Ranking the Astros’ roster from 1 through 25

The Astros may or may not be done forming the team that will compete in the 2017 season, but today’s exercise will be to rank the top 25 Astros currently on the roster. Rank them how? That is up to you. This post ranks the players with a mixture of last year’s results, career results and how much each particular player may bring to the table over who the Astros used last year in that spot.  Note: there will be some assumptions on who actually will fill out the 25-man roster.

Here is my shot at these rankings:

  1. Jose Altuve. There were thoughts Correa would take the top spot from him. Not yet.
  2. Carlos Correa. He had a “disappointing” year that most 21 year olds would kill for.
  3. Lance McCullers Jr. When he pitched he was the best starter. The when and how much is the question with Lance.
  4. George Springer. He is a 5 tool guy who finally gets to play in his natural position.
  5. Dallas Keuchel. The most critical cog in the rotation – will he be 2015 or 2016 Keuchel?
  6. Carlos Beltran. Love to picture this bat coming up with guys all over the bases.
  7. Ken Giles. He was a hot mess at the beginning of the year, but thrived for the last 2/3 of the season.
  8. Josh Reddick. A good fielding, good hitting left handed corner OF – sit him against leftys and he can be super effective.
  9. Chris Devenski. The question is – can he take his long reliever excellence to the starting rotation….and will he be even asked to do that.
  10. Brian McCann. A big lefty bat and solid guy behind the plate is a great fit for this team
  11. Collin McHugh. He has fallen off some the last two seasons, but is still an important innings eater for the club.
  12. Evan Gattis. How much will he provide the Astros if he is just the back up catcher and not DH’ing that often?
  13. Alex Bregman. He could vault high on this list, but he does not need to do that.
  14. Will Harris. High value reliever, who can get leftys and rightys out.
  15. Charlie Morton. Have to assume that he is being brought in to start the season in the rotation. Can he hold that spot?
  16. Yulieski Gurriel. In his second go around at the majors and without a long layoff will he look more like the professional hitter they signed from Cuba?
  17. Luke Gregerson. Luke has been a solid performer since they picked him up two seasons ago and can fill the closer’s role in a pinch.
  18. Nori Aoki. With the possibility of a power house lineup around him, a guy with a high OBP and little power might be a solid table setter whether in the #9 spot or the #2 spot.
  19. Mike Fiers. Is he the 5th starter or the long reliever or trade bait?
  20. Tony Sipp. Tony was a very good lefty reliever for the Astros until he wasn’t. Who will show up this season?
  21. Marwin Gonzalez. It is just a guess that Marwin will be used much more strategically now that the Astros have many more major leaguers in the starting lineup.
  22. Joseph Musgrove. If Joe is not in the starting rotation he may well start the season at AAA with his phone number on Jeff Luhnow’s speed dial. Maybe this spot is Brad Peacock, or Ashur Tolliver or Jandel Gustave.
  23. Michael Feliz. A big arm that can pitch multiple innings….maybe he needs to be moved up.
  24. James Hoyt. This is one of those last spots on the roster – this is just a good guess.
  25. Teoscar Hernandez. Whether this is Teoscar or Jake Marisnick or Tyler White or Preston Tucker – this will be a spot for an extra bat and glove off the bench.


  • Do you agree with who is on my 25-man roster?
  • Do you agree with how they are ranked?
  • How would you rank them and what is your explanation?

61 comments on “Ranking the Astros’ roster from 1 through 25

  1. No issue with your list except maybe Morton. If he is the $14 million starter who is “softly” in the rotation, might need to move him down a few spots. Just curious, if he improves, does he become “hardly” in the rotation.


  2. I don’t think Reddick is as good as we’re making him out to be. I hope I’m wrong.

    I think Giles is way too high on the list given Harris and Gregerson both gave you similar results as closer and he couldn’t be the eighth inning guy. Also, if any of those three faulter you may see better results putting Devenski into the 8th or 9th inning role.

    Bregman and Musgrove make me scratch my head the most. We’ve spent all offseason saying we won’t give up one, or both, in search of the elusive TOR pitcher. Either we’re severely undervaluing (Musgrove?) or severely overvaluing (Bregman?) to take that stance.

    You have 13 pitchers and 12 position players. I think the versatility of Marwin, Bregman, and Yuri allow that, but suspect Luhnow is hoping to find a lefty arm that allows him to start Feliz and/or Musgrove in the Fresno rotation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The main issue I have with Feliz Musgrove Martes Paulino Rodgers Peacock in the minors, is that unlike Reed, we will lose major league production at the expense of playing guys like Morton, Aoki et al. With any workhorse, you can’t just let em lounge around, but Luhnow has shown a propensity for bringing up his prospects – not caring about minor league championships. Getting their work in bullpens or spot start platooners.

