It’s the weekend and plenty of baseball in the air. With only a few days left in Kissimmee, manager A.J. Hinch says he’d like to clear up his roster questions by Wednesday. If that’s the case, those decisions could go right up to the deadline given some of the remaining battles and the injuries to some players.
Here are a few thoughts for you to ponder on your weekend.
Breakout star status
Dan O’Dowd identifies two Astros who could have breakout seasons in 2015. Yes, two. No, it’s not Jon Singleton or Jason Castro. The obvious pick is George Springer, who O’Dowd believes will be “…one of the most exciting players to watch all season.”
Then, in a surprise, the MLB columnist selects — are you ready for this? — Luis Valbuena as his sleeper pick to break out this season. In all the conversations on this blog, Valbuena is probably one of the least-mentioned names. Could it be Colin Moran is not actually the third baseman of the future for Houston?
Just day dreaming…
But what if the Astros had taken third baseman Kris Bryant instead? Bryant appears to be a huge, long-term asset (in Chicago) and could have answered a lot of questions at third base for Houston. As a side note, it is interesting that the Springer question of last season has now moved to Chicago relative to starting Bryant’s clock.
But here’s the day dreaming thought: Assume that Singleton becomes an above average first baseman. Imagine the infield of Singleton, Altuve, Carlos Correa and Bryant. For the next 10 years.
Sorta reminds you — and yes, it would be early to make comparisons — of the old Dodger infield of Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell and Ron Cey, who played together for nearly a decade. Just dreaming…
Working the bubble…
Early this month, I identified the locks, probables and bubble guys. Unlike previous seasons, this was a much easier process. And, as we near Hinch’s deadline for naming his roster, the bubble guys are, well, still bubble guys.
Revisiting with quick predictions:
- Jonathan Villar. In.
- Matt Dominguez. Out.
- Robbie Grossman. In.
- L.J. Hoes. Out.
- Alex Presley. In.
- Asher Wojciechowski. Out, for now.
- Roberto Hernandez. In, unless he crashes this weekend.
- Sam Deduno. In, as swing man in bullpen.
- Joe Thatcher. In.
The Rule 5 picks
Looks like Delino DeShields Jr. will be staying with the Rangers for a while longer. Obviously, the Rangers could need a spot on the 40-man roster at any point and offer the former Astros’ draftee back to Houston.
David Rollins, who was tagged with that 80-game suspension for PED use, will likely stick with the Mariners, at least through the suspension. He’ll have a lengthy opportunity after serving his time for extended spring training, etc. so Seattle will keep its options open.
Meanwhile, 22-year-old Jandel Gustave is with his fourth team since early December. He was grabbed by the Red Sox in the draft, then immediately traded to Kansas City, who waived him last week. The Padres picked him up, but likely won’t have a place for him on their roster.
There are three options:
- Offer him back to the Houston. I’m guessing the Astros would welcome that move.
- Put him on waivers again. He could be claimed by another club.
- Work out a trade with the Astros and assign him to their minor league system. This is not an uncommon move, though Gustave could prove to be an uncommon player.
As a reminder, Rule 5 draftees must stick on the club’s 25-man roster for the entire season or the team must offer him back to his original team.