Myles Straw and Framber Valdez are making cases for permanent roster spots.
The Astros will have a roster crunch on their hands once the litany of players returns from the injured list. Myles Straw and Framber Valdez are making the decisions more difficult with their impressive play thus far.
It should be noted that Straw in particular may end up being sent back to Triple-A anyway, as the Astros can do so without subjecting him to waivers. Still, both he and Valdez are making cases to stay in the majors permanently.
Through 12 games, Straw is batting .286 with a .394 on-base percentage. He’s scored nine runs, stolen three bases and played excellent outfield defense. He’s even spent some time at shortstop for good measure.
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Straw is not a power threat by any means, having hit just one homer in 46 games at around Rock. But the Astros don’t need him to be a slugger. He can change the game with his speed and defense, which can be invaluable batting in the No. 9 spot in the order.
Still, it’s likely that Straw would be sent down before Tony Kemp or Jake Marisnick, as both would have to go through waivers. And Marisnick provides elite defense, good speed and some power. But should a spot remain for him, Straw is showing he can provide great value.
Solidifying Back of Rotation
Valdez has a better chance of staying on the roster, especially if he continues to pitch this effectively. He’s made two starts and has been excellent, and in fact has been better than he was in the bullpen.
Even when Collin McHugh returns, there’s a case for Valdez to stay in the rotation. McHugh struggled badly in the rotation earlier in the season, and he excelled out of the bullpen in 2018. Valdez was also impressive in his five starts last season, so it may be best to leave him in the rotation until a change needs to be made.
This would probably leave the Astros bullpen without a lefty, as Cionel Perez could be sent down once McHugh returns. But if both Valdez and McHugh are more effective in their respective roles, the team will benefit.
***Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference***