With the discussion about Carlos Correa on Thursday and expectations seemingly on the rise, this Free Blog Weekend, let’s take a look in the future.
Obviously, much will change over the next three springs, but even with pieces of the puzzle that are now in place or in the pipeline, the Astros may be setting Sports Illustrated up to look like prophets. Now, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, but even the worst cynic among us must drool to think of a lineup that includes Correa, Jose Altuve, George Springer, a productive Jon Singleton among others.
So, let’s a look forward today. It is a Free Blog Weekend, so the only rule is that if you quibble with my lineups and rosters — and you will — you must provide your own.
The depth chart in 2017.
You’ll notice there are no L.J. Hoes, Alex Presleys or other gap fillers on this roster. To be sure, it won’t fill out like this, but add in a couple of veterans and your roster is top-heavy with production unlike any time in recent history. And, don’t shout me down because your guy isn’t on my roster. The good news is that, by 2017, the Astros should have graduated to multiple choice instead of eeny, meeny, miny, mo.
- Catcher: Max Stassi, Hank Conger.
- First base. Singleton, A.J. Reed.
- Second base. Altuve, Tony Kemp.
- Shortstop. Correa, Lowrie, Ronald Torreyes–Joe Sclafani.
- Third base. Colin Moran, Lowrie.
- Outfield. Springer, Domingo Santana, Preston Tucker, Brett Phillips, Teoscar Hernandez.
- DH: Evan Gattis, Derek Fisher.
- Rotation: Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh, Mark Appel, Brett Oberholtzer–Josh Hader, Asher Wojciechowski.
- Bullpen: Fill in the blank.
You’ll notice that Chris Carter and Jason Castro aren’t on my long-term roster. Remember the bottleneck issues I presented last year. The Astros will be there by 2017, and players like Springer, Gattis, Keuchel, McHugh and others should be taking up salary room.
And, your starting lineup for opening day 2017.
Okay, you figure it out. Like this year, the Astros could still be searching for that penultimate leadoff hitter when 2017 comes around. Yes, I’m counting on Singleton figuring it out and prospects like Tucker and Santana living up to expectations.
- Correa SS.
- Altuve 2B.
- Springer CF.
- Gattis DH.
- Singleton 1B.
- Tucker RF.
- Moran 3B.
- Santana LF.
- Stassi C.
Roster flexibility means roster movement.
As many stood by in shock and watched, it only takes a few days to jumble and shuffle a roster, much less a lineup. Many players on the 2015 roster won’t be here in 2017. Heck, some won’t even last through 2015 and others will be gone by the 2016 trade deadline. Here’s a prediction of some of those players on the front lines of the current 40-man roster who won’t be part of the 2017 World Champion Houston Astros.
- Scott Feldman.
- Jake Marisnick.
- Brad Peacock.
- Luis Valbuena.
- Marwin Gonzalez.
- Matt Dominguez.
And, a few questions about the future.
- Will Jeff Luhnow and A.J. Hinch still be around in 2017?
- Which is the prospect most likely to bomb at the big league level: Singleton, Santana, Tucker, Appel or Moran?
- Who will be the ace of the pitching staff in 2017?
- Despite the SI cover story, what are the Astros’ chances of appearing in the 2017 World Series?
- Correa should clearly be the face of the Astros by 2017. Which other players will be in the “class” just below him?
- The Astros have three of the first 31 picks in this summer’s draft. Should or will they draft a college pitcher who could be in Houston’s rotation by 2017?