TCB's (soon to be sponsored) Players of the Week is back. Who are this week's honorees?
Hitter of the Week: OF Jason Bourgeois - In 16 at-bats this week, Bourgeois hit .438/.524/.563 with two runs scored, two RBIs, two steals, was hit by two pitches and struck out three times. Of course, his week ended with a injury that will keep him out an undisclosed amount of time. That's one of the reasons why Bourgeois ends up here and on the down side of the stock watch later on.
Pitcher of the Week: LHP Wandy Rodriguez - In his only appearance last week, Rodriguez struck out seven batters in four innings against the Nationals. Wandy allowed four hits and two runs, both on solo home runs.
Defender of the Week: Incomplete - I didn't get to listen to enough games this week to make an informed decision. Let's throw this one open to the readers. Who do you think deserves to be DOW?
Astros players who are on the rise or on the decline:
RHP Felipe Paulino, rising: It looks like Paulino has won the fifth starter's job, for better or for worse. The way the Astros schedule breaks down early in the season, the team won't need a fifth starter until the second week of the season. New pitching coach Brad Arnsberg seems to have faith in Paulino and that might be enough to keep him in the rotation.
RHP Brian Moehler,
1B Lance Berkman,
RHP Brandon Lyon,
SS Tommy Manzella,
RHP Alberto Arias, stop order: What's more troubling? The fact that Arias has been out since the second week of camp is bad enough. Now, when he finally returned from his "strained trap" to throw live BP, there are reports of a drop in velocity. The Astros are sending him for an MRI just in case. We have no way of knowing if there is a more serious injury here, but if there is, at least it's a position where the Astros have ample guys to fill the gaps.
RHP Bud Norris, dropping: This isn't about his performance (much), but more about his bout of the stomach flu that scratched him from a start Friday and might have affected him Sunday when he gave up five hits, five earned runs and two homers. If he was still feelng the effects of the flu, Norris only lasting 1 2/3 innings when he was supposed to go four isn't bad. If the reports of lost velocity and too many pitches up in the zone were the real reasons...
OF T.J. Steele, on the rise: Out of all the prospects in the lower half of the system, Steele has gotten the most burn. Since he's a college draftee and fairly advanced, it's not surprising. After all, Jason Castro was in a similar situation and is competing for a starting job. The fact that Steele started in center on Sunday was also