There will be three MLB series played in Mexico this year and the Astros were selected to participate. Who will they take as their 26th man?
The Houston Astros will be facing the Angels in Monterrey, Mexico this weekend. They will have a rare Friday off as they travel and rest up for the two-game series. After this series wraps up tomorrow morning, they would have played 14 straight games without an off day. Friday will be a welcome sight for the first place Astros.
As the MLB tries to market its product outside of the country, the Astros will look to gain a few new fans. Under the new rules, the Astros are allowed to carry a 26th player for this series. Before you ask, no, it’s not going to be Yordan Alvarez, he is not currently on the 40-man roster. Speaking of Alvarez, in a doubleheader matchup today, he went 6 for 8 with two doubles, a homer, and six RBIs. He may be ready, but his time is not now unless they make a roster move.
According to Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle, A. J. Hinch preferred to add another pitcher for the series. Unfortunately, the rules say it had to be a position player who gets the call. Because the Astros have a couple of games to play, they won’t likely announce who will be called up until post-game tomorrow. Until then, all we can do is speculate who it will be?
Some of the players who are on the 40-man roster are infielder AJ Reed, catcher Garrett Stubbs, and outfielders Derek Fisher, Myles Straw, and Kyle Tucker. If this was earlier in the season, most people would have thought it would be a top prospect, Tucker. Before Michael Brantley signed with the Astros, Tucker was penciled in as the left fielder.
Tucker has struggled to start the season but has hit better recently. He is batting .167 with a .615 OPS with five homers and nine RBIs. In a short term situation like this, you don’t typically bring up your top prospect. This is a way to reward someone off to a hot start in Triple-A, not named Alvarez. At some point, they will make a move to bring up the slugger, but the moment is not right yet.
Not sure there would be much need for Reed at this time, with Aledmys Diaz, Yuli Gurriel, and Tyler White all able to play first base. The 26th player would most likely be someone who could be a pinch-runner with speed to spare. That would take Reed and Stubbs out of the equation. However, it could be a luxury to have a third catcher for the weekend and give Stubbs a quick taste of the big leagues. After a fast start, Stubbs has slowed down a little batting .222 at the moment.
That would leave the decision between Fisher (.309 avg) and Straw (.396 avg). With his promise and struggles in the past, this would be a perfect opportunity to see what Fisher can offer. With a crowded outfield, Fisher could be traded at some point this season. This will be a good time to market the former top prospect. Straw has been learning how to play shortstop to increase his position flexibility.
We will have to wait to see who gets the call. My bet would be Fisher. Who do you think it will be?