It is simple math with a possible complex summation. There are 25 roster spots and Manager A.J. Hinch has announced that he plans to start the season with 13 pitchers. Taking out my old HP calculator, that would leave 12 spots (more or less to the eighth significant digit) for the Astros’ position players heading out of Spring Training.
So, until that 13/12 split becomes a 12/13 split (if ever) who will be the 12 position players most likely to make the team out of ST and what chance do the various hopefuls have of making the team. Note, there are some hopefuls (A.J. Reed, Colin Moran, Reid Brignac??) who have been tearing things up. Does it matter?
The following folks are sure things to make the team, if they are vertical or not traded by the end of spring training.
- Jose Altuve – 2B
- Carlos Correa – SS
- Alex Bregman – 3B
- Yulieski Gurriel – 1B
- Nori Aoki – LF
- George Springer – CF
- Josh Reddick – RF
- Brian McCann – C
- Carlos Beltran – DH
- Evan Gattis – Backup C
- Marwin Gonzalez – Swiss Army Knife
There are a number of ways the last spot on the bench could be filled.
Traditionally, considering that MarGo is more of an infielder, the 12th spot should go to a 4th OF. This does not mean it has to be Jake Marisnick, but he is the one with the most experience (even though the batting portion of his experience is bad). Tony Kemp is an option, though like MarGo he would be best fit to play LF as a sub. Teoscar Hernandez could fill in all around the outfield but would they rather have the young man getting some AAA bats under his belt? Derek Fisher would seem to be an option down the road.
The team could say the heck with tradition, we don’t need to have 4 OFs. We can have the OFs back each other up and roll MarGo, Beltran, Gattis, Bregman, Gurriel and the kitchen sink out there when we need another OF. So instead the team could add to their versatility and hold on to a Kemp or perhaps Colin Moran or Reid Brignac or whoever is dazzling their socks off.
Forget a 4th OF. Forget versatility. Go grab A.J. Reed and his big bat and put him at 1B, DH or off the bench and hope that he has grown beyond the pain of his first time up in the majors.
Trade MarGo for a youngster or two and give one of your younger, cheaper guys with more of an upside a shot at the 11th spot – along with (fill in the blank) in the 12th spot.
So, if you were making the call – how would you fill out that last spot or those last spots on the bench?