      I foresee more of a blending of what is status quo, that is “what to do if Plan A doesn’t workout in…”

      Name those players.
      If Yuli struggles Marwin/Reed
      If Reddick struggles Hernandez/Laureano
      If McCann struggles Gattis/Beltran(DH)
      Fiers gives way to Musgrove
      Morton gives way to Devo

      There’s enough depth to compensate in any area, except possibly LH relief and a known Ace-like season ahead. I go 50/50 on Sipp’s able return, and DK winning 15 games.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The first criterion for rankings should be the potential impact a player has in effecting winning games, but the wrench that goes into actual chances (or playing time) has a lot to do with contracts, and (I suspect) what the owner and GM want. A case in point is Carlos Gomez. At what point should we have stopped trotting him out? I’d say before the 1st game, but we all feared the inevitable. And so, I’m ranking these strictly on “put this guy in and let him shine.”

    1. Altuve – has the best overall Contact% (in the zone & out). That’s talent, being able to adjust on the fly. The smartest guy is always asking better questions. Altuve wants to be better. Wind him up, let him go! MVP

    2. Springer – no player (perhaps in baseball) has the electric ability and total package in any given game like him. He is in his prime, and a force of a teammate. Every single opponent wants what he brings 24/7: determination, great instincts & attitude, accountability.

    3. Correa – based on poise beyond his years, we all forget he made a critical error v. KC in 2015 bc he’s just that forgivable. He makes up for it virtually every time he’s in camera view. His Line Drive rate is pretty strong, and opposite field swing is developing. He lacks a step on the field of a Lindor, but he is the elite hitting SS in the game at only 22.

    4. Keuchel – I have that much faith that a year can make a difference, which is a leap if he doesn’t recover some velocity … and pitch pain free. I’m not betting $9 million dollars, so I’m betting smarter people decide correctly. At his best, he’s as steady as Gibraltar, confounding hitters into swing & miss or tappers back to the mound. When he’s smiling, the Astros are cruising..

    5. McQue – hate to admit it, but that curveball yet not as nasty as LMJ’s is a killer. You still have to hand him the ball Day 2, until someone else proves they have his poise and innings-eating ability. I know Wins is an overrated stat, but it’s about confidence a Mgr has in his #2, and that is McHugh. If he gives us 7IP 8H 2R ball, we win most games. His durability puts him above LMJ.

    6. McCullers – the most talent (potential Ace, or Closer) on a roster of many live arms! If he becomes more consistent, not having to rely on the Curve so often, he might turn the corner. I believe FanGraphs has him projected in the 170IP-range? Any Astros fan would take that. Because of questions surrounding his durability I’m in favor of stretching him out to be fresh for post-season (but that’s a long time from now).

    7. Beltran – hesitate to rank him this high bc of his Rangers numbers and age, but I’m banking of a resurgence in motivation. He and Hinch seem to be gelling, so I see him as a player/coach who leads by his play/preparation. That constitutes the intangibles that go into a true Win Against Replacement. Cheers to finding a copacetic balance, how to best utilize him, and Evan Gattis.

    8. Joe Musgrove – we all saw the guy debut and wondered why he wasn’t in our rotation sooner! Knowing now the kind of preparation he’s undertaken, barring injury, he’s the next big thing! He definitely cracks the rotation out of Spring as #4.

    9. Reddick – toss up with him and Yuli. Reddick on sheer talent, little bit stronger wrists, former Gold Glove, I like both their chances to significantly improve on 2016.

    10. Gurriel – check out his contact%’s, the guy is just beginning to get his legs under him but the fundamentals are strong. He plays all over the field, won’t take him long to adjust at 1B.

    11. Bregman – his teammates rave about him, playing out of position and recovering nicely after his first 30AB’s, he looks to be a star in the making and could shoot up to Top 5 here. I see a bit of a learning curve though, so if he can contribute for now, we have the support. Admittedly, he plays the game the right way, “a quiet force.”

    12. McCann – I don’t know much about him, except he’s been an Astros killer. Anxious to see how the pitchers respond to him. He’ll hit the ball a long way about 25 times in 2017 I think.. and hopefully they find a good mix of playing time for Gattis also.

    13. Devenski – can’t say enough about this guy’s competitiveness. It’s written all over his demeanor, “The Dragon” – and that change up are devastating. Hand him the ball as your #5, you won’t regret it.

    14. Gattis – the quiet giant can really mash it. He has the absolute potential to dramatically improve if he finds better plate discipline. With less pressure to carry the team, perhaps he will see better pitches, but realize nobody *wants to throw him a strike. He’s got a cannon and impressed me with decent framing -blocking is another story.

