Three Astros Players Who Won't Make The Opening Day Roster But Will Contribute a Ton in 2023

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Ronel Blanco
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Ronel Blanco

Like Mushinski, Blanco debuted in 2022. His big league results were a little less impressive, posting a 7.11 ERA in seven appearances. Since then, Blanco has recorded the most dominant stretch of pitching in Dominican Winter League history.

He has continued to turn heads in Spring Training thus far, striking out seven across five innings with a 1.80 ERA. Dana Brown then opened more eyes across the city when he shared publicly that he thinks Blanco could be stretched out as a starter.

With as deep as the Astros bullpen is, that may not be a bad idea, especially if Lance McCullers Jr. doesn't bounce back as quickly as anticipated. Blanco could easily begin the year in AAA continuing to stretch out as a starter or length reliever before coming up a month or two into the season. He could even function in the role that Cristian Javier filled as a flex arm until Javier established himself as too dominant not to start.

Whether it's as a starter or reliever, look for Blanco to cement himself in 2023 as a big leaguer. Last year Bryan Abreu got over the hump and solidified himself as an Astros' arm of the future. I like Blanco to make a similar jump this season, even if it begins for him just up the road in Sugar Land.