Bench: Paredes, Corporan, Elmore, Grossman
Rotation: Cosart, Peacock, Lyles, Wojo, Keuchel
Bullpen: Harrell, Cisnero, Oberholtzer, Wright, Zied, Lo, Crain
DFA: Laird, Crowe, Ed Gon, Ambriz, Blackley, Ely, Cruz, Fields
This prediction has only 1 free agent addition, closer Jesse Crain
. I could see Houston adding up to 4 free agents (SS as Villar insurance, an OF to legitimize the offense, a closer, and a veteran SP) to have trade chips and show improvement in the W column, not to mention ward off the 'integrity of the game' crowd that will crow incessantly about the minimal payroll (this prediction would have payroll around $25M). But given the large # of successful minor leaguers about to be eligible for the Rule 5 draft and the need to evaluate young players at the big league level, I went with just 1 addition, a RP that they can use to try and duplicate the Jose Veras
experience. For now, Wallace is showing he can play 1B everyday until Singleton is ready. Guys like Villar, Hoes, Springer, and Paredes will probably go through some struggles as they continue to adjust to big leagues, but the depth in the minors and their track record in AAA shows that they need to be given some patience. Corporan could be traded this offseason, as my current prediction has 4 Catchers on the 40 man, which would be very rare. SS and RF remain the main holes in the offense. The corner OF will be a healthy ST competition between Hoes, Martinez, Paredes, Grossman, Krauss, Barnes, Wates, Santana, and Tucker. Surely out of those 8 players, the FO can find 2 everyday COF's and a 4th OF. The backup SS battle between Marwin, Elmore, Mier, and Torreyes will be fun to watch, if they don't bring in a veteran like Clint Barmes
The rotation may be set going into the offseason if things continue through August and September the way they have over the last few weeks. Youngsters Oberholtzer, Lyles, Keuchel, Peacock, and Cosart all have a chance to solidify their rotation slots before the season ends. Harrell will likely re-enter the mix, and added in will be prospects White, Doran, Buchanan, Martinez, Owens, Clemens, and Ely. Lo, Zeid, and Cisnero appear to be establishing themselves in the bullpen, and it is unlikely that Wright gets moved. That leaves 1 RH slot open and 1 LH slot open, depending on what happens in the rotation. Chapman and Stoffel will be in the mix for those slots. But again, the bullpen is where I see them most likely to add a free agent.
Bench: Garcia, Perez, Mier, Lin
Rotation: Folty, White, Doran, Buchanan, LeBlanc, Martinez, Clemens, Owens
Bullpen: Chapman, Seaton, De Leon, Stoffel
Released: Clark, Simunic, Torrez, Wikoff, Sosa, Humber, Weiland, Urckfitz, Berger, Sogard, Escalona, Jose Martinez, Musick
Obviously this is a crapshoot until the MLB roster shakes out, but regardless this team should again feature a ton of talent. For now I have them carrying 3 catchers, which probably won't happen, and the OF will be a mystery until ST is over. I am showing Wates, Meyer, Mier, and Garcia as being left exposed to the Rule 5, and any one of them could be taken.
Bench: Hernandez, McCurdy, Sclafani, Johnson
Rotation: Appel, Tropeano, Rodgers, West, Rollins, Hauschild, Alaniz, Shirley
Bullpen: Geith, Lamb, Heidenreich, Ballew
Released: Robinson, Hallock, Dufek, Muren, Quevedo, Long, E Castro, Burgess
Another stacked roster and a very close offense to what Lancaster opened up with this year. I predict DeShields will see some time in CF. There are some really good prospects on the released list, but who do you take out? Alaniz and Shirley will be exposed to the Rule 5 and could get taken.
Bench: Elkins, Pena, Blasik, Scott
Rotation: McCullers, Smith, Velasquez, Jankowski, Hader, Westwood, Devenski, Cain
Bullpen: Bircher, Minor, Perez, Sanchez
Released: Walters, Gillingham, Perdomo, Cruz, Dimock, Perez, Wierzbicki
Another very talented roster. The OF could end up looking quite different from that, as could the rotation. Cruz would be a tough release.
Bench: Dineen, Rodriguez, Mayfield, Ramsey
Rotation: Thurman, Houser, Emanuel, Feliz, Bushue, Comer, Cotton, Morton
Bullpen: Holmes, Holley, Sanudo, Walter
Released: Cotton, Minaya, Lambson, Sanchez, Morales, Joyce, Gouvea, Zuloaga, Quezada, Genoves, Gominsky
A crap shoot, and really not a very exciting offense. OF at this level and below profiles as pretty weak right now. But that pitching staff will likely be the best in the league. There just isn't enough room on the pitching staff for all the guys in GV and TC that are having success. Fant, lee, Mills, Osborne, and many others very well could displace someone on my list above.
There will be a lot of good names left in EST; Nottingham and Ovando on offense and Musgrove, Nicely, and many others on the pitching side.
OF in A ball and SS will be weak.
The DSL team should be very good.
This will be the most interesting Rule 5 for Houston that I can remember.
A lot of pretty decent prospects will be released. Moreso than in any year this decade.
AA and AAA should be absolutely stacked on both sides of the ball.
The pitching depth in this system is pretty insane.
Breakout candidates: West, Rodgers, Alaniz, Batista, TeOscar Hernandez, Danry Vasquez
, Feliz, Thurman.