    15. Giles – figured it out about mid season, and while it’s the nature of a straight 100 to get knocked out, I have confidence (in that slider) he’s a bulldog for the job.

    16. Feliz – I realize he doesn’t have the resume of Gregerson or Harris, but he’s younger and the upside hasn’t even been discussed. I like his quiet swagger too, another in a line of young arms that can go high as a #3 in 2018 (if there’s room for him). My fear is hel’ll be as forgotten as Shilling, or Straily.

    17. Paulino – it’s his turn and I think he’s got the goods. There will be a healthy competition between him and Martes if they’re relegated to call ups.

    18. Harris – if Brocail was “The Marlboro Man,” then Will is the “Man with the 1000-yard stare.” This guy is possessed! He sees things before they happen. Usually strikeouts. He’s your loopy if Tolliver and Sipp falter.

    19. Aoki – the numbers don’t lie over his career, but guys who’ve seen him play everyday say he’s light hitting and avg defensively. He may be non tendered bc I like Laureano and Teoscar, if it weren’t for more RHP in the league. We’re more of a defense-minded team, so I suspect Aoki gets beat out..

    20. Marwin – had a poorer season offensively than I would’ve liked, but his contact rates are among the top 4, and he plays efficiently almost everywhere. I’d like to see the same power he flashed last Spring!

    21. Fiers – he’s a warrior, you saw it with the outburst when Hinch pulled him – but he’s well respected for it and continues to skate by with lots of talent waiting in the wings. I’d like nothing more than to see him solidify into mid rotation guy, his ceiling. In that way, he’s very serviceable.

    22. Kemp – the guy is forgotten, toolsy and defensively talented – like a buzzard hovering, waiting for an injured Altuve, or the like.

    23. Martes – he hasn’t thrown a single professional inning. The day he does, this is where he debuts.

    24. Hoyt – always looks a little hungover, like a man whose already done a few tours of duty, but he can locate well and should make this team as the front line of defense from the pen.

    25. Morton – lotta question marks here, but $14M means he’ll be on the roster.

    This means no Sipp, nor Teoscar nor Jake nor White nor Reed.

    Fat chance of that, so take all those guys on my list with options, add the guys who will fake IR to keep the best team on the field, and you have what looks like the 2017 World Series Champs!


  4. Great stuff! I like Giles at #7 as per Dan. I think this is the year he achieves “elite closer” status. I’d move Bregman up on all the lists, maybe switch him with Reddick. Aoki #19 is about right as per Gov, especially since we have no idea how he will be used. Ditto with all the kid pitchers: lots of hope but how will they be used? Morton at 15 as per Dan: maybe a little high, but I have a hunch this is going to be one of Luhnow’s applauded deals. Yeah, great stuff! Let’s revisit this on April 1.


  5. MVP is Jose Altuve, hands down. Who will be which level of Vice-MVP is yet to be determined on the field. Glimpses of talent and potential would suggest Correa and Bregman as contenders for First-Vice-MVP honors. We will see – on the field, in real games.

    The hopes of fans, the great personality, the totally useless-in-real-games ‘WAR’ ranking, and the ‘it’ factor, would lead many to put Springer in the same category as Correa and Bregman, but providing actual results at a Vice-MVP-level has thus far eluded him. He just strikes out too much, and comes through in the clutch too little, Hopefully this is his year. Beyond that McCullers, Devenski and Harris are the only mid-level MVP-quality players we have.

    We have a few steady, slightly better than league average contributors like Beltran (if he’s healthy), Gonzales, Gregerson, sometimes Gattis, and maybe, if we keep our fingers crossed, Keuchel and McHugh.

    Beyond that, we have low-ceiling guys who have some history of upper end of league average contributions. This includes Aoki, Gurriel, Reddick, McCann, Fiers, Morton, Feliz, Sipp, and Hoyt.

    We have a one-dimensional player, who is nobody’s Vice-MVP at any level, in Marisnick, and a totally inconsistent, unreliable swing guy in Peacock. Again, nobody’s Vice-MVP.

    Barring a season-derailing level of injury[ies] I do not expect to see any substantial 25-man roster time, much less playing opportunity, for any of the following: Hernandez, Reed, T.White, P. Tucker, Kemp, Moran, Martes, Paulino, or Rodgers.

    The wildcards in my mind are McCullers, Giles, and Musgrove. Either could break into, and set the pace for, any group . . . well, except the Altuve MVP spot, which is the little man’s, and his alone.


  6. Fun list Dan, cant wait to see how this looks 45 games into the season. The only thing I would flip is Reddick and Bregman. I think Bregman is going to prove he is Biggio reincarnated.


