5 Astros players taking the most advantage of 2024 spring training

The Astros have had some standout performers in spring training so far that many didn't see coming.
Houston Astros v Miami Marlins
Houston Astros v Miami Marlins / Megan Briggs/GettyImages
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Ronel Blanco

While there have been some sexier rotation contenders this spring, Ronel Blanco has quietly established himself as a favorite to win a spot right out of spring training. Blanco's 2023 season was pretty pedestrian as he posted a 4.50 ERA while walking too many guys in 17 appearances including seven starts. Spring training, however, has seen him separate himself from the rest of the Astros' pitchers in camp.

Through 7.2 innings this spring (the most of any Houston pitcher thus far), Blanco has yet to give up an earned run and has given up four hits and two walks against eight strikeouts. Could those numbers be a symptom of pitchers generally being ahead of hitters right now, combined with a small sample of short appearances? Perhaps, but Blanco was already contending for a rotation spot this spring and nothing he has done has hurt his case.

Joey Loperfido

Finally, we come to Joey Loperfido, who has had a ton of helium as a prospect over the last year or two. The Astros' seventh-round pick in the 2021 draft has quickly ascended the minor league ranks since joining the organization and is considered by many to be one of Houston's best position player prospects now. Now, Loperfido's strong camp has gotten the Astros' attention and he is firmly in the hunt for an Opening Day roster spot.

In six games this spring, Loperfido is slashing .400/.538/.500. One shouldn't draw too many conclusions from those numbers just yet, but he is clearly seeing the ball well at the plate. When you factor in comments made by Astros' personnel with his performance, it is clear that Loperfido has made a great impression in camp. That he has also survived the spring training roster cuts thus far also shows that Houston wants to see more of him this spring as well.

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