With a flurry of largely unexpected moves at the August deadline, GM Jeff Luhnow swiftly changed the makeup of the Houston Astros roster.
With September comes expanded rosters across the league, so there is not much pressure to choose which players will be in the clubhouse. However, come playoff time, the Astros expanded roster will again need to be trimmed to 25 players.
The Astros have acquired relief pitchers Francisco Liriano and Tyler Clippard, OF Cameron Maybin, and most notably, starting pitcher Justin Verlander. Since the Astros made moves to get these players, they most certainly are locks to be a part of the playoff roster, or are they?
Let’s take a look at an early-September prediction of the Astros’ postseason squad.
The lineup should be relatively easy to construct, and all of these players should be locks.
Having 12 hitters on the 25-man roster is typical, and barring injury, these are a dozen bats A.J. Hinch will have to work with.
The pitching staff is where there is some debate. First off, the rotation will be cut down to at least a four man rotation, possibly even three. The first three starters should be in order, Dallas Keuchel, Justin Verlander, and Lance McCullers. If the four man rotation is used, Collin McHugh should be the fourth starter.
The bullpen, for the most part, has it’s locked as well. Ken Giles, Chris Devenski, Will Harris, Luke Gregerson, Brad Peacock, and Joe Musgrove have solidified their spot in the bullpen. With these pitchers combined with the offense, three spots remain. Let’s see who the first three in and out are.