Trying to Prove Their Value
With the majority of the infield participating in the Classic, young players such as Colin Moran, AJ Reed, and Tyler White will be looking to rebuild some value after slow starts to their major league careers. Moran needs to prove to the organization that he can hit at a professional level. The boys at Talking Stros discussed Moran last night.
White needs to show that he is capable of hitting like he did last April and that he is a versatile player in this league. A.J. Reed needs to shake off the rocky start to his highly anticipated big league career and hit like he knows he can. These players, as well as others, will have plenty of at-bats this spring to demonstrate their talents.
Players Close to the Majors
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For some players, such as Ramon Laureano, J.D. Davis, Derek Fisher, and Francis Martes, this opportunity is one where they can show the Astros how close they are to helping out the team. Last year, Tyler White was in a similar role and ended up impressing enough to earn a spot on the Opening Day roster.
While the roster for this year almost all but certain, these players can force the issue to be on the team soon with great play this spring. The Astros have tons of minor league talent ready to be unleashed.
Marisnick Proving His Worth
Though he would get much playing time if the World Baseball Classic players were here, Jake Marisnick is another storyline to follow during their absence. He needs to show that he really has improved over the offseason and can form a formidable duo with Nori Aoki in left field. This spring will dictate his future with the team. If his play is poor and it continues into April, there will be plenty of players looking to take his spot.
The World Baseball Classic is an excellent time to be a baseball fan and an even better time to be a baseball prospect. Young players throughout the Astros system will be competing this month, and it should be very fun to watch.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***