Astros got it right by sending Joey Loperfido back to the minors

Joey Loperfido is going to help the Astros soon, but Opening Day 2024 was too soon.
Houston Astros v Miami Marlins
Houston Astros v Miami Marlins / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

The talk of spring training for the Houston Astros without question has been the play of Joey Loperfido. The Astros have had several standout performers in camp including Mauricio Dubon, Alex Bregman, Spencer Arrighetti, Kyle Tucker, Ronel Blanco, and others, but Loperfido may have been the one guy that helped his stock the most.

It isn't like Loperfido came out of nowhere. MLB Pipeline has him as the Astros' sixth-ranked prospect and his numbers the last two seasons already had people talking. However, after putting up a 1.076 OPS in 18 games this spring and being praised by Houston's coaches and, well, everybody, Loperfido has quickly become the prospect to keep an eye on.

Unfortunately for him, Loperfido didn't do quite enough to convince the Astros to carry him on the Opening Day roster, but that has more to do with the state of the Astros roster than anything else.

Astros News: Joey Loperfido send down to minor leagues

Nothing that Loperfido did or didn't do matters in this calculation. The guy absolutely raked in spring training and you will struggle to find any Astros coach or teammate who thinks he wouldn't be able to cut it in the big leagues.

The problem is with the state of the Astros' roster. While Loperfido technically can play in the infield, it is almost guaranteed that his future in the majors is in the outfield. Being an infielder wouldn't have helped him much in 2024 anyway as Bregman, Peña, Altuve, and Abreu are pretty entrenched at the moment.

In the outfield, it feels like Loperfido's fate was sealed as soon as Houston made the decision to keep Jake Meyers. Kyle Tucker is an absolute stud and isn't going to get displaced unless he walks in free agency, gets traded for a haul, or gets hurt. Chas McCormick is more replaceable, but he was really good in 2023, and giving Loperfido playing time at his expense seems like a bit of a waste. With the commitment to Meyers, when would Loperfido even play?

When you factor the Astros' clogged roster on the position player side along with the fact that Loperfido isn't on Houston's 40-man roster, it was always going to be an uphill for him to make the roster right out of the gate. Now, if Meyers falters or if somebody is going to be out for a while, then you can fully expect Houston to think long and hard about finally giving him a shot.

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