Sunday ramblings: The right decision for Astros’ roster


Everyone knows that politics is involved in sports too. There are so-called business decisions. There are the saving face decisions. There are also the behind the scenes decisions that don’t make sense “in front” of the scenes.

All of that aside, here’s the way the Astros’ roster should line up beginning the 2015 season. After starting with 60 players only a few weeks ago, the Astros are down to 32 players left in camp.

The backup.

  • Both Hernandez and Wojo have pitched well enough to make the roster. Unfortunately, Brett Oberholtzer has dealt with a lat strain and has pitched only five innings, though he has thrown a minor league game and some back-field innings. Manager A.J. Hinch said recently he hoped Obie would be ready for the season and he could still make the cut since the team wouldn’t need him for another 10 days or so. Starting him on the DL and giving Hernandez and Wojo at least a start or two would allow Obie some extra time to heal and ramp up. It’s a long season. He is actually scheduled to pitch today. If he’s healthy and starts the season with Houston, the easy decision is Hernandez gets the fifth spot and Wojo starts in Fresno.
  • Singleton to AAA. I’ve already supported this in previous posts and comments. Singleton needs time at Fresno to fix his swing, his confidence and perhaps shore up some fielding. The Carter at first and Gattis at DH provide a better defense overall for the team, allowing an outfield of Springer, Marisnick and Rasmus/Grossman to team up.
  • Fields may start the season on the DL. In that case, Will Harris becomes the place holder.
  • All of this could change with trades or injuries in the next week. As you have seen, teams have been active on both fronts. Alex Presley, Gonzalez and even Hernandez could be trade targets.
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24 comments on “Sunday ramblings: The right decision for Astros’ roster

  1. Chip –
    This seems like the most likely way the roster will unfold. Hernandez has pitched very well the last few times out and is to me a no-doubter for the rotation. The Obie and Fields injuries could give Wojo a spot and Harris. I would like to see if they would give Hoyt, Fields spot – but they probably would not want to fiddle with the 40 man (unless they create a spot by trade).
    I am hopeful that this is a much improved overall team. The starting rotation has an opportunity to back slide with injuries, but still I expect it to be solid. The bullpen looks much better to me and there are more mlb bats in that lineup with 1/2 more season of Springer, Lowrie, Gattis, Valbuena and Rasmus and no Dominguez, Krauss, Singleton, Guzman and Hoes. They will miss Fowler, but he did miss 1/3 of the season.
    I am excited to see how Hinch uses his tools this season.

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    • Dan, it very possible they’ll decide to go with Obie. I’m a depth guy and this provides flexibility for the first couple of weeks and allows Obie to heal completely. Lat strains are some of the most difficult “healers” and often keep a player out weeks, if not months.

      If both Hernandez and Thatcher do make the roster, those are already two spots on the 40-man the Astros will have to clear. That’s why I believe Harris gets the spot.

      Without a trade or a 60-day DL — and there don’t appear to be any candidates for that — two guys will have to be moved off the 40-man. Hoes? Presley released/traded, lost on waivers trying to send him down?

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  2. I believe Luhnow screwed Singleton up by giving him the 10 million dollar contract before he stepped to the plate in the big leagues. Watching him last year and this spring, he just does not seem to be interested in playing very much. I feel Luhnow should have low balled Singleton and made him earn the contract by hitting big league pitching and conducting big league fielding. He could be a major league bust but a minor league superhero.

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    • Sarge, you could argue that, but I do believe it was/is a reasonable gamble in baseball metrics. Unless he’s traded, Singleton will be in Houston sooner than later. I honestly — crossing my fingers here — don’t believe he’ll flame out like Wallace. Time will tell.

      Remember, too, Singleton was not one of those high draft choices and didn’t get a big signing bonus. As I recall, it was about $250,000, so this was his reward for ranking high up on the charts for the past few seasons.

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      • Chip, I would enjoy Singleton having me eat crow! A stud first baseman clubbing 30+ homers, driving 95+ RBIs, and hitting 275+ all the while flashing great leather… bring it on!

