Another shot at the 25-man roster
Teams must have their 25-man rosters set by 4 p.m. CT Wednesday, and it’s likely the Astros will have made their final decisions prior to Wednesday afternoon’s exhibition game against the White Sox at Minute Maid Park.
After announcing Sunday they were optioning Brett Wallace to Triple-A, the Astros officially have 31 players remaining in camp. One of those, pitcher Sergio Escalona, is going to be out for the year after undergoing Tommy John surgery on Wednesday, meaning the Astros have five remaining cuts to make.
If shortstop Jed Lowrie (sprained right thumb) and center fielder Jordan Schafer (nerve in left hand) aren’t ready to go, they could also be put on the DL, opening up two more spots on the Opening Day roster.
With only a few days until Opening Day, let’s take another shot at the projected roster. And for the purposes of this exercise, we’re going to assume Lowrie and Schafer won’t be disabled.
Position player starters are listed in bold:
Catchers (2) – Jason Castro, Chris Snyder.
- Analysis: This is set.
Infield (6) — Carlos Lee (1B), Jose Altuve (2B), Jed Lowrie (SS), Chris Johnson (3B), Marwin Gonzalez, Matt Downs.
- Analysis: When we did this about 10 days ago, we had Wallace as the sixth infielder. The four starters and Gonzalez are set, and I still think Downs lands a spot because of the year he had last year and the fact he can do so much. Brian Bixler, who was sent out of camp and brought back, has had a nice spring, though, and is also versatile.
Outfield (5) – J.D. Martinez (LF), Jordan Schafer (CF), Brian Bogusevic (RF), Travis Buck, Justin Ruggiano
- Analysis: I’ve made one switch here from 10 days ago, giving Ruggiano a backup outfield spot over J.B. Shuck. I just think Ruggiano’s ability to go deep on occasion and the fact he swings from the right side of the plate in an outfield full of left-handers makes him valuable. Of course, If Schafer isn’t ready to go, that opens up a spot for Shuck.
Starting rotation (5) — Wandy Rodriguez, Bud Norris, J.A. Happ, Kyle Weiland, Lucas Harrell.
- Analysis: With Livan Hernandez out of the picture, I believe that solidifies Weiland in the rotation. He’s had a very good spring. The other spot comes down to Lucas Harrell and Jordan Lyles. I’m giving the nod right now to Harrell, who pitches tonight in Corpus Christi. At 21, Lyles could benefit from some time at Triple-A.
Bullpen (7) — Brett Myers, Wilton Lopez, David Carpenter, Fernando Rodriguez, Brandon Lyon, Wesley Wright, Rhiner Cruz.
- Analysis: The changes I’ve made here are Wright getting the left-handed spot over Fernando Abad and Rule 5 pick Cruz making the club. Cruz has been hit or miss, but the more I hear general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager Brad Mills talk about him, the more I think they want to keep him. And there’s a spot open in the bullpen. If Lyles makes the rotation, Harrell could get the last bullpen spot as a long reliever. But the Astros have had a few of their relievers pitch two consecutive innings this spring in an effort to minimize the need for a long reliever.