Astros 2016 spring training: Who really has a shot?


The Astros have gotten off to a strong 6-2 start in games that don’t matter and so far in the 2016 Spring Training season they have utilized 33 position players and a whopping 29 pitchers. That is great, except for the probability that the team will break camp with 13 position players and 12 pitchers.

A good way to look at this mass of humanity is to break the players down into 4 categories, Locks, FFAS (Fighting for a Spot), FTBFMU (Fighting to be first man-up), WTNY (Wait ‘Til Next Year) and JBs (Just Bodies). Just for clarity, the assumptions are that Evan Gattis will start the season on the DL and no one else is injured between now and then.

Locks

  • Carlos Correa
  • Jose Altuve
  • George Springer
  • Carlos Gomez
  • Colby Rasmus
  • Luis Valbuena
  • Jason Castro
  • Marwin Gonzalez
  • Dallas Keuchel
  • Collin McHugh
  • Lance McCullers Jr.
  • Doug Fister*
  • Mike Fiers*
  • Scott Feldman*
  • Ken Giles
  • Luke Gregerson
  • Will Harris
  • Tony Sipp
  • Pat Neshek
  • Josh Fields

*  It could be argued that only 2 of these 3 will make the team, but the assertion here is that if healthy all 3 of these pitchers will be on the team in the 4th, 5th and swing spots for the staff.

FFAS (Fighting For a Spot) – There are 5 spots left – 1B, DH (if Gattis is not ready), backup C and two more bench players – most likely an IF and an OF. If the team does not enter the season with the 6 SPs mentioned above either by injury or trade, there could be room for a LOOGY.

  • Jon Singleton
  • Tyler White
  • A.J. Reed
  • Matt Duffy
  • Max Stassi
  • Tyler Heineman
  • Preston Tucker
  • Jake Marisnick
  • Kevin Chapman
  • Wandy Rodriguez
  • Neal Cotts

FTBFMU (Fighting to Be First Man Up) – Players with major league experience or minor leaguers who are on the cusp of getting called up.

  • Colin Moran
  • Danny Worth
  • Michael Feliz
  • Joe Musgrove
  • Andrew Aplin
  • Jon Kemmer
  • Joe Sclafani
  • Nolan Fontana
  • James Hoyt
  • Chris Devenski
  • Brad Peacock
  • Dan Reynolds
  • Dan Straily
  • Tony Kemp
  • Asher Wojciechowski
  • Brady Rodgers
  • Jordan Jankowski
  • Alfredo Gonzalez
  • Roberto Pena

WTNY (Wait ‘Til Next Year) – Players who likely require a little more seasoning at a higher minor league level, though Correa, Tucker and McCullers may have shown that the organization will do what it needs to do with preemptive promotions.

  • Alex Bregman
  • Jandel Gustave
  • Juan Minaya
  • Brendan McCurry
  • J.D. Davis
  • Teoscar Hernandez
  • Derek Fisher
  • David Paulino

JB (Just Bodies) – Folks with MLB experience who are not going to make the team and not likely to be the first men up.

  • Jake Buchanan
  • Eury Perez
  • Edwar Cabrera
  • Cesar Valdez

For the readers….

  • Do you agree with the groupings? What would you change?
  • Who do you think will win those last few spots?
  • Who do you think will be considered the first men up in case of need?

 

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89 comments on “Astros 2016 spring training: Who really has a shot?

  1. Great post, Dan.
    Based on what I’ve seen thus far Kemmer needs to be moved down to the wait until next year category.
    Who do I think will win the last few spots? Tucker, Stassi, Duffy and Marisnick are my favorites, with Singleton and White having the next best chance.
    First men up would be Worth in the infield, Aplin in the outfield, Gonzalez behind the plate and Hoyt in the bullpen.
    I would like Wandy to be the first up starter, but I think another team would give him a try, especially in the NL. So I say Wojo and Peacock might get first shot there.

