Astros: Finding a role for Colin Moran in 2018

BALTIMORE, MD - JULY 22: Colin Moran
BALTIMORE, MD - JULY 22: Colin Moran /

Will Colin Moran get a chance to win a spot this Spring with the Astros?

In the 2014 MLB Draft, the Houston Astros contemplated taking Colin Moran with the first overall pick. Instead, they took the safe route with Mark Appel instead of going with Kris Bryant. Let’s not go there right now, but it’s a footnote at this point. The Astros are World Series champions after all!

With such a young and loaded roster, there are not too many open roster spots this Spring. You have many young players trying to make the final cut, including A.J. Reed, Tyler White, and Moran. But all three have nothing left to prove at the Triple-A level; they need more big league experience.

Moran needs a chance.

One player in particular needs a chance to play. Moran got off to a slow start to his career but finally got his chance last year. That is exactly what he did, before fouling a pitch off his face and missing most of the rest of the season. In two games in July, Moran was hitting .500 with a homer and two RBIs. Then he missed all of August, returning late in September for five games.

He only played sparingly because he was not really needed at that point. It was good to see him get six at-bats before the season ended. Now he just needs to get healthy and ready to compete for a job this Spring. There was talk about him playing left field this Spring to see if it’s an option for the regular season.

Despite playing parts of two seasons, Moran is still considered a rookie and prospect. With his minor league stats and brief success with Astros in 2017, his stock has risen. MLB Pipeline has him ranked as the fifth top Astros prospect. While he can play both first and third, his best position might be first base.

We have heard that Moran has a below average throwing arm at third base. However, I remember watching him make some great throws in those first two games. He is no longer in the Top-100 prospects, but he is a hitter who could add some more carry to his swing.

Does he have a chance to make the roster?

Moran is a left-handed hitter and could be a complement to Evan Gattis at DH. The problem though is if Gattis is the primary DH, then Max Stassi would probably make the team over Moran. That is if the Astros carry 13 pitchers.

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Moran fits the type of player the Astros like with position flexibility. He can play the corner infield positions but has also played shortstop and left-field. If the Astros were to add another hitter like Carlos Gonzalez or Jonathan Lucroy, Moran would be one of the biggest losers. Even if he doesn’t start with the team, he is a great depth option.

***Stats from Baseball-Reference***