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.

Corpus Christi Hooks v Amarillo Sod Poodles
Corpus Christi Hooks v Amarillo Sod Poodles / John E. Moore III/GettyImages
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Jacob Melton

The Astros' outfield situation is decidedly weird at the moment. Kyle Tucker isn't going anywhere and Chas McCormick's spot also appears safe given he's coming off a strong 2023 season. However, there have been a lot of mixed signals about Jake Meyers. One day, the team will talk about how much they value playing him reguarly. The next day, there are rumors that the team is looking for an outfield upgrade.

The easiest solution may be the correct one in this case. Meyers is not an impact hitter and the Astros have their top prospect, Jacob Melton, right there in camp waiting for an opportunity. He can hit, run, hit for power, and should be able to stick in center field as a quality defender if the Astros do decide to move on from Meyers. The only question is whether or not Houston wants to get him some more time in the upper levels of the minors before running him out there against big-league competition.

Colton Gordon

While Arrighetti is getting the bulk of the attention among the Astros' starting pitcher NRIs, people should not sleep on Colton Gordon this spring. While he had some issues with the long ball in 2023, Gordon struck out 151 batters in 128.1 innings between Double-A and Triple-A last season thanks to a quality four-pitch mix despite the fact that he doesn't throw overly hard. He does have a Tommy John surgery on his record from a couple years ago, but he has shown little sign of any long-term issues since recovering.

Gordon has a pretty strong case for consideration for the Astros' Opening Day roster if he pitches well this spring. For one, he's a lefty, and the only lefty starter Houston has on their 40-man is Framber Valdez. Given that his breaking stuff is uniquely strong against opposing lefty hitters, having him in the rotation could provide a lot of value. He also has a nice mix of pitches which should serve him well in spring training as hitters will struggle to time him up. He's probably behind Arrighetti in the rotation pecking order for now, but that could easily change.