Astros: Projecting the 2019 Major League roster

codypoage
BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 28: Jake Marisnick #6 of the Houston Astros celebrates with Jose Altuve #27 after a 2-1 victory against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 28, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 28: Jake Marisnick #6 of the Houston Astros celebrates with Jose Altuve #27 after a 2-1 victory against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 28, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images) /
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Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in the near future, so it begs this one inquiry: Who’ll exactly be on the Astros’ Opening Day roster?

Without spending too much mental energy in coming up with a clever saying, this offseason has essentially sucked. While I know there are still some big names out there, the offseason itself has felt like a slow march rather than a rat race to the top. That said, there are still plenty of topics to write about if you’d think about it long enough. And, no, I can’t guarantee all of the topics are actually…good?

Anyway, I’ve decided to lean on a classic, yet redundant topic: Projecting the Major League roster for the Astros, or, rather, the Opening Day roster. It doesn’t make it a difference what I label the post as the bulk of it is simply projecting the roster.

The Astros, in particular, aren’t exactly a hard team to project. As one of the potential contenders in 2019, the roster hasn’t featured much in terms of dramatic turnover.

However, there has been some turnover.

Our beloved Charlie Morton is now with the Rays, which is fine. I have no ill at all towards the good people in Tampa. Marwin Gonzalez is still searching for a new contract, and possibly a new team. Sorry, but the acquisition of Aledmys Diaz doesn’t bode well for Gonzalez’s future in Houston, regardless of how inactive his market has appeared. Ditto for Dallas Keuchel, albeit the Astros actually have a need for him. Martin Maldonado will likely sign with someone else in the coming weeks once the big names are off the board. And I don’t believe you’ll see another Tony Sipp revival special in Houston. And that’s about all I have for free agents.

Without further ado, here is how I’d project the Astros’ roster settling (remaining years and average annual value in parenthesis):

*-notates pre-arbitration

** – notates arbitration eligible

*** – notates last season before unrestricted free agency

Starting lineup (no particular order)

C – Robinson Chirinos (1 year, $5.75 million)***

1B – Yuli Gurriel (2 years, $16 million)

2B – Jose Altuve (6 years, $23.357 million)

3B – Alex Bregman ($555K)*

SS – Carlos Correa (TBD – arbitration projection: ~$4.5 to $5 million)**

LF – Michael Brantley (2 years, $16 million)

CF – George Springer (1 years, $ 12 million)**

RF – Josh Reddick (2 years, $13 million)

DH – Tyler White ($555K)*

Bench

INF – Aledmys Diaz ($555K)*

INF/OF – Tony Kemp ($555K)*

OF Jake Marisnick (1 year, $2.212 million)**

C – Max Stassi ($555K)*

Starting Rotation

SP – Justin Verlander (1 year, $25.714 million)***

SP – Gerrit Cole (TBD – arbitration process: ~$11.425 to $13.5 million)***

SP – Collin McHugh (1 year, $5.8 million)***

SP – Josh James ($555K)*

SP – Framber Valdez ($555K)*

Bullpen

CL – Roberto Osuna (1 year, $6.5 million)**

RP – Ryan Pressly (1 year, $2.9 million)***

RP – Brad Peacock (1 year, $3.110 million)**

RP – Chris Devenski (TBD – arbitration process: ~$1.4 to $1.65 million)**

RP – Hector Rondon (1 year, $4.25 million)***

RP – Will Harris (1 year, $4.225 million)***

RP – Cionel Perez ($555K)*

Honestly, I could be off a few names, especially on the bench and bullpen. But I do expect to see Kemp make the roster as a utility player off the bench. While Marisnick still hasn’t fulfilled his power potential on a consistent basis, his defense in the outfield is difficult to ignore. Chirinos and Stassi will obviously split time at catcher, but I’d give the edge to Chirinos due to his bat. If the Astros can somehow revamp his defense, then they could have another sneakily good signing to their credit. As much as I like Kyle Tucker‘s potential, there just isn’t enough room for him right now on the major league roster. Honestly, it wouldn’t do him a lot of good to not receive regular playing time, which is why I’d expect for him to start his season in Round Rock.

At this point in time, I don’t believe Forrest Whitley will make the Opening Day roster, but he is on the short list for an in-season promotion. Based on their small sample from last season, James and Valdez are two names to watch for a spot in the rotation. Of course, there final two rotation slots are a fluid situation, especially if the Astros acquire another veteran starter.

For the bullpen, I do expect some moving parts, especially if the Astros don’t elect to carry a left-hander. Based more on availability than anything else, Perez and/or Valdez could potentially land the job. Devenski and Harris are two pitcher looking to rebuild their value in 2019.

Next. Astros: Strong farm system vital to club’s future plans. dark

At this point, I feel about 80% confident in my roster projections. I am likely wrong on a few names, but like I mentioned earlier, the Astros aren’t exactly difficult to project. There is a lot to like about this team in 2019, but there is also time to see general manager Jeff Luhnow make another transaction or two. Look out for the updated list when Spring Training is well underway.

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