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
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Joey Loperfido

One thing that the Astros could really use this coming season is positional versatility. Mauricio Dubon is great, but he's just one man, and having a couple guys that can move around the field could be a huge boon for a team that has some older guys who could use a break every now and again to protect against injuries. Given the Astros' outfield situation, one option that could both address the outfield and provide some flexibility is Houston prospect Joey Loperfido.

In addition to the fact that Loperfido has consistently hovered around a .900 OPS at the plate the last two seasons in the minor leagues, he's also plenty capable of playing all three outfield positions (although ideally he would be in a corner) and has some experience at second base. He hits for power and can steal bases. If the Astros want to mix and match lineups with their outfield or build in days off for Jose Abreu or Jose Altuve (the former of which will absolutely need some time off), carrying Loperfido on the Opening Day roster could be the play.

Wander Suero

Finally, we come to the bullpen portion of the NRI list. Predicting reliever performance in spring training is usually a total crapshoot. Guys coming off strong seasons turn back into pumpkins all the time, and others who were hanging on for dear life in Indy ball can all of a sudden turn into All-Star bullpen arms. However, one particularly interesting name that the Astros signed this offseason is Wander Suero.

Is Suero going to come out of nowhere and become a prime high-leverage reliever for Houston? Probably not. He hasn't had a good season in MLB since 2020 and even had to pitch in the Mexican League in 2022 before landing with the Dodgers on a minor-league deal last year.

However, his strikeout rate in Triple-A was very promising and he's historically done a good job of limiting hard contact. Given that what the Astros really need for their bullpen is a guy that can cover some innings, Suero has the experience to potentially get the nod.

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