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  2. So, my first comment is what I would count on from the Astros. But based on what I have seen, my best team to put on the field would be:
    Altuve 2B
    Correa SS
    Springer RF
    Reed 1B
    White DH
    Rasmus LF
    Gomez CF
    Valbuena 3B
    Castro C
    Bench: Duffy, Marwin, Stassi, Marisnick
    Rotation: The Beard, the Doctor, the Kid, McFister, Fiers
    Bullpen: Feldman, Fields, Sipp, Neshek, Gregerson, Giles, Harris.

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    • I would like to see Reed begin the season at 1b also, but I’m sure he will come up as Springer did when the economics and control favor the Astros. Did you, Dan and everyone see yesterdays article in the crawfish boxes concerning Reed? It mentioned his success everywhere, but expressed that his lack of bat speed could possibly catch up to him with MLB pitching. I wonder how his bat speed compares to others like Duffy, White, Singleton and others. Duffy by the way seems impressive to me.

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      • I didn’t see the article, but I disagree with the bat speed issue. He looks to me to have great bat speed when the barrel is in the zone. Great wrists! I think they are missing the fact that he will delay his swing just enough to go to the open side of the field, as they had extreme shifts on him all last year.
        I think his barrel speed in the zone is on purpose and he is going to feast in the Crawford Boxes and line singles to left if they keep shifting him. Reed is a really smart guy and he has a plan at the plate.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The fact that Luke Gregerson has not thrown even one pitch in a live ST game yet has me somewhat concerned that he might not be ready by opening day. He will have to field hid position, cover 1st on balls hit towards first, back up the play at the plate, and labor under extreme stress. If he reinjures himself before the season starts or is just obviously not ready [DL or rehab assignment to start the year], Michael Feliz – or Hoyt – might be the best option to start the season with the big club.

    Most likely to be traded by the F.O. before the season starts: 1. Preston Tucker; 2. Scott Feldman, 3. Tony Kemp; 4. Wojo. 5. Matt Duffy. I think they would trade Singleton if they could, but he obviously has whiffed, popped up, and eaten his way to complete untradability at this point.

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  4. Concerning Reed’s bat speed, I’ve seen him face Aaron Nola from LSU when no one in college baseball could figure out Nola. Reed was one of the few Kentucky players that could barrel up on the ball and kept Kentucky from being hitless.

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  5. Right now I’m comfortable with what ever the FO decides to do, with Singleton being the exception. It’s time to move on.
    I’m really impressed with White. Loving watching the kids play.

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  6. I’m not so sure if Gregerson is a lock for health reasons. But, assuming he is, I think Fields might be the next un-lock guy. I could see the club wanting a second lefty In the pen, and that might be at Fields expense. Which lefty? Not Wandy, because he’s not real good at getting lefties out. I’d guess Cotts, based on his .186 BA against lefties and his .573 OPS against them last season.

    My five (actually six if Cotts is in there) spots would be Marisnick (the one automatic in this category), Stassi, Duffy, White (assuming Gattis opens on the DL) and either Tucker or Singleton. I think the club really wants to have a lefty bat at first but not rush Reed into the role. So Singleton will continue to get every chance to lose the job. But if he keeps at screwing up his shot so effectively, and it is determined that Tucker can hold his own around the bag, then Tucker will get the nod.

    Hard to even take a stab at who might be first up, because we don’t know who will get hurt first or stink up the joint the most. But I’m not so convinced that Worth is suddenly a factor. He’s quite polished out on the field, but he’s 30 years old and comes with Tommy Manzella type offensive numbers on his resume. So my first guy up is going to be Gattis. Is that cheating?

    I’ll deal with next year next year. But 1OP, I agree that Kemmer only ends up in Houston if he has a big year in AAA and we have a bad year for outfield injuries,

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  7. Great posts, I have to agree Reed, White, and Duffy all have been impressive with a lot on the line for them! I wish they could figure out what to do with Kemp. he just looks and plays like a gamer, make things happen guy.