  7. I tend to lean towards feeling out future potential by paying attention to swing rates and BB/K as they clue in to a guy’s hand/eye speed – the one thing most difficult to change in a player. I think Bregman could jump up a little more, maybe top 5, by the end of the year. If you look at what he was doing in the minors with his K rate below 10% most of it, and then a jump to nearly 25, I think it settles down some this year around 15-17% but we don’t necessarily see the BB growth this year. I can see a .280 season from him with 15-20 HR coming. Potential will be there for later growth beyond 2017.

    McCullers is great for 14 games. You can’t necessarily take 14 games and translate them into 33 starts to guess because you don’t know how his arm is going to respond in game 25. Fister was sharp at the beginning, got tired, lost 2 ticks in August, and cost us any chance. LMJ is still young enough that it could translate to the juice still being on in the dog days, if so, and he makes 33, he could take number 1.

    However it slices out I think only 1 spot on the 25 man will be up for grabs this spring, as the starting 8, Beltran at DH, Margo, JFSF and the off catcher taking the other 3, assuming the Astros carry 12 pitchers – its down to what they are looking for. Is it another IF, OF, or just the best bat? I think Teoscar or White will get the call. I’m taking the assumption that the Astros have no plans to let Beltran see the field.


    • In the spirit of John Houseman, they’ve got to “earn it!”

      Depth chart for that elusive Last Spot on the 25-man.

      Aoki – odds favorite
      Teoscar – better athlete
      White – better hitter
      Jake – tenured, re-signed/elite(ish) defense
      Derek – big Spring opens eyes
      Ramon – diamond in the rough
      Paulino – had his cup o Jo
      Gustave – another fireballer
      Hoyt – has the goods
      Reed – trump card awakens
      Kemp – deserves a shot
      Singleton – ya never know
      Martes – three wipeout pitches

      Shortened field, big shifts and Stros ground ball pitchers may also mean we focus on offense (White).

      I’m one who thinks Beltran does play LF about 2-3X a week, so that allows a hot bat to assume more DH.

      This roster has amazing flex with Gurriel Marwin Kemp who can crossover into the OF, leads me to believe we can carry 13 pitchers (if we see less Quality Starts).


    • That would be cool, like Muskrat Love. We really need Giles to be dominant all year. We still need a solid lefty in the pen, don’t know where and who though???


  8. Dan, if that is your 25-man roster, then Stassi, Peacock and Chapman will most likely be out of the organization, because they have no options left.
    I just cannot picture Fiers, Sipp and Marwin being considered ranking above Musgrove, especially since Luhnow refused to trade Musgrove two years in a row, when teams wanted him.
    For the life of me, I don’t see how Fiers starts for this team and Musgrove doesn’t.


  9. OP and others – a few thoughts….
    – I did a lot of back and forth on some of these folks and I was never really happy with the order in my list. But I finally had to let it rip.
    – I also knew that a few of these folks just won’t work out that they are more likely to have to get rid of or send down one of the contenders for 5th starter and maybe have a Peacock as a swing starter.
    – I agree Musgrove should be higher, I just don’t know if they will keep him with the big club – I hope so and that they trade a Fiers perhaps.
    – I am sure this list will look different at the beginning of April and then again at mid-season.


    • Dan, I think health is going to be the key factor for everyone except the soph pitchers. For those guys it’s a matter of how willing Luhnow is to increase their workload and how conscientious he is of avoiding the Verducci Effect. I’ve often complained at TCB that the bloggers and most of the commenters are only interested in playing fantasy baseball and ignore the fact it’s a 162 game grind. Think about last season if Keuchel OR McCullers were really healthy for 30 starts. What if Bregman didn’t pull his hamstring during a hot streak late in the year? What if Fister had developed a really bad blister in late July?


  10. The 2017 Astros are undefeated. George Springer has not struck out once. Jose Altuve has not been picked off base – or caught stealing – a single time. Carlos Correa has committed no errors. Dallas Kuechel and Collin McHugh both have 0.00 ERAs – and WHIPs to match! No Astro catcher has a single passed ball. Ken Giles has neither a blown save, a wild pitch, or a HR allowed. Lance McCullers, Jr. has not spent a second on the DL. Carlos Beltran has not popped up on the infield to kill a rally. Josh Reddick has not looked a bit like this year’s version of Carlos Gomez. Mike Fiers has not allowed a single bomb over the new, shorter, MMP Center Field fence. Alex Bregman looks healthy and is mashing everything thrown his way [well, in the cage at his hose at least]. MarGo is chomping at the bit, saying ‘put me in, coach, I’m ready to play.’

