OK, we will first assume that the questions of who will be the Astros’ GM and Manager will be answered before Spring Training. We will ignore the “question” about who will be the Astros cheating apologizer. So, besides those two areas, what will be the major questions as the team heads into this spring training.
#1 What will their rotation look like? We know that Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke will be at the top. We assume that Lance McCullers Jr. will be the third guy. We think that Jose Urquidy has a foot up on the fourth spot. We know that there will be a boatload of guys competing for the 4th and 5th spots, including (possibly) Brad Peacock, Austin Pruitt, Framber Valdez, Forrest Whitley, Josh James, Bryan Abreu, Rogelio Armenteros and others. But even if the rotation does not make it all the way through the season…..what will it look like heading home from Florida?
#2 Will Kyle Tucker absorb some or all of Josh Reddick ABs? Tucker was bad in his 2018 debut. Reddick was bad (though apparently injured) in 2019. Tucker was solid in his second shot at the majors. Tucker will make about 1/20th of Reddick’s salary in 2020, if he makes the 26 man roster. They don’t have to get rid of Reddick and they probably won’t at this point. But how will this likely transition play out?
#3 How will the back end of the bullpen work out? The front end of the bullpen will be Roberto Osuna, Ryan Pressly and likely Joe Smith and Josh James. Chris Devenski pitched a bunch of mediocre innings last season. Will Harris, Hector Rondon and (likely) Collin McHugh have all moved or will move elsewhere. Who picks up those extra innings? Likely folks like Brad Peacock and Austin Pruitt if they don’t grab starting spots. Bryan Abreu looked good in a cameo with the big club. Could someone (Whitley? Rogelio Armenteros?) grab a bullpen spot while auditioning for a bigger role?
#4 How will the catching tandem work out? Right now it looks like Martin Maldonado backed up by Dustin Garneau with young Garrett Stubbs hoping for a spot. Of course, whoever starts the season as number one and number two may not end the season that way as the last two seasons have shown. And Stubbs spot may be tied to…
#5 How will the Astros handle the 26th spot on the roster? With some questions with the pitching staff, will they add an extra youngster to work his way towards a higher leverage spot? Will they put Stubbs (who played some OF in his last call-up) in the third catcher spot? Will this allow an Abraham Toro or Myles Straw to break camp with the team?
Anyways, those are 5 questions to be answered this spring. Do you have others?