Catchers: Martin Maldonado and Jason Castro
Castro experienced ailments this spring with only two starts under his belt. The 34-year-old suffered knee troubles last season, and if injuries linger into 2022, Michael Papierski should be the first option out of the minors.
Major-league pitchers raved about Papierski’s work on rehab assignments, and although Korey Lee is the future, Papierski is in-line for the opportunity now and could be a 40-man addition with there only being two rostered catchers, following Garrett Stubbs’ trade.
Infielders: Yuli Gurriel, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Jeremy Peña, Aledmys Diaz, Niko Goodrum and Taylor Jones
Peña seems to be the consensus starting shortstop. Behind him, the infield depth would likely be Diaz and Goodrum — two infielders with experience at all positions around the diamond and innings in left field.
Jones adds depth at the corner infield positions, while another option for left field. If Houston needs another utility infielder, then Franklin Barreto, a non-roster invite, is the next-man up, providing major-league experience in a third utility man role similar to the journey of Robel Garcia in 2021.
Disclaimer: Jones’ injury report was announced after the publication of this article.
Outfielders: Michael Brantley, Yordan Alvarez, Kyle Tucker, Chas McCormick and Jose Siri
The centerfield job also looks to be a fringe case with Jake Meyers on the shelf, possibly on the 60-day. Lewis Brinson displayed some blunders on the base paths but turned heads with his ceiling this spring. The non-roster invite starts the season in Triple-A for my prediction, leaving the Astros with a McCormick and Siri platoon.
According to multiple reports, the Astros reassigned David Hensley and Korey Lee to minor-league camp Friday. Among other releases, the team let go minor-league outfielder Carmen Benedetti.