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      • I think Luhow wasted 10 million on Singleton. At his age, he should know how to use a glove at first. He’s not gifted in that area and will not improve past the point of being somewhat of a liability. Will he hit? I fear we have another Towles on our hands.

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  3. I absolutely love your team! If Fields is hurt, I want to see Hoyt in his place. I would be so happy to see Grossman, Marisnick Rasmus, Gattis and Springer to be outfielders on this team and love the idea of both Villar and Marwin making it.
    I said before ST started that having four switch hitters on the bench was my ideal bench. And there is that bench. I just thought that fourth guy could be Sclafani, but Villar has had a good spring and he is on the bench, where he could be at his highest value.
    Singleton eliminating himself gives us seven potential outfielders and six infielders on our team and we still have a full array of pitchers.
    I like Hinch. I think the players like Hinch. I think the umps will like Hinch. I think the catchers like Hinch. I think Luhnow likes Hinch. This spring training has been amazingly organized. Let’s play ball!.

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  4. Astros assign Correa, Downs, Heineman, Hoyt, Petit, Buchanan, Dominguez and Stassi to minor league camp. Downs, Heineman, Hoyt and Petit will continue with the club for the remaining games as depth.

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    • Well, Dominguez plays himself onto the minor league team… good going. Hopefully he can rebound and become a serviceable major league player once again.

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  5. Don’t forget Deduno was slotted to be the long reliever, but competed for the last rotation spot. If they think Olberholtzer is about ready, but are concerned with his stamina, they could opt to tandem them the first few weeks.

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  6. Deduno is out of options, so unless they risked sending him through waivers…..
    Luhnow really wanted to keep him. Will Harris has shown me very little to win a spot in the bullpen. Hoyt, however has proved to be a pretty good gun slinger. Although it makes me sad, because I really, really like Matty D. he will more than likely be traded while he’s in Fresno. I wish him well if that happens…..maybe Luhnow could include the newly anointed out fielder…..VILLAR in that trade 🙂 🙂 🙂 JEEZE Chip
    let’s hope Singelton doesn’t get the Brett Wallace virus!

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    • Becky, as for Singleton, I believe he’s running out of time, especially considering that a couple of other folk will begin making their way toward Houston this season.

      As for Villar, in many ways, he’s been the story of spring training for Houston. I know you don’t want to hear that, but Villar seems to have accepted the challenge that Singleton, Dominguez and a few others did not. At the risk of you threateing to dye my hair purple, I’d like to see him have a good season, get 350 or so at bats and play several positions. Honestly, he could make Marwin expendable at some point this season.

      And, yes, Luhnow has liked Deduno since picking him up on waivers last August. Let him be the swing guy and that allows the others (Wojo, Straily et al) to focus on stretching it out and being ready in case someone goes down.

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    • a nice little group i saw at the armadillo a time or two. and yeah chip i think villar earned his way on this team, now lets hope he keeps it going.

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  7. On the bright side, the Astros are only getting bombed when Feldman pitches, and our new guys got all five hits today. Valbuena-2, Gattis-2, Lowrie-1. Apparently Feldman is working on locating all of his pitches, and right now they are located in Fresno, California.

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  8. Fellas……there is *NO* one that would LOVE to see Villar stop making stupid mistakes than me. I know I’m usually the party of one who has dogged him since last year……..but he was GAWD AWFUL at short. I’m willing to give the kid…..
    ONE MORE chance to show me he has the mental part of the game firmly planted in his brain. Villar……you’re on the clock. 🙂 🙂

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  9. In an interview with Jayne at WTHB, outfielder Jon Kemmer said LHP Tommy Shirley has looked real good this spring. I wonder why we never got a glimpse of the 26 year old pitcher. Kemmer said that Hader has been awesome so far this spring and also mentioned Kyle Westwood.

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  10. Ryan Ludwick got released by the Rangers. I figure since we all are feeling better about our outfield now, Luhnow will sign him to play LF, slide Rasmus to CF, and push Grossman and Marisnick to Fresno.

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