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  8. First, I see no reason this fine article needed to stay “two days in the can.” 🙂

    Second, Heineman has to be WTNY because Stassi and Gonzalez are both on the 40 man. There are a few on the FTBFNU that I would move to JBs, but no need to be cruel. And there is one in the FFAS that could be moved to JB. He could also count as two JB, but again, no need to be cruel.

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  9. I’ve been busy this morning so it is fun catching up on comments:
    – old pro – I would love to see them start the season with that 25 man roster – not sure if the FO sees it that way.
    – Larry – funny to me about Reed and bat speed. I have spent too much time the last few years watching the Singletons and Carters and others swing plenty fast, but at the wrong time and the wrong location.
    – Mr. Bill – have to agree that the farther they go into March without Gregerson throwing in a game , the more likely that he may start the season on the DL. And I have to think that Hoyt or Feliz may be the next man up there.
    – Sandy – The tact the team takes on Singleton will be very telling. I don’t see him tradeable at this point (if he is they need to give Luhnow the Anne Sullivan Miracle Worker award). So….they could keep him on the team even though he doesn’t deserve it. They could send him to AAA as insurance, but also probably blocking someone. They could let him go and eat the rest of the bucks on his contract.
    – daveb (uncknuck) – On my first draft I had Marisnick as a lock and Fields fighting for a position (and I also had Marwin written down twice – what a versatile guy) – so I can’t argue that they don’t already have JFSF as a lock or Fields on the outside.
    – Kevin – isn’t it just great to have a playoff team that has so much young talent knocking on the door? Spring is great!
    – ac45 – wasn’t this post worth the wait?

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  10. It feels so weird today, because the Astros are normally done with their ST games by this time of day – but we are waiting for their “twilight” game with the Nats.
    Marisnick CF
    Moran DH
    A, Gonzalez SS
    Rasmus RF
    Duffy 3B
    Tucker LF
    Singleton 1B
    Stassi C
    Fontana 2B
    and….
    McHugh on the mound

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  11. I’m watching the game. Can anyone figure out who the Nationals are playing? Apparently there is only one team on the field today.
    Oh yeah, the team in blue and orange was eliminated from the playoffs last year by the Jays. I just want to chew my own ears off, but I can’t reach them.
    The only reference I have heard to an Astros player is that our third baseman is not the third baseman of the Giants.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We all assume Reed would be a June addition if our 1B situation worsens, but it wouldn’t shock me to see Moran jump the spot. The problem is that Valbuena is a better defensive 3B, so decisions would be made and someone would play out of position.

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  12. It’s only the 10th of March, but Singleton is doing a spectacular job at playing his way out of Houston. Another week of this and he might be sent packing early in order to give the other guys more opportunities to win the job.

    Earlier today I called Jake a lock. And he might be opening the door a crack for Andrew Alpin.

    This is almost more fun than the regular season.

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  13. No bases on balls in a 9 inning spring training game for either team. A rarity. Astros win that game with not one projected position starter in the field, unless you consider Singleton a starter. Nationals had 5 or 6 of their regulars in there.
    That was a nice win.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks old pro – Luhnow is skating around a number of questions, but there is some info there between the lines. If I were Jon Singleton I would be worried. If he is not hitting after 30 games he could be making a lot of money but riding the bus. And the notion that Jon might not care tells you more than anything else about the situation.

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      • Dan, I’ve wondered whether or not Singleton really cares for some time now. That’s why I did not understand the 10 million. Was that supposed to motivate?

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      • The $10M was paid based upon potential. It hasn’t worked out, but the Astros have more than made up for it with the Altuve contract. You win some and you lose some, but overall I think Luhnow and the Astros are ahead in these deals.

