The Houston Astros lone surprise with the announcement of their ALDS roster came with the news that Kendall Graveman wouldn't make it. Graveman had been battling shoulder issues for a while, and he wasn't going to be ready to go in time for the series, but there was hope he would be back for the ALCS.
The Astros have announced their roster for the ALCS.
Dusty Baker said yesterday that Graveman wasn't going to make the roster for this series either, explaining that his shoulder simply had not improved.
The loss of Graveman could be more impactful in a series against a lineup as potent as the Rangers, but the Astros still have quite a bullpen edge over Texas.
With Graveman still down, in a somewhat surprising move, the Astros didn't just roll over their roster from the ALDS, but made a change as Jake Meyers has been left off of the Astros ALCS roster, and has been replaced by Ronel Blanco.
The addition of Blanco does make some sense. In a seven game series, the Astros could need another arm to provide length, especially if they were to fall behind big in a game. Blanco could fill the role of a Jake Odorizzi or Wade Miley in previous playoff seasons.
Meyers being off the team is somewhat surprising. His 29.2 ft/second sprint speed is in the 92nd percentile according to Statcast, and his nine outs above average are in the 96th percentile.
The inclusion of Jon Singleton and Grae Kessinger over Meyers is an interesting choice. Yes, Singelton is a left-handed bat, but he has incredibly reverse splits. Singleton is terrible against right-handed pitchers, hitting .130 with a .402 OPS. Would you really pinch hit him late in a game against a flame-throwing righty?
Grae Kessinger is a better offensive player than Singleton, but he doesn't carry one specific tool that can win you a playoff game as a late sub the way Meyers can with both his speed and defense.
Now, if the ALCS comes down to Jake Meyers, Ronel Blanco, or Jon Singleton, something has gone wrong in Houston and they simply haven't handled their business. Still, an interesting personnel move nonetheless.