Astros: Spring training notes and thoughts

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 01: Center fielder Tony Kemp #18 of the Houston Astros makes a catch in the outfield in the bottom of the second inning during the game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on October 1, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 01: Center fielder Tony Kemp #18 of the Houston Astros makes a catch in the outfield in the bottom of the second inning during the game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on October 1, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images) /
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Real baseball for the Astros is just a few weeks away.

Spring training is fun, yet a drag at the same time. On the one hand, you get to see players in action that you usually don’t see on your television. However, the games don’t matter, and there is little incentive involved.

That said, there are a few interesting notes to make about spring training. While the statistics and fuzzy feelings don’t carry much weight, it could offer a slight insight into the team.

Note #1: Left-handed relievers stepping up

The Astros do not have many weaknesses on the roster, but left-handed relief was one of them. For the better part of the past two seasons, the Astros have received little from their left-handed relievers. You know the story by now so I won’t rehash old history.

However, the club has to please with the performances from their left-handed relievers. For example, Buddy Boshers has thrown 2.1 innings of relief with two hits, zero earned runs and one walk with two strikeouts. The two runs he has allowed were unearned. Again, spring training numbers mean little. It is refreshing, though, to see a left-handed reliever experience a small dose of success. Reymin Guduan has allowed only three hits with two walks, yet no runs allowed in three appearances. Tony Sipp has thrown two scoreless innings of relief.

It is still quite early to make any determination on the left-handed relief role. And I cannot stress how much spring training statistics don’t matter as much as some like to believe. At the same time, the Astros may have a few decent options to choose from in the coming weeks.

Note #2: Kyle Tucker won’t start the season in the majors

Like Brian McTaggart of MLB.com states in his article, Tucker will not start the season with the Astros major league roster. This take may come to the dismay of numerous fans, but this is the reality of the situation. Look past the three home runs and 1.267 OPS in camp. Tucker hasn’t even experienced Triple-A in his young career, and I bet the Astros wouldn’t mind him getting some reps there before his eventual ascension into the majors.

The results, though, have been something else. It is encouraging to see Tucker get off to such a good start in camp. If he continues to perform at a high clip this upcoming season, it wouldn’t be outlandish to assume Tucker receives a promotion to the majors in September. Now, the 2019 spring training is another question.

Note #3: The offensive struggles of Tony Kemp

Kemp has been a force as an outfielder. The highlight plays have been all over the place.

At the same time, Kemp has to start hitting the ball. For context, Kemp has only one hit in 16 at-bats. He has no walks, yet only one strikeout. It is still early in spring training, yes. But the clock is ticking. Kemp has the potential to be a quality major league player. Unfortunately for him, there is no room on the depth chart. To earn his way on to the club is to impress not only with the glove but the bat. Only time will tell the tale.

Next: Three Players Trending Down - Spring Training

Spring training is still in its toddler stage. As camp advances, you’ll start to see more the regulars. Some of these players in camp will be sent to the minor league camp soon enough. Outside of the Yuli Gurriel injury, though, the Astros’ spring training has gotten off to a strong start.

**Statistics and information courtesy of MLB.com**