2 Houston Astros Playing Their Way Off the Opening Day Roster and 1 Playing His Way On
By Eric Treuden
Outfield prospect Justin Dirden is playing his way onto the Opening Day roster
The injury to incumbent left fielder Michael Brantley blew the door wide open for someone like Justin Dirden to swoop in and steal a spot on the Opening Day roster.
With Brantley sidelined for the foreseeable future after undergoing shoulder surgery, Dirden, 25, is in line to capitalize on the opportunity.
Dirden has made 14 spring appearances for the club so far, and has looked very impressive. He is seven-for-21 (.333 average) with two doubles, two home runs, 3 RBI and a stolen base, making at least one appearance at all three outfield positions as well. His ability to bounce all over the outfield and fill holes as needed will be extremely valuable for the Astros.
Currently ranked as the No. 9 prospect in the system per MLB.com, Dirden played 124 games last season split between Double-A and Triple-A, hitting a whopping 40 doubles alongside five triples and 24 home runs with a .302 batting average. He also drove in 101 runs and even stole 12 bases for good measure.
FanGraphs' Roster Resource projects the Opening Day outfield to be Chas McCormick, Jake Meyers and Kyle Tucker from left to right, with Dirden on the bench, but he should get plenty of playing time thanks to his ability to play all three spots on the grass at an above-average rate.