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  14. A few thoughts –
    – Old pro – really have enjoyed watching Moran play – I think it has been you and daveb singing his praises and I was more a skeptic. He somehow scored when the throw beat him by a huge margin, just by getting the catcher all feinted out on direction. Has a nice stroke too.
    – Noticed that Appel was designated to the minor league camp by the Phillies so I am guessing that he is still not impressing.
    – When White, Reed and Moran come up to the plate – I expect a good at bat and that is what I am seeing.
    – Tucker seems to have caught Singleton disease
    – YIE (Yes its early) – but between the 6 pitchers vying for the 5 SP spots – Fister has given up 1 run in 5 IP and the other 5 have given up none.
    – Goofy listen to the Nats announcers on the mlb broadcast – at least realize that your broadcast is going nationwide and talk a little bit about the other squad.

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    • Dan, he made plays at 3B yesterday. Moran offers the Astros something they don’t currently have: a lefty bat that is capable of hitting for average that they could use somewhere in the top three to break up the all-RH bats they have there. We saw yesterday what he accomplished last season. With a runner on third and one out and the infield drawn in, he laced a shot past the 2B for an RBI single. With no one on earlier, he went oppo field for a great single and rode home on Marwin’s homer.
      The year he was drafted, he had the best pure hitting tool in that draft. Now, he’s growing up.
      This morning, the Astros sent Bregman, Davis, Fisher and Kemmer to minor league camp. They will send more down on Monday, I think.

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      • He was also a year younger than most draft eligible juniors that year. He had a great approach as a freshman and never saw a pitcher who overmatched him…including two seasons of conf play against Carlos Rodon.

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    • Have to admit DSN, I was initially on the fence re Moran. But I’m becoming more and more sold on the guy. As 1OP notes, we really need a lefty bat that will hit for average. We don’t need 25 homers out of him. I’d be pleased with an .800 OPS one day soon from third base.

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  15. Stop the presses. Check your pulse. Someone posing as Jose Altuve just let four pitches go by at which he did not swing the bat. He is now standing on first base. Is that what that elusive thing from a bygone era called a ‘base on balls’ looks like?

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    • It is easier to score runs when Altuve’s .267 BA is the 7th highest in the starting lineup and guys like White and Reed are helping to flip the lineup over.

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      • They are singling and doubling and walking the Detroit pitchers to death. Correa three hits, Altuve three walks, White two hits. 10-4 Astros top of the sixth. Astros are 5 for 12 with RISP. And these are major league pitchers(Lowe and Rondon) they are hitting against.
        For us, Feldman gave up two runs, Giles gave up a solo homer and Sipp gave up a run , but retired Cabrera and VMart with RISP to get out of a jam.

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  16. Moran doubled with one out in the sixth, but White struck out and Singleton pinch hit for Reed and fouled out to the catcher. Still 10-4 Astros going to the seventh. Peacock coming in to pitch.

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  17. Singleton is definitely playing himself out of consideration for making the opening day team. He just looks lost and over-matched and we are still early in spring training. At this point I will be shocked if he makes the team and I am open to them just waiving him to open up another 40-man roster spot. If he is claimed so be it, but if no one claims him then they can remove him from the 40-man roster and send him to AAA (I believe he is out of options, but I could be wrong).

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      • If it came down to Carter or Singleton, I might be able to understand what is happening. But there are several others that did just as well or better in the minors than Big Jon. Yes, he can hit the ball 500 feet, but in the end, consistency should win out.

        I am not sure either, Tim, but I think he would become a free agent and available for any team to sign him.

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      • I don’t recall him getting waived last year. However, by waiving him this year it can open up a 40-man roster spot. At this point I am ready to abandon the Singleton Experiment and give Duffy, White and Reed their opportunity. All 3 have looked good this spring.

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  18. By the way, I know it is still early in S.T., but Colby Jack is picking up right where he left off in 2015, which is raking the baseball. If he continues like this into the season I think it is going to be a great year for our beloved local nine.

