5 Astros spring training NRIs who could steal Opening Day roster spots

The Astros have several intriguing competitions unfolding down at spring training this year.

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One of the best parts about spring training is monitoring any competition for spots on the Opening Day roster. While the Houston Astros are pretty loaded throughout their roster heading into the 2024 season, there does appear to be some uncertainty at a few positions which could lead to a very interesting camp.

The back end of the rotation is very unsettled and there could be even more opportunity there if Justin Verlander and/or JP France are not ready to start the season. Houston may be talking a big game about the current state of their outfield, but finding another player that can provide more value at the plate seems like a good idea. There are also a couple of spots in the bullpen up for grabs even with Forrest Whitley being a favorite to get one of them.

Adding some intrigue, the Astros are bringing in a lot of competition this spring from their group of non-roster invitees. In addition to the usual vets signed on minor league deals trying to prove themselves in camp, Houston has a lot of well-seasoned prospects down at spring training that could force their way into some of these competitions.

With that in mind, here is a look at some of the non-roster invitees that could make a real push for an Opening Day roster spot. For the uninitiated, no players who are currently on the Astros' 40-man roster are eligible, so you can save your angry emails when you see that guys like Whitley and Kenedy Corona are not represented.

Spencer Arrighetti

Topping the list when it comes to both opportunity as well as talent is Spencer Arrighetti, who has all the ingredients of a guy that could impress down at spring training. He has plenty of experience pitching in the higher levels of the minors, multiple pitches in his fastball and slider that miss bats, and the prospect pedigree to start off being on Houston's radar from the jump. Not too shabby for a sixth-round pick at all.

At the moment, Arrighetti is probably THE starting pitching prospect that has the best chance of making the Opening Day roster. He has come into camp motivated, and those who cover the Astros are already predicting he could force the Astros' hand with a strong camp. If Houston loses faith in Jose Urquidy/Hunter Brown or if Verlander and/or France start the season on the IL, Arrighetti's name is one to circle assuming he shows progress with his command.