Grae Kessinger Will Join The Astros Today in Toronto
The Astros have finally decided to move on from their perplexing three catcher system. Grae Kessinger is being called up to The Show today. Houston will option César Salazar in the corresponding move.
We highlighted Kessinger back in the Spring after his surprising performance. Kessinger was picked in the 26th round out of high school before attending Ole Miss. The Astros picked him in the 2nd round in 2019. Kessinger hadn't strung together much success at the dish in his minor league career, hitting .210 with a .662 OPS in the minors. Kessinger managed to find something this spring, hitting .250 with two home runs, and walking five times to only four strikeouts. He posted a 1.000 OPS across 13 games.
His Spring Training success carried over to Sugar Land this season. In his first 52 career games at the AAA level, Kessinger hit .284 with an .843 OPS. He hit 10 doubles and six home runs, finishing with an .843 OPS that is even higher than what he posted in college.
The move brings an end to the Astros method of rostering three catchers. It never made much sense in the first place, limiting reps for their top prospect in Yainer Diaz. Dusty Baker proved reluctant to pinch hit for Martín Maldonado, so Salazar never came in much as a defensive replacement late in games.
Salazar hit .143 in the 10 games he played.
Kessinger will provide some needed depth for Houston. David Hensley had a nightmarish start to the season and was optioned to AAA, leaving Mauricio Dubón as the only depth infielder.
With Dusty Baker desiring an off-day for Alex Bregman, the Astros didn't have a way to afford a rest day for their third baseman with Altuve nursing an oblique injury, requiring Dubón to play second. Calling up Kessinger, who made 13 starts at third base in Sugar Land this season, will allow them to do just that.