Hot Stove Pickins’ #1: 2016 Astros Roster

Who will be taking the field for the Astros in 2016?

Who will be taking the field for the Astros in 2016?


Between now and Opening Day next April, a lot of change may occur in today’s picture. If the Astros were going into the start of next season now, however, here is The Pecan Park Eagle’s first humble brush on who has to be back as  the foundation of our hopes and what we would to see happen to make the club stronger. Here’s the general plan that guides our thinking in November 2015:

  1. The Untouchables. Six players are vital to 2016, even though only two of the six names we show in our chart below in bold type (Altuve and Correa) have proven already that we need to hold on to them until the day of their Cooperstown inductions to achieve success.
  2. Essential Acquirements. We need a serious upgrade at 3rd base and 1st base – and we wouldn’t finding, if they exist, a catcher who could play offense and defense at a high level.
  3. Contact Hitters; their resume’ sign reads: “Will single for work!” We need some table-setter hitters who can put the ball in play and steal bases and not be so dependent upon power hitters that strike out too much. (More plainly said, we need the kind of lineup that Kansas City used to beat us in the top of the 8th at MMP in Game 4 of the ALDS.
  4. Patch Pitching Holes. We need another top-level proven starter; a scary fast closer with a good change-up and control; and a better job from the middle relievers in finding outs – not bats.
  5. George Springer needs to stay healthy and rise above mediocre bat production to take his rightful place along side Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa as the only three truly untouchable career “Three Amigos” among our Astros.

As I said earlier, the following is only a first look at the immediate future from our “Eagle’s Eye” location. Only the keepers for 2016 are shown in bold type. All others may be subject to change via trade or changes we cannot yet see from this time distance to spring. I didn’t say much before about Joel Castro, but we do really wish that the guy who is evolving into one of best catchers with the softest hands in the game were not also on the opposite course of becoming one of the worst hitters in baseball at the same time.

One more thing – if you are looking for a familiar name on the following projected roster that you don’t see – please rest assured that their absence from sight or discussion here is not result of accident nor the consequence of forgetfulness. Sometimes the absence of words is a more stronger statement than a “stick-a-fork-in-him-he’s-done” dissertation.

Our Early Pickins’ Look at the Resources and Needs of of the 2016 Houston Astros on 11/16/2015:

5 Starting Pitchers

  1. Dallas Keuchel (BL/TL) (20-8. 2.48)
  2. Colin McHugh (BR/TR) (19-7, 3.89)
  3. (To Be Determined) -maybe Scott Kazmier; but probably a new steady guy, by trade or free agency
  4. Lance McCullers (BL/TR) (6-7, 3.22
  5. Mike Fiers (7-10, 3.69) or Scott Feldman (5-5, 3.90)

5 Relief Pitchers

  1. Tony Sipp (BL/TL) (3-4, 1.99) – if he will sign as a free agent with the Astros
  2. pick one, sign one, trade for one
  3. pick one, sign one, trade for one
  4. Set up man – Luke Gregerson (BL/TR) (7-3, 3.10) (31 Sv)
  5. Closer – Find him. Burner preferred.

2 Catchers        

  1. Jason Castro (.211 BA, 11 HR)
  2. Hank Conger (.229, 11 HR)

6 Infielders

  1. 1st Base ~ Find One, Pick One, Sign One, Trade for One
  2. Jose Altuve (.313, 15 HR) … DUH!
  3. 3rd Base ~ Find One, Pick One, Sign One, Trade for One
  4. Carlos Correa (.279, 22 HR) … DUH AGAIN!
  5. Luis Valbuena (.224, 25 HR) 3b-1b
  6. Marwin Gonzalez (.279, 12 HR) utility
  7. Jed Lowrie, (.222, 9 HR) utility

6 Outfielders

  1. George Springer (.276, 16 HR)
  2. Colby Rasmus (.238, 25 HR)
  3. Carlos Gomez (.255, 12 HR)
  4. Preston Tucker (.243, 13 HR)
  5. Jake Marisnick (.232, 13 HR)
  6. Robbie Grossman and L.J. Hoes are the leading candidates for the wide-open 6th OF spot – or even possibilities for taking away the 4th or 5th spots from Tucker and Marisnick.

1 Designated Hitter

  1. Evan Gattis (.246, 27 HR)






One Response to “Hot Stove Pickins’ #1: 2016 Astros Roster”

  1. Fred Soland Says:

    Bill, a couple of thoughts on your roster breakdown:

    I really think you will need to carry an 11 man pitching staff.
    They will utilize a 5 man rotation. You will need 1 swingman.
    You will need preferably 1 LH and 2 RH specialist.
    Then 1 set up man and 1 closer.

    You will carry 2 catchers, although I doubt Jason Castro will be back.

    You will carry 6 infielders, 5 OF, 1DH

    That is how I see the roster comprised.

    While it would be a great luxury to keep Jed Lowrie, I am not sure they are going to eat that much salary for a utility bench player. If he is the 3B to start the season, fine, but we need a true power bat there, and Lowrie is not him. Valbuena has reasonable pop, but he is hit or miss and we need more consistency there. I would get rid of him. Marwin Gonzales is a reasonable utility man. First base needs a cleansing. Carter needs to be gone. They have a lot invested in Singleton, but it is time for him to step up and produce or we have to go find a replacement. Preston Tucker is a possibility.

    The OF is fairly set with Springer, Rasmus, Gomez, Tucker (if not at 1B), and Marisnick. I don’t see much need for change here. Grossman is a pipe dream and I don’t see him producing consistently at the major league level.

    As I mentioned earlier, I don’t see Castro returning to Houston, so we will have to determine if Max Stassi is ready, or do we go find another catcher to pair with Conger.

    The pitching staff is a mess. The starters are Keuchel, McHugh, McCullers, Fiers and one other. I doubt Kazmir is coming back. I believe Feldman has one more year and could be the plug in if they don’t land a starter. I don’t see Jim Crane paying for David Price, regardless of Dallas Keuchel’s wooing. I would see if they could pry Jonathan Niese away from the Mets, unless the Mets decide to trade Harvey, in which case Niese would not be dealt. Another possibility is they take the training wheels off of Appel and make hit the fifth starter, moving Feldman to the swingman role.

    Gregerson is not a closer. He is the ideal set up man. I am of the opinion they should consider making Velasquez a closer. He has plenty of heat and he is young and could grow into the role. If not him, I agree, they need some high octane in the closer’s role.
    The set up guys are going to be based on what they can scavenge.
    If Sipp wants to return, fine. None of the rest of our staff including Neshack does much for me. This is a glaring need, as are the two infield corners.

    At least, that is how I see it.

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