On several occasions over the past several months, I’ve suggested the Astros are in such a position they could add a player each month already in the system who could improve the team.
We’re approaching another mile marker.
The Astros added George Springer on April 16, then Jon Singleton on June 3. Yes, there have been a handful of others, many who have chalked up frequent flyer miles between OKC and Houston. But we’re talking major additions, players who are game changers.
So far, Springer and Singleton are the only two internal additions who fit that bill, unless you want to include Collin McHugh (April 22).
But as June ends, the time for another addition approaches. The question is: Is there another game-changer on the horizon?
Here are the leading candidates:
Domingo Santana. .303/.382/.505. He’s on the 40-man and quickly reaching a point of “what else can he learn in OKC that he can’t learn in Houston?” With patience running out on players like Chris Carter and even L.J. Hoes and Alex Presley, how much longer can Jeff Luhnow hold him back?
Austin Wates. .292/.379/.372. Not as many AAA AB’s as Santana, but he could be another OF-in-waiting. Probably not the “July guy”, but could be an addition in August/September.
Nick Tropeano. He’s had about as many appearances at OKC as he did in the rookie league and both levels of Class A. Looks solid as his BAA (.191) and WHIP (0.96) indicate. He’s not on the 40-man, but the Astros could fix that easily. It may be time for some fresh blood in the rotation or in the pen.
Asher Wojciechowski. Likely an option at some point — perhaps August — but unlikely to be the next difference-maker. He is also on the 40-man roster and there are those among us who’d just as soon see him running in from the pen as you know who.
There are some mitigating factors that could impact a July callup for an OKC game-changer.
Injuries. This is an area that has plagued the team all year. Dallas Keuchel‘s missed start on Saturday is the latest in a series of even short-term misses.
At some point, the shuffling will cease and Luhnow will find himself taking one more step. And that means the addition of one more piece to the long-term solution.
Who’s the next logical, most ready difference-maker?