Predicting the Astros Opening Day Roster: Utility Edition
Opening Day is officially less than two weeks away, and we’re ready to make some predictions on the Astros Opening Day roster. Some position battles are yet to be decided, but we’ll give it a shot at predicting who comes out on top.
Houston brings a loaded lineup and pitching staff into the 2023 season, but they will be down Lance McCullers Jr. and likely Michael Brantley when the season begins. A few players will make the Opening Day roster that likely won’t be on it once LMJ and Uncle Mike return.
Of course, some names may not make it that deserve to, either because a less talented player is kept for contractual/option purposes, or so an arm can be stretched out as a depth starter in AAA.
First we took a look at which infielders should make the roster. Then we dove into the outfield. Now we take a look at the two utility players that will make the roster: David Hensley and Mauricio Dubon.
Now this series is predicting who will make the roster, not arguing who should.
David Hensley will be a utility man on the Opening Day roster, and he should be. In a very small big league sample size, Hensley hit .345 with a 1.027 OPS last year. He did this after posting an .898 OPS in AAA. He even picked up two hits in the World Series.
This Spring, Hensley is hitting .286 with two home runs and a .946 OPS.
Hensley can play all of the infield spots and can man left field. His ability to get on base and string together quality at-bats while playing five positions make him indispensable.
Mauricio Dubon will make the roster, but he shouldn't. While Hensley can't play center and Dubon can, the return of healthy Jake Meyers renders this a moot point. Dubon hit .214 last season with a .565 OPS.
In 23 spring training at-bats, he's been worse, hitting .217 with a .511 OPS, on only one extra-base hit.
Dubon will make the roster, but once Brantley and McCullers are healthy, unless he finds something in his swing and can start stringing together at-bats, Houston would be well-suited to DFA him.
Dubon can play elsewhere, but the reigning champs are deep with talent like Justin Dirden and Ronel Blanco earning big league roster spots. They need only one utility player, and Hensley fills that spot well.
While the Astros will have two utility players on the roster to begin the season, something is amiss if they end the season in the same boat.