Astros: Juan Centeno gets the nod for third catcher for ALDS
By Eric Huysman
All signs point to Juan Centeno being the Astros third catcher in the ALDS.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch has not officially announced who will be on the 25-roster for the ALDS versus the Red Sox. According to Jake Kaplan, Hinch said that Justin Verlander will start Game 1 and Dallas Keuchel will start Game 2. That leaves 23 spots left up in the air.
That’s not exactly the case, the roster is pretty obvious. There are about 20-21 players guaranteed a roster spot. With the final 4-5 players depending on how many hitters they carry. Hinch helped us out by telling us some players who were sent home and who were sent to Florida to stay game ready.
Who is going home?
According to Brian McTaggart, Hinch said that Reymin Guduan, Colin Moran, and J.D. Davis were going home. None of these were a great surprise, but Hinch has lost a valuable weapon out of the bullpen. Not talking about Guduan, but Davis.
While I’m writing this in a tongue and cheek manner, Davis has looked legit as a reliever with some power as a hitter. He is still very young and experienced, he was never really an option. It was great to see Moran back in action after his injury, he was not ready for playoffs action.
There are some surprising names not listed on the going home list. Mike Fiers, Tony Sipp, and Francis Martes were not sent home. It’s still unlikely they make the ALDS roster, but they live to fight another day.
Those sent to Palm Beaches
According to McTaggart, Tony Kemp and Max Stassi were sent to the Astros spring training complex. They were sent there with the instructions to stay sharp in case they are needed.
Kemp represents a guy who can get on base, pinch run with plus speed, and play great defense in the outfield. Stassi has improved this year to put himself back on the map, but it’s a little crowded with Gattis and Brian McCann.
Unless there is an injury, once you set your ALDS roster, you can’t change it. It was already mentioned that the Astros preferred to carry a third catcher so Evan Gattis could DH.
Doing the math, that leaves Juan Centeno as the third catcher for the Astros. This is not at all surprising as fans preferred Centeno over Stassi. Centeno plays good defense and had a brief stint earlier in the season where he gained temporary ‘Goat’ status. He had two homers in two games in May versus the Tigers.
Next: Astros: Justin Verlander to start Game 1 of ALDS
While Centeno was unable to maintain the torrid start to the season, he still has value with his defense. He could come in for Gattis as a defensive replacement with the lead late. He finished the season batting .231 with two homers. Centeno is not on the team for his bat, but could have a big hand in the outcome.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***