    Savor the moment!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. For the record, the Astros had five relievers ranked in the top 100 of the MLB Relief Pitcher power rankings. They were:
    #20 Will Harris
    #22 Ken Giles
    #30 Luke Gregerson
    #49 Chris Devenski
    #79 Michael Feliz
    There were hundreds of relievers in MLB last season. Sipp and Peacock both ranked in the middle 200s.
    In my opinion only, Hoyt was a very nervous rookie on the mound for the Astros last season. With his background, having been out of baseball for years, I think he will come to camp more relaxed and show his true abilities without having to worry as much about his own self. I just can’t imagine the nervousness and exhaustion he must have felt after all the appearances he had to make as a closer in Fresno and then coming up to the majors and trying to make the jump in the middle of a pennant race. The look on his face and the sweat on his body were like few I have seen before.
    I believe that he will be more settled, rested and confident this spring and I hope he becomes the pitcher in our bullpen that he showed to be last season in AAA. I am pulling for this guy to help make our bullpen one of the best in baseball. He is the perfect age to be a reliever and has so much team control left for Houston, that his success would be as important to the future of this club as Will Harris has been the last couple of years.


  12. What he said: “Barring a season-derailing level of injury[ies] I do not expect to see any substantial 25-man roster time, much less playing opportunity, for any of the following: Hernandez, Reed, T.White, P. Tucker, Kemp, Moran, Martes, Paulino, or Rodgers”

    What he meant: “Better eat your wheaties, Pacific Coast League!”


    • If Fiers or McHugh neither one are moved, you could add Musgrove to that AAA roster. It’s packed. PCL pitching beware. Even Singleton can’t possibly be as bad as he was last year.


  13. Mr. Bill I love that 2017 team you got there!! Think they can keep it up until October?!
    OP…thanks for looking up all those stats for us! I agree with you about Hoyt, he looked pooped by the time he got up with the big club last year.
    I gotta tell you something that sunk my heart today. Yordano Ventura was alive after his accident over the weekend, but when people got to it, they beat and assaulted him and robbed him of money, and his world series ring. I am starting to despise human beings. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m with you Becky, Humanity has lost its moral compass and it’s only going to get worse. Integrity, compassion, and empathy seem to be characteristic of the minority not the majority )-;

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Using Baseball-reference, here is the WAR for the Astros. (Not adjusted for partial year)

    Altuve 7.7
    Correa 5.9
    Springer 5.0
    Gattis 3.0
    Bregman 1.8
    Marisnick 1.7
    Margo 1.2

    Devo 2.8
    Harris 1.7
    LMJ 1.6
    McHugh 1.2

    No one currently on roster above 1.0

    McCann 0.9 Castro 0.9
    Reddick 2.6
    Aoki 1.5


      • Demoting Gurriel – because he has options, and Stassi has used all of his – would, of course, mean that Jon Singleton would no longer be the highest paid minor leaguer in the Astros’ system. But Gurriel did not look ready for the Major Leagues last year, and it just seems to me that, with him having to learn a new position [1B], starting the year in Fresno – or even Corpus, since we have both Reed and Singleton to play 1b at Fresno – makes some organizational sense.


    • Let me try to make the case this way, studying our relief splits … in the 1st half of the season Michael Feliz led the team with almost 13K/9, and in July he and Giles avg over 18K/9! Giles barely beat him in the 2nd half but LMJ is a distant also-ran. Feliz tied Giles for the best xFIP on the team. In High Leverage situations Feliz finished 3rd in ERA to Harris and Gregerson. He deserves a shot as the mainstay, along with Hoyt, as effective strikeout pitchers. The guy was 8-1 for this team – we should be talking about “softly” planting him where those outs benefit the ML club?


      • I don’t think it’s that simple. He has barely faced any AAA opponents (2 games, 8 1/3 innings total). Also, do they see him as a starter or have him pigeon holed into the bullpen?

        He had some phenomenal outings for Houston – especially going out for multiple innings when we went to extra innings. The one area that concerns me is allowing 10 of 18 inherited runners to score. You want to have confidence you can bring him out there with RISP and get strikeouts and/or popups. He only induced on double play in 2016 as well. That may indicate more repetitions in games that don’t matter (to HOU) will help him/us in the long term.


      • So if Feliz stays on the 25-man, who goes? If it’s Peacock, we have to DFA him, because he is out of options. If it’s Musgrove or Devenski, we can just demote one of them to Fresno – but WHICH ONE?


    • I think his mother was so overcome with grief…..she allowed others to give her false information that she believed. Anyway you spin it, that is a death she will never get over. Soo sad😢😢


      • Yes, and it came from a journalist on top of that. I don’t know how these parents can live with this. It would tear any parent up.


