In less than two weeks, the Astros will start their championship defense.
Cuts from the major league roster has already taken place for the Astros. More will take place in the coming days. In fact, a few of the future roster cuts we’ve been expecting took place on a Sunday morning.
Say goodbye…for now.
All of these roster cuts from the major league camp to the minor league camp are not unexpected. Jack Mayfield, Jon Kemmer, and Garrett Stubbs have bright futures ahead of them, but their time hasn’t arrived quite yet. This Astros roster is deep and it won’t be easy to earn a coveted major league role.
The most notable name sent to minor league camp has to be Astros’ top prospect Kyle Tucker. Some will likely moan the fact that Tucker has been the team’s best hitter in spring training. A 1.236 OPS with four home runs is hard to send down despite the mostly non-predicative nature of spring training statistics. That said, the Astros are likely playing the service time game with Tucker. You can thank the “Super Two” rule. Plus, Derek Fisher is expected to receive a long look in left field before any decisions are made about a role for Tucker in 2018.
Francis Martes is the most surprising cut from Sunday morning. Over four appearances – two starts – Martes posted a 1.93 ERA in 9.1 innings. Not too shabby. But there isn’t room in the bullpen for Martes as Collin McHugh and Brad Peacock can both start and relieve this season. Martes needs the consistent work instead of sitting in the bullpen. Like the others in this situation, the Astros’ roster is deep and difficult to crack.
Despite being cut though, Martes will start this Saturday’s Grapefruit League game.
And expect to see plenty of the Astros’ minor league players in town for the team’s two exhibition games in Minute Park later this month. This group also includes Mayfield and Tucker.
Be on the lookout for more roster cuts in the coming days as the spring training draws closer to an end.
**Statistics and information courtesy of Baseball Reference**