2011 Astros: Early Roster Predictions

Astros 2011: Who's on First?

Count me among those fans who are happy that the Astros have now put a public face on their plans to rebuild the farm system as the primary talent source for the major league roster. I supported the old skin-shedding of Oswalt and Berkman from the 2010 roster and the decision to go with younger faces at all key roster spots, wherever possible. I applaud Tal Smith and Ed Wade for their re-thinking and re-tooling of the club’s scouting and player development staff – and I like what I’ve seen of the younger players coming in as prospects.

The only black cloud I see is just one of those things that can’t be helped in today’s game, but it deserves comment. Just as Michael Bourn was developing as the icon of our Astros youth or Phoenix bird player redevelopment, he turns around and signs up Scott Boras as his agent. Now the question is: Can we really afford for Bourn to have the career year we need him to have in 2011? If he does, it may simply give agent Boras the opportunity next year to make the Astros an offer on the future of Bourn that they will choose to refuse. What a conundrum!

I don’t see a lot of surprises developing as the Astros cull down to their 25-man roster by opening day. Were it not for our two DL infielders and the two Rule 5 Draft pick pitchers that the Astros are likely to keep, picking it now would be even easier. Given no claims of visionary power or inside knowledge, here’s how I seeing it settle out. Things could change if Brett Wallace squats and doesn’t hit from spring game one, but that would probably just means that Wallace goes down to Oklahoma City while Lee moves to first and Bogusevic takes over in left.

Keppinger and Sanchez will not be fully ready to go on Opening Day, but they should both be back full-bore by late May. I don’t see Tommy “Fair Field/No Hit” Manzella sticking with the club unless Clint Barnes really sucks wind in the spring, nor do I see much future in the infield here for Mr. Downs. I also don’t see any big surprises in the pitching roster from the start, unless we suddenly find Captain Marvel hiding out there in rookie garb.

I look forward to another great year from Billy-Goat-Bearded Brett Myers as we also hope again that this is finally the season that Wandy Rodriguez loses his “Mr. Hyde” alter ego, once and for all.

Nothing original from me on what’s needed this spring: (1) Castro and Wallace have to start showing they can hit MLB pitching; (2) Chris Johnson at third needs to show he can do it again as a hitter; (3) Lee, Bourn, and Pence just need to be the players they already are; and (4) Hall and Barnes need to show us that Ed Wade’s confidence in them is justified as adequate keystone base figures with compensating extra power pop at the plate; and (5) the pitchers need to get their arms in shape and their stuff working without getting hurt before Opening Day.

Here are my early final roster picks. We’ll see how far off I am when the real season starts:

2011 Houston Astros: 2011 Season Opening Day 25-Man Roster Predictions.

Pitchers

Starters

(1)        Brett Myers (BR/TR)

(2)        Wandy Rodriguez (BB/TL)

(3)        J.A. Happ (BL/TL)

(4)        Bud Norris (BR/TR)

(5)        Nelson Figueroa (BR/TR)

Relievers

(6)        Jeff Fulcino (BR/TR)

(7)        Wesley Wright (BR/TL)

(8)        Wilton Lopez (BR/TR)

(9)        Fernando Abad (BL/TL)

(10)    Brandon Lyon (BR/TR) Closer

Rule 5 Draft Pitchers

(11)   Aneury Rodriguez (BR/TR)

(12)   Lance Pendleton (BL/TR)

Catchers

(13)   Jason Castro (BL/TR)

(14)   Humberto Quintero (BR/TR)

Infielders

(15)   1B:  Brett Wallace (BL/TR)

(16)   2B:  Bill Hall (BR/TR)

(17)   3B:  Chris Johnson (BR/TR)

(18)   SS:   Clint Barnes (BR/TR)

(19)   Matt Downs (BR/TR)

(20)   Jimmy Paredes (BB/TR)

Disabled List *

Jeff Keppinger (BR/TR)

Angel Sanchez (BR/TR)

Outfielders

(21)   LF: Carlos Lee (BR/TR)

(22)    CF: Michael Bourn (BR/TR)

(23)   RF: Hunter Pence (BR/TR)

(24)   Brian Bogusevic (BL/TL)

(25)   Jason Michaels (BR/TR)

* As they are able, look for Keppinger and Sanchez to replace Downs and Paredes as the reserve infielders. All plans could change if the Astros decide not to carry either or both of their Rule 5 Draft pitchers (A. Rodriquez & L. Pendleton) on the major league roster for the entire 2011 season.


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7 Responses to “2011 Astros: Early Roster Predictions”

  1. Bob Hulsey Says:

    Good overview. I think I see some adjustments with the roster though. No problems with your outfielders, catchers, starting infielders or starting pitching. I don’t see Paredes winning a spot yet. Temporarily, Manzella will hold a position. I think one of the two Rule V picks will be offered back. It’s too early to say which one. Hiding two guys in the bullpen is a bit extravagant. Lefty Ryan Rowland-Smith will probably earn a spot and so will Mark Melancon, That means Wright or Fulchino may begin the year in Oklahoma City. Mills may also try 13 pitchers to begin the year and go with just one backup infielder but will switch to 12 when Keppinger is ready.

  2. Damo Leonetti Says:

    Bill: Thanks for your columns. I enjoy most of your slants.

    However…

    I still cannott believe that the former face of our franchise, Lance Berkman is no longer with us. Worst yet, he will be playing for our central rival Cardinals. I am a disappointed Astro fan and season ticket holder.
    I will not be able to attend any Cardinal games. I’ll have to deal with the conflict watching on TV.

    I would prefer Lance at first and a healthy Keppinger and Sanchez at second and short (those 2 are fundamentally sound and great team baseball players and, were very instrumental in our 2nd half push. With our re-emphsis on improved pitching, you need solid defenders up the middle. Blum could still be here. Your punch should be expected from Carlos, Hunter, Johnson, (Lance for me)/Wallace at 1B. If Lee needs to be there, Jason Michaels deserves to be an everyday player. He proved it, has some pop and is a good defender. Eventually, Castro will add some power.
    Sorry Bill, I’m not a big Ed Wade fan.
    Damon Leonetti

  3. RIOT Says:

    I just can’t see Mark Melancon not making this roster. There is a reason Wade aquired him as the main prospect in the Berkman trade. The guy can pitch. I see him eventually becoming the set up man this season and should be our closer of the future

  4. Raymond Says:

    Ed Figueroa? Is that Nelson Figueroa’s little brother or something? LOL!

    I’m with Bob, I don’t see Paredes making the team. I could see Bourgeois making the club if he can prove to be a capable 2B in addition to playing OF. I know what you were thinking – they need another LH bat off the bench but it appears it just won’t happen. I’m sure Wade will pick up a lefty hitting scrub who gets cut later this spring or in April.

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Raymond:

      Thanks for picking up my posting error on the roster. I’ve since corrected my mistake, making the change above from Ed to Nelson Figueroa, the guy who’s actually on our 2011 Astros roster. Ed Figueroa had an eight-year MLB pitching career (1974-1981), but I don’t think he was related to Nelson. If I’m wrong, I’ll be happy to stand corrected.

  5. baytown Says:

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