  16. The pitching staff for ST appears to consist of 26 pitchers, namely:
    Keuchel, McHugh, McCullers, Musgrove
    Fiers, Morton, Feliz, Devenski,
    Paulino, Martes, Peacock, Frias,
    Gregerson, Harris, Hoyt, Giles
    Gustave, Jankowski, A. West, T. Perez,
    Sipp (L), Chapman (L), Guduan (L)
    Holmes (L), Tolliver (L), Riefenhauser (L)

    You are advising Brent Strom.
    How much do you throw the various starters – and why? What pitch and innings limits do you assign them with regard to each ST start? Starter by starter, what are you looking for from him on the positive side – and what are you watching out for from him on the negative side?

    With regard to the relievers, who do you say should get the most mid-inning relief appearances? Who in the relief corp do you give the most appearances vs. tough left-handed hitters? The most late-inning [i.e. facing minor leaguer prospects who are trying desperately to make a splash with their team] finish-up work?


    • Of those 26, I’d drop roughly 6 from contention of playing this season – and add Rodgers (long shot F Perez.)

      So, 21 that have a shot at more or less innings, depending on results since we are in a Win Now Mode.

      The first row of 4 SP I give normal starts (that’s a 8-man competition!)

      DK- Give us honest Springtime feedback and if he shows improvement in what their trying to do in a slow regression of his 2015 arm action. What are the options? Apparently they’ve answered those questions by rest, and the same goes for LMJ avoiding surgery.

      Lance is odds on favorite to crack the Ace spot, if healthy. We all have said that..

      McQ – he’s the most routine(ish) guy we have, and I expect he gets a little leverage for a bad outing bc of his last 3season’s workload. I wouldn’t try to read into anything with Collin in the Spring.

      Musgrove – he’s so money, he’d be the best #4 in the AL (and the White Sox know it), especially if we gave him a half season of consistent starts.

      As you say that, we have to figure at least one of these isn’t 100% to begin the season.

      If they aren’t (no big deal), we have another batch vying for the 4, 5, 6 spot..

      Morton – we’re looking for the possible “gem” nobody saw coming. Spin rates? How about durable and “worth every penny”?

      Devenski – will get stretched out to 5/6 IP eventually, all eyes on him v. Morton!

      Fiers – lotta money to stick this guy in a longman position. If our commitment to him and Morton, despite better pitching by Devo/Grove in the Spring prevails, well, ya have to figure they’re getting all the miles for the buck while we can, and it’s a long season.

      [I should pause here, why didn’t the Astros try to get *something for Stasi last season? We have Fiers in a friendly contract – why aren’t we trading him for a few good prospects?]

      Normal routine for 3 rotations. The other four long men I give spot starts to relieve the worst of the 4&5 starters by May (ish).

      Like last season, Feldman didn’t see much action bc we stayed too long with certain starts,…but when we did use Feliz Chris and Musgrove as longmen, they were at least an anomaly v. the league. If the other team doesn’t have much to scout, we hold the “initiative”.

      Also, Luhnow has given the guys supreme motivation this season bc all their names were dangled (McQue, Fiers, Martes, Paulino, Bregman etc) in trade talks.

      [Once I met with Saints P Thomas Morestead prior to a game they were playing the Tampa Bay. After telling him I was a Punter in HS, he told me he had “special motivation” to out kick the other teams’ guy bc New Orleans drafted Morestead over his opponent, so he wanted to “prove the coaches/staff right.” – btw, he did!]

      Instead of handing the ball to anyone as the Ace through 6th man, I watch closely in the Spring, keep ear to the ground with staff. Each offensive player in the minors is encouraged to keep track of his zone swings, pitchers are certainly aware of their weaknesses.

      Managers with that many arms can figure it out. I hesitate to put in stone, for example that DK needs two ticks to compete bc the fact is, either batter or pitcher makes the effective adjustment, a lot of variables with a battery and game situations, how effective is a guy third time thru the lineup?. We’re looking for guys who don’t back down, those with confidence to go right after hittters..

      The one glaring for Feliz and Gregerson is v. LHH. Both gives up over .400 SLG – that’s an issue they’ll be focused on, hopefully. The same kind of advantage we’ll be trying to gain – contact from our own left side of the plate.

      Short answer, Bill. I want pitchers who could care less about stats. Like base runners who don’t even exist, you already know they’re ahead of the game – that certain stare into the catcher’s eyes. Like a hungry wolf ready to scream a bloodthirsty YAWP! after the inevitable … strikeout, traditional bowing in CF, and handshakes all around for the boys in Orange/Blue!


  17. Riddle me this, why would the Cubs sign lefty Brett Anderson on friendly team deal, 1 year and we wouldn’t ? He could at least be bullpen help or a 5th starter and a Lefty.


