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.


Hey Brian, just a question which one of the future prospects did we get in trades has the most likely chance of being on the 40 man, and hopefully the 25 man roster this year. Singleton, Cosart, Clemens, Villar, any of them have a chance to show up at MMP this summer?

I fully expect Clemens to be pitching in the big leagues this year. Cosart and Singleton likely won’t make an impact in Houston until 2013.

Looks to me that Lowrie will be on the DL, that will give Gonzalez a chance to show he belongs on the club. I hope both the rule 5 guys make it. Might be harder to have a roster spot all year long for Cruz, but once this season is over you have two guys with lots of potential on the club that can be optioned out and moved around if need be. Its like getting a couple of extra draft picks.

Brian….I’m curious as to why you are picking Wright over Abad now for the lefthanded reliever spot. Abad appears to have the done a better job in ST than Wright. Abad hasn’t even been touched by a lefthanded batter.

I’ve gone back and forth with this, but I’m giving Wright the nod for now because he’s out of options.

That makes sense. Looking at their 2011 regular season stats, they both did an excellent job against LH batters and stunk it up against RHers. So if Abad has options left and Wright doesn’t, I can see keeping Wright on the 25 man roster over Abad at this point. Either way it could get ugly quick if either of them is allowed to face a RHer.

Frankly, WW hasn’t shown me enough to even care if he’s exposed to waivers. Someone will pick him up because he is left-handed and still breathing, but I just don’t see the value in keeping him. Abad is no prize, but I’d keep him. What really sucks is that Escalona is out for the year because I think that this is the only reason why we’re keeping either one of them.

Yes, losing Escalona was somewhat of a blow.

Brian….It looks to me like Happ is just being handed a spot in the starting rotation by default. Does he have any options left? If yes, how long do you think Luhnow/Mills will put up with Happ before sending him down should he start out like he did last year?

I’ve given up trying to pick the roster as every time I do someone’s head ends up on the chopping block. ;D With Lowrie’s thumb not responding and since he hasn’t touched a bat, I’m assuming he’s a no-go for opening day. With him out, who gets the starting nod, Bixler who impressed in Florida or Downs who is known for playing well in clutch situations?

James…..Happ has *ONE* option left. He would be smart not to have the Astros use that. We’ll see.

However, Happ stunk it up during ST. I am less than sanguine about his ability to continue to pitch up in the strike zone. He nibbles way too much early in the count, and this forces him to come,into the happy zone, and that’s when the hitters blister him. Frankly, I don’t think that he has the stuff to be a fly ball pitcher. I think that if he’s going to be a success in the long haul, he needs to start getting the ball down in the strike zone.

Happ stunk it up during ST. I am less than sanguine about his ability to improve absent a wholesale reinvention of himself as a ground ball pitcher. I don’t think that he has either the heater or a good enough secondary pitch to be a fly ball pitcher.

BRian — do you think Bogusevic has a chance at a 20/20 type of season?
He’s been pretty conisistent of late in spring trainng, has alot of tatent and most importantly has starting time.

By 20-20 you mean 20 homers and 20 steals? I think that’s pretty ambitious.

If Bogey hits 20 home runs and steals 20 bags, I’ll be ecstatic! I see more likely 10-12 dingers and 10 or so bags.

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