2 Houston Astros Playing Their Way Off the Opening Day Roster and 1 Playing His Way On
By Eric Treuden
The Houston Astros are 10-9 entering Wednesday's game against the 9-13 New York Mets. The defending champions have dealt with a plethora of injuries to some of its key contributors including Jose Altuve, Michael Brantley and Lance McCullers Jr.
On the flip side of that, there are multiple parts of the everyday lineup that are struggling to get going at the plate including Martin Maldonado (.077 average) and Alex Bregman (.242 average).
Shifting over to the mound, Astros pitchers, who formed the game's best pitching staff last season, have mostly continued their dominance. However, pitchers like Jose Urquidy (6.75 ERA), Hunter Brown (5.00 ERA) and Shawn Dubin (15.00 ERA) have struggled mightily in the early goings of Spring Training.
Let's take a closer look at the Astros roster and come up with two players who are playing their way off of the Opening Day roster and one who is performing well enough to warrant a spot on the roster.
2 Astros playing their way off the Opening Day roster and 1 playing on
Mauricio Dubon is playing his way off of the Opening Day roster
The Mauricio Dubon slander is beginning to sound like a broken record at this point, but frankly, it is more than warranted. He is a weak hitter who hasn't performed well enough to guarantee a spot on the Opening Day roster.
As we inch closer and closer to the season opener, he'll need a hot streak at the plate to help his chances.
Acquired last year from the San Francisco Giants in exchange for a backup catcher, Dubon, 28, had a dreadful 56 OPS+ in 83 games for the Astros last year, meaning he was 44 percent below league-average with the bat. For a team with back-to-back championships in their sights, this is simply not going to cut it.
Sure, teams in contention don't need every single player on their active roster to be playing like All-Stars, but Dubon is simply not doing enough to stick around. He can bounce all over the diamond but with others on the 40-man roster like Joe Perez and David Hensley, you start to wonder where exactly Dubon fits.
So far in Spring Training, the Honduras native has appeared in 14 games for the Astros, going five-for-32 (.156 batting average) with just one extra-base hit and six strikeouts. Dubon likely will make the club in light of the Altuve injury, but with other utility players performing well behind him, it won't be a surprise if he's finally DFA'd once Jose returns from injury.