3 Astros Opening Day roster decisions Houston will quickly regret

The Astros may not have gotten every one of their roster choices this spring right and some could have disastrous consequences.
Feb 26, 2024; Lakeland, Florida, USA; Houston Astros pitcher Spencer Arrighetti (75) pitches during
Feb 26, 2024; Lakeland, Florida, USA; Houston Astros pitcher Spencer Arrighetti (75) pitches during / Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

Opening Day for the Houston Astros is coming up fast, and most of their roster is pretty much set. With spring training in the rearview mirror finally, we can now set our eyes on the games that actually count, with the opening series against the Yankees starting Thursday being first up.

However, before we get to the regular season, it is fair to wonder whether or not all of the choices the Astros made during spring training were the right ones. While most of Houston's roster was pretty set in stone from the moment they entered camp (including at one outfield spot where there probably SHOULD have been a competition), they did have some real choices to make with regards to their rotation, bullpen, and bench that seem to be settled now that the dust has settled from camp.

Now, whether those choices will prove to be wise is another matter entirely. Here are some of the Astros roster decisions that could turn out to be blunders pretty early on in the 2024 season.

Astros carrying Jon Singleton doesn't move the needle at all

Look, we know that Jose Abreu isn't exactly known for his durability at this point, and that is a fair concern. Coming off a season where his back made him borderline unplayable for the first half of 2023, Houston should have a gameplan in place to try and keep him healthy while also getting production at first base. However, why that gameplan includes carrying Jon Singleton is anybody's guess.

The prevailing wisdom has been that Singleton's lack of minor-league options has given him a leg up in the roster race. The problem with that is ... are there really a lot of teams clamoring to snatch up Singleton and his career 75 wRC+ right before the season? There are still aging bats without jobs right now, and Singleton hasn't given any indication this spring that he is all of a sudden going to turn into an actual threat at the plate again. Worst-case scenario, you bring him back on a minor-league deal and stash him on the farm in case of an emergency.

If we existed in a world where the DH didn't exist, then carrying a lefty bat with raw power in Singleton would be fine as a pinch hitter. As things stand, the Astros would be better off giving Abreu's off days to a rotating cast of actual hitters (Grae Kessinger, Victor Caratini, and Yainer Diaz all have experience at first) instead of hoping that Singleton accidentally runs into one pitch a month while wasting a roster spot.

The Astros rotation would be better off with Spencer Arrighetti on it

This one is a bit more nuanced, because Houston had a really weird spring when it came to starting pitching. Justin Verlander got a delayed start due to a shoulder injury, as did JP France, and they had some guys perform better than expected this spring in Ronel Blanco and Hunter Brown. However, it is hard not to wonder if the Astros would be in better shape going with a six-man rotation early in the season that included Spencer Arrighetti.

Arrighetti would give the rotation some needed upside and protection against any other injuries flaring up. Going with six hurlers would build in some extra off days for guys the team will need to be fresh in the second half. On top of that, if someone faltered early and a swingman was needed, both Blanco and Brown would fit the bill nicely there. It would be an arrangement that would require careful management by everyone involved, but it might have been the best option.

Ultimately, Houston decided not to start Arrighetti's service clock and go with the traditional five-man rotation, while hoping that the current crop of middle relievers can withstand some heavy usage early. That probably means good things when it comes to how quickly we can expect Justin Verlander to return, but that doesn't mean it was the best option available to Houston in the meantime.

Houston committed to playing Jake Meyers too soon

Finally, we come to the greatest hits portion of our list in Jake Meyers. Meyers has been a popular topic here, and his early spring training hot streak resulted in a necessary mea culpa. However, Meyers' cold streak late in spring training -- combined with *gestures wildly at his last two seasons* -- suggests that the Astros may have committed to having him start in center every day far too early on.

Meyers put together a nice little run this spring, but that has done little to quell fears that his bat may never show up again. As good as his defense in the outfield is, his 81 wRC+ over the last two seasons puts him just one point better than the ghost of Tim Anderson and tied with the ghost of Jean Segura. For those keeping track at home, that is not a guy you want in the lineup every day on a team with World Series aspirations.

The worst part is that if Houston hadn't jumped the gun and basically anointed Meyers before camp started, a better option would have presented itself. Joey Loperfido clearly played well enough to make the team, and it doesn't take a lot of imagination to think that a lineup with Loperfido in it is a lot better than one where Meyers exists as a free out every nine batters. We fully expect Meyers to go on a torrid streak to start the season now that these words are out in the universe, however, so you are welcome in advance.

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