  18. Bill, this is my May depth chart after a great few homestands, the rotation will shape up like this, and that Reed and Martes will be ready sooner as impact players.

    Lance McCullers
    Dallas Keuchel
    Joe Musgrove
    Collin McHugh
    Charlie Morton
    Longmen Fiers, Devenski, Feliz
    Relief Hoyt Harris Sipp Gregerson Giles
    IF Gurriel Altuve Bregman CC Marwin
    OF Springer Reddick Jake Beltran Teoscar
    C McCann Gattis

    Guduan/Tolliver Peacock Rodgers Paulino Gustave Martes — White Reed Kemp Laureano Fisher Moran Davis (Callups)

    Aoki doesn’t make the team. (Maybe I’m wrong? Maybe the young guys show him what a real “bargain” is?)

    Looking closely, we definitely need a starting LHP option!

    But the answer to your quandary is: who would you rather the pressure be on, pitching or hitting? If PTuck and Beltran are your two options for late-inning heroics; or Reed v McCann as PH to win the game? How about Gustave v Hoyt or Gregerson v Peacock? Sometimes the magician knows… sometimes the other team looks so good, it doesn’t matter. I advocate giving Hinch Matchup Advantages. Final answer.


    • I think Teoscar’s ability to be sent to Fresno makes the decision. Aoki and Reddick can both play the corners, but you don’t want either in CF. Springer should be there, but you can’t expect 162 games from him. If they make any decision other than giving Jake the 25th roster spot and starting Teoscar in CF at Fresno I’d be surprised. I suppose it’s possible they’ll see if Fisher play CF…but he has the same problems with his game as Teoscar and less success to back up his status on the prospect lists. Also, it’s possible Gurriel, Bregman, Beltran, etc. get sent out to LF and they’ll want Springer and Marisnick covering for them.


      • Fisher and Teoscar’s “same problem” of swing/miss?

        That’s why I think Kemp makes the team if that’s the determination. But it’s not even the most important one if this player is more defensive (Jake), or let’s say Reed is hitting, or White has another 350/400 slash in Spring. Now you reconfigure to make room at 1B, not LF. Better have multi spots in case they get beat out at primary, ala Marwin at SS. Unless PTucker hits hard, there’s no room in the inn.

        If we go 12 pitchers it’s without Feliz Hoyt or Sipp/Guduan/Tolliver.

        If we start the year completely healthy and all bright ‘n shiny, maybe we don’t need 13 pitchers. (But what if a few guys get knocked around and come in with BIGger question marks?)

        My contengency plan consists of LMJ pitching 5 solid in May, handing the ball to Feliz for 3 and Giles to close. We win 5-3. That’s how you save an arm for the season. Next time out, maybe the plan is to throw more curves and stretch out to 6 IP if the pitch count is at 80 or so.. like that. It’s fluid, nothing set in stone. Be ready for Martes and Paulino.

        Hey, you can talk about routine all you want, but why are position players always saying they’ll do anything they can to get on the field,… but pitchers don’t? It’s the training staff’s job to keep the athlete ready at all times. Getting the work in for Musgrove and Feliz down in Fresno will feel mighty grizzly when Fiers and/or Morton gets bombed😕


      • Yes, but also their defense. They’re both guys with above average speed and arms who don’t track the ball well in the outfield and play down to a lesser athletic ability as a result.

        I like Kemp a lot, but unless Altuve is hurt he would be limited to LF and DH…which we have an abundance of options to fill.

        As to the get on the field comment, there is a big difference between throwing 100+ live pitchers and warmups between innings and having a couple of maximum exertion throws in a game.


  19. Of the non roster invitees, I’m intrigued this Spring to see Alejandro Garcia, Laureano Kemmer and Stubbs. They seem at a turning point … I’m anxious to see Drew Ferguson Keegan Yuhl make moves this season. The pitchers Perez and Armenteros are all ahead of schedule. Tyson Perez spoke to JH about everyone being the same at Fresno, whether 30th round or bonus baby – they all have a shot.

    What happens if D Fisher leads all hitters in the Spring? Or Tony Kemp? I have a feeling 1 or 2 AAA guys is going to be tired of the bus. Why does Reed look so much more relaxed in the minors? They’re all still young, but are they hungry enough?

    Off topic thought: watching Javi Baez highlights, the guy plays every IF position with more finesse than even Machado — I wonder why we haven’t moved Correa to 3rd, but he must be rangier and have stronger arm than Bregman; for PR Carlos will play the hot corner. The WBC is going to be amazing this year!


    • Our top 8 make us the deepest of any other club!

