It is always a bit touchy to rank pitchers and everyday players together. Is a player who pitches every 5th day worth as much as a player who is on the field everyday? (Try removing Dallas Keuchel from the team last year and see if they make the playoffs or not).
But this is for fun, not serious brain surgery, so here is one shot at ranking the Astros’ players heading into Spring Training with a big guess at what the 25 man might look like.
- Carlos Correa. It is amazing that a player who has less than 100 games under his belt could be so impactful, but this 21 year old is special and the best hope for leading this team to the Promised Land. Considering what a step up he brings offensively over almost every other SS in the game – he is the Astros #1.
- Dallas Keuchel. Keuchel is the Astros 1a – he started 33 games last season and only in 3 starts did he give up 5 runs or more. So he gave the team a shot in almost every start last season and you can’t ask for more from a pitcher.
- Jose Altuve. The hitter who stirs the offense and stepped up his defense in working with youngster Correa.
- George Springer. The hope is that he will finally play enough games to totally realize all of his potential, because he had a lot of value in only partial seasons the last two years.
- Collin McHugh. The waiver wire pickup has been insanely valuable to the club as a strong #2 in the rotation.
- Lance McCullers Jr. He gave the Astros a solid 3rd man in the rotation and though he was one game under .500, a little more luck and more starts in 2016 should result in improvement.
- Colby Rasmus. Yes, he is probably not worth $15.8 million, but he showed that the heat of the September pennant race and the playoffs were not too big for him.
- Carlos Gomez. A healthy return to 2013 (24 HR and 40 SB) or 2014 (23 HR and 34 SB) would solidify the lineup and his value to the team.
- Ken Giles. Maybe it is wishful thinking, but the new likely closer could easily be very valuable with the numbers he could put up in 2016. Having a big arm in the bullpen is a big plus also.
- Luke Gregerson. He has value as a closer alternate, as a set-up man and as a veteran presence in the bullpen.
- Mike Fiers. He made 9 starts with the Astros and gave up 3 or less earned runs in 8 of those games. That is excellent value from a 4th or 5th starter.
- Jason Castro. Yes, he stunk offensively and did not even put up the solid RBIs from previous seasons, 31 last year after two seasons of 56 RBIs. But he stepped up his defense and was the main receiver for the pitching staff that led the AL in ERA.
- Marwin Gonzalez. Super-sub who can bat from both sides, play anywhere on the infield and even looked good in left field.
- Will Harris . He probably wore out a bit at the end of the season and ended on a bit of a sour note, but he was very dependable out of the pen against rightys and leftys for almost the whole season.
- Doug Fister. Mediocre and injured in 2015, but good to excellent in 2012-2014, this could be a great value addition for the Astros.
- Luis Valbuena. He brought a lot of value with his glove and could bring even more value with a better year at the plate.
- Tony Sipp. Tony probably belongs above here. Another waiver pickup like McHugh and Harris, who has been the only reliable lefty out of the bullpen the last two seasons.
- Evan Gattis. Your DH should be higher than this, but without playing somewhere in the field and without drawing walks, he floats towards the bottom.
- Pat Neshek. A healthy Neshek could end up much higher than this. He was tremendous in 2014 and a healed foot could allow him to be a great asset to the team.
- Scott Feldman. If Feldman wins the 4th or 5th spot in the rotation, flip him with Fiers or Fister, but otherwise he is likely just insurance or trade bait.
- Jon Singleton. This has been talked to death. If he repeats his last couple attempts at first base, he will be off this team by June. But if he could fulfill some of his former promise, he would be an unexpected surprise.
- Josh Fields. It is a deep bullpen, so Fields will probably be used situationally when Ks are needed or against rightys.
- Preston Tucker or Jake Marisnick. It is far more likely that JFSF will make this team than Tucker, just due to defense at all 3 OF positions and speed.
- Max Stassi or Tyler Heineman. The team needs a backup C and one of these two guys will likely be that person.
- Kevin Chapman or Wandy Rodriguez or (this space for rent). Filling out the bullpen.
Looking at things from top to bottom, this team has pretty good value especially on the pitching side deep into the roster. What are your thoughts about these rankings?