It’s finally here! The Astros pitchers and catchers officially report to West Palm Beach for the beginning of their spring training.
It’s what we’ve been waiting for all winter and it’s finally here. Astros spring training has begun! Pitchers and catchers report to FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. The position players’ official report date is Sunday, but there are reports that the full squad has already arrived.
The ballpark is expectedly surrounded by reporters as the players arrive under heavy security. It has been reported that the facility is closed to the media, and players will not be available for comments today. As owner Jim Crane has previously mentioned, the players will meet as a team and decide how to address the sign-stealing scandal.
But enough of that. Let’s talk baseball and what lies ahead for the Astros. There are a lot of questions to be answered that are more important than what the media wants to hear. What will the starting rotation look like? Who will be manning the bullpen? Is right field going to be a platoon situation?
Spring training is when all of the unknowns will slowly become clearer. The deeper they get into the schedule the more questions get answered and the 26-man roster begins to take shape. Non-roster invitees and prospects get their chance to play with the big boys. This is their opportunity to hone their skills and hopefully show that they have the talent to play in the Major Leagues.
This will be the first time the new regime of GM James Click and manager Dusty Baker will get a chance to see their team in action. Will there be changes to the Astros style of play under the new manager? Is there going to be some unexpected personnel changes as a result?
The starting rotation is pretty much set, as far as the first three spots are concerned. Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke, and Lance McCullers Jr. are locked in to head up the starting five. But who will step up to fill in the #4 and #5 positions?
Jose Urquidy showed a lot of promise at the end of last season. Austin Pruitt was brought in to compete for a spot and Bryan Abreu shined last year in his brief time with the Astros. Brad Peacock has his experience as a starter to draw on. They could even bring in another pitcher from outside. Re-sign Collin McHugh maybe?
What will the outfield look like when the season opens? Michael Brantley and George Springer will most assuredly man left and center field. But who will be patrolling right field? Is this Kyle Tuckers time to finally be a regular in the lineup? Josh Reddick will surely do his best to prove that this is still his position to lose. Yordan Alvarez may get more time in the outfield as his experience increases.
These, and others, are all of the questions that need to get answered in this 2020 version of spring training. And they will get answered, in due time. But that’s what makes spring training so intriguing and fun to follow. So get your Astros gear out and get ready to cheer for your favorite player or prospect. Let’s PLAY BALL!!