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  19. Here’s an interesting stat. The Astros are hitting .260 as a team this spring and their opponents are hitting .260 against the Astros. Yet, their record is 8-2. The Astros do have the second lowest ERA in baseball this spring, just behind the Rays.

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  20. Mr. Valbuena…meet Mr. Moran, he will be occupying 3rd base after June, when we trade you, Jon Singelton, and Brad Peacock to the Brewers for Mr. Jacob Nottingham, or Jonathan Lucroy. Impressive win today….think Rasmus has found a home hitting clean up! White and A.J. Reed are really trying to make up Luhnow’S mind who gets to start the season at 1st base. I would be fine with either one right now, they both can knock the leather off the ball. Nice to see Paulino bounce back and get the final three outs this afternoon!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I hope someone takes a picture of Rasmus wearing his new Red Velveeta suit when the team goes to New York to start the season!! I gotta see this!!

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  22. I’ve watched every game that has been offered on tv so far.
    What has spring training told me about Tyler White?
    1. White is trying to show he can hit MLB pitching. He has ignored the BB because everyone already knows he has a good eye through his MILB stats. He knows the only way he makes the team is if he hits.
    2. White is getting more comfortable at 1B. He seems smooth and efficient around the bag and his past playing the hot corner at 3B is making first base easier for him.
    3. He is hitting major league pitchers.
    4. Strikeouts don’t bother him, he comes back with a hit the next time up.
    5. Pitchers are challenging him now, and he is winning. They will start moving the ball around and then he will start walking.
    5.White’s power is in his contact, not in his effort. He will hit homers because he makes good contact and he is strong enough to get the ball out without overswinging, and he refuses to overswing because he is satisfied with solid hits.
    6.White looks like an above average major league hitter, who will need to keep his weight in check throughout his career. He needs to keep what speed he currently has to maintain his effectiveness as a DH.
    7. An AL team with a power hitting LH first baseman is the perfect team to have White as a DH. White can hit RH pitching.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Astros Saturday lineup
    Marisnick CF
    Moran DH
    Gonzalez SS
    Valbuena 3B
    Tucker LF
    Worth 2B
    Singleton 1B
    Pena C
    Aplin RF
    Astros pitching Fiers against Adam Wainwright

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    • Yeah – Fiers is not getting quite the lineup as Feldman did yesterday to back him up (loved that lineup yesterday) but still I enjoy seeing what youngsters like Moran and Aplin will do.

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  24. Ok – so Mr No-No Fiers pitched 3 no-hit innings, the Cards got their first hit and a run in the 6th and Danny Worth has knocked in both runs as the Astros are winning 2-1.

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    • Until Tyler White pinch hit in the seventh inning and hit a two-out rbi single to left off of Jonathon Broxton. White pinch hit for Moran, a lefty, setting up a righty on righty situation on purpose, and White delivers. Astros up 3-1.
      Feliz gets himself into trouble in the bottom of seventh and then strikes out the side to get out of trouble. 3-1 going into the 8th.

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  25. Astros had two errors today resulting in two unearned runs. Only had two errors all spring before that. Bad defense results in a loss.

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  26. Let’s see – errors by Kemp and A. Gonzalez. Runs given up by Cabrera, Felix and Rodgers. I’m not sweating this loss today.

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  27. Just to give everyone an update…our boys and I will be heading to Orlando tomorrow and will be attending games on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (Thursday’s game will be at the Braves facility). We should start to see some more cuts from the major league camp soon and it will be good to see some of the guys that are fighting for the last 1-2 spots available. At this point I don’t see how they can keep Singleton over White or Duffy. I fully expect Reed to start the season in Fresno and I’m fine with this as long as either Duffy or White is the starting 1B in N.Y. on April 4th. I have confidence either one of these 2 can hold the fort until Reed arrives, but I’ve lost complete confidence in Singleton and, from the looks of things, I think he has lost confidence in himself.

    Liked by 1 person

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