Most of the Astros Opening Day roster, especially when the team was fully healthy, was solidified going into camp. It comes with the territory of being the reigning champs. If you win a World Series, you're likely loaded.
Nobody was going to come into camp and take Jose Altuve's spot at second, Alex Bregman's at third or any of the other infielders. Kyle Tucker and Yordan Alvarez had a stranglehold on the corner outfield spots. The only real position battle was for the backup catcher spot between two of the Astros top prospects, Yainer Diaz and Korey Lee.
With Grapefruit League play concluded and only two exhibition games remaining before Opening Day, the Astros Opening Day roster will soon be set. When it is announced, expect to see Diaz on it.
Lee has had a great spring. He's posted an .828 OPS and has proven himself trustworthy behind the plate, receiving validation from the ace, Framber Valdez. If the ace is in your corner, you'll play with the big league club this year.
But with as many injuries as have afflicted Houston, it is Diaz that should get the call. The Astros #2 prospect still has some work before he would be an everyday catcher, but he can play left field in a pinch with Brantley still out, and his offseason work at first base has carried over into the spring. With Hensley and Dubon filling in for other injured Astros, Diaz could spell Abreu at first on rest day.
In addition to his versatility, he has hit the cover off the ball. Just yesterday, he hit a Grand Slam and drove in six runs in the Astros 24-1 shellacking of the Cardinals. His grand slam came off of established big leaguer Jack Flaherty. The kid can flat out hit.
His 3-3 day improved his slash line this spring to .325/.317/.575. Of his 13 hits, eight are for extra bases. His .892 spring training line is in line with his .868 OPS he has posted for his career in the minors.
The one area he could grow is in working walks, as he did not draw any this Spring and only has 75 for his career in 340 minor league games. If he can get that OBP a little higher, the Astros have an absolute weapon behind the dish for the next seven-to-eight years. Their window of contention may never close.
We'll see both Yainer Diaz and Korey Lee with the big league club throughout the season. But as they break camp, it is Diaz that should get the call to start in The Show.