      That group of eight just edges out the seven from Cleveland (Edwin Encarnacion, Carlos Santana, Jason Kipnis, Michael Brantley, Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez and Brandon Guyer), Washington (Bryce Harper, Trea Turner, Anthony Rendon, Adam Eaton, Jayson Werth, Daniel Murphy and Ryan Zimmerman), the Dodgers (Corey Seager, Adrian Gonzalez, Justin Turner, Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig, Yasmani Grandal and Logan Forsythe) and Pittsburgh (Starling Marte, Andrew McCutchen, Gregory Polanco, Jung Ho Kang, John Jaso, Josh Bell and Francisco Cervelli).


      • I think they start great, but there are definite durability issues up and down the starting 9. The fun part about it is this is the deepest lineup I can remember Houston ever having. Sure the offenses of the playoff teams in the very late 90s to mid 2ks had some BIG bop to it – I don’t expect anyone in today’s starting lineup to match a Bagwell/Alou season – but it also carried the Everetts and Ausmus of the world. Aoki in LF maybe our worst hitter – maybe Gurriel will get that mark, not sure – and those are better hitters than anyone we have seen in those positions since Caballo and Berkman.


  20. Some thoughts:
    -With the changes to CF, I see Correa breaking out because he no longer has to worry about hitting 425′ outs. I think he changes his way of hitting and does less thinking and more swinging at strikes and less swinging at outside pitches.
    -Aoki is signed for $5.5 million. I believe he will be the predominant LF starter. This gives the club another year to watch Laureano, P Tucker, Fisher, Kemp and Teoscar, in order to make plans for 2018, when they could decide to just non-tender Aoki as a 36 year old, if they are assured one of the youngsters is ready to play.
    -I don’t think Preston will be ready to play when opening day comes around. He has yet to be cleared to swing a bat. Even if he were ready, I think his chances would be slim to make the opening day roster.
    -I believe the Astros will play Gurriel at 1B a lot this year and hope that his bat is as good as they think it is, so that he could slide into Beltran’s DH slot in 2018.
    – Morton is signed for two years at $7 million a year. I think the Astros believe they have another sleeper, one with more velocity on his fastball and a higher spin rate on his curve than McHugh. I think they would like Strom to make him a MOR starter, when he gets finished working with him.
    – I am worried about the Astros having so many players in the WBC.
    – It is worth repeating. Beltran moves from the hardest LF to reach the seats to the easiest in MMP. And he moves from one of the easiest RF fields to reach to another of the easiest. As a switch hitter who has a way below average strikeout rate, I could see him hitting 30 home runs and driving in over 100 runs this year as a regular DH.
    – I think James Hoyt has proven everything he can prove in AAA. If he doesn’t make the opening day roster, it’s because he’s either injured or the club doesn’t believe he has the stuff to make it as a major league reliever.
    – It’s just my opinion, but I think Evan Gattis does not have to be anything more than a good-hitting RH batting catcher on this team. Every team would love to have one each of a power hitting catcher from each side of the plate, especially if both of them are veterans and well respected and liked by their teammates.


    • Agreed on Tucker, … if he ever makes it back! He’s not on my depth chart and has a few on his heels already Ramon, JFSF, Teo, Fisher (2017), plus KTuck, Miles Straw, Stephen Wrenn Jason Martin Ronnie Dawson (Springer Reddick thru 2018). That’s what I call plenty of help, and all kinds of cheaper than slappy Aoki. But we shall see😉

      I’d like nothing more than for Teoscar to be that (RH) table setter who is faster and can hit with power in the 9-hole. His routes are better than Fisher’s – plus arm/good speed he just needs innings. What I foresee if Hernandez hits for avg the way he has, his slugging will follow, which is a better option than Aoki. (Also, watch those reels of his first HR – you see he’s beloved in the clubhouse).

      For some reason, I have a penchant for the youth this year. It goes along with the idea that careers seem a lot shorter these days and riddled with injury. The deeper the team is, the less crumbling effect (hamstrings and shoulders).


      • I understand, Op, mentioning Tucker’s beginnings of problems seeing the field with entrenching thru 2018 … (and ’19 and ’20). It’s just not happening for him, if for potentially a few 25 HR seasons if he gets 400 ABs? He’s one we cut bait with as soon as he’s tradeable. Just an opinion.


  21. Btw, I was looking at possible lineups for the first series v. the Mariners, figuring that Marwin would draw a start in that series and sure enough – this is a very fun fact about Game 2 if Iwakuma is their pitcher. We have 4 guys including Marwin who literally feast.

    Beltran .545
    Marwin .440
    Altuve .421
    Reddick .292

    You can bet they’ll be in the lineup!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s