With only three weeks until pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training 2019, the Houston Astros are getting ready to head into the new season with a few new faces. However, one area that is heading into the season with the same look is the infield. With that in mind, this article will take a look at Houston’s infield heading into the season.
Houston Astros 2019 Season Preview: Infield
There is not much to look at as far as the starting positions go. Second baseman Jose Altuve, shortstop Carlos Correa and third baseman Alex Bregman will return to their positions for opening day 2019 and continue to dominate Major League Baseball as one of, if not, the best infields in all of baseball.
At the catcher and first baseman positions, there will potentially be some new faces at the starting spot. Free agent signee catcher Robinson Chirinos will join the Astros with the looks of being the new starter behind the plate while Max Stassi will serve as the backup like last season.
Young guns fighting for a spot
With the departure of fan-favorite Marwin Gonzalez, first baseman Yuli Gurriel switches to fill the utility role. This leaves an opening at first base. Two players that will be fighting for that position will be Tyler White and AJ Reed. White posted some good numbers last season while serving in a reserve role.
The 28-year-old posted a batting average of .276, going 58-for-210. White showed off his power in 2018, posting 12 of his 23 career home runs in the 2018 season. He would also bring in 42 runs batted in with an OPS of .888.
Reed, on the other hand, has not had a great introduction to MLB. With only three at-bats in 2018 and 131 total at-bats since his debut on June 25, 2016, Reed has gone 20-for-131 (.153 BA) to date. Reed has not gotten on base with a hit since the 2016 season when he recorded all 20 of his career hits. This is a player that really needs to step up this spring in order to have a shot at landing on the MLB roster in 2019.
With the departure of Evan Gattis, there is also a big void at the designated hitter position. Most likely this void will be filled with Gurriel when he is not starting somewhere in the field. This opening could also be filled by a guy like White, who had an offensive explosion in 2018. Stassi could also be a contender to DH for a Sunday game, dependent on the catcher situation health wise.
Opening Day Roster Prediction
For opening day, Houston will be going into 2019 with nine players. The starters will consist of Bregman (3B), Correa (SS), Altuve (2B), Chirinos (C), Diaz (1B), and White (DH). The bench players will consist of Reed and Stassi, with Gurriel in the utility role. With this, Garrett Stubbs will start the year in the minors. There might be a situation where Stubbs shows up in the majors, depending on injuries to the roster. Also, the Astros very rarely have three catchers on the 25-man roster.
The only other person not like to make the opening day roster would be AJ Reed. With his struggles at the big leagues, it would not be surprising if he starts the year in Triple-A. The only way that he could really make the 25-man roster would be if he has an amazing spring and things just happen to work out where there is an open spot on the roster for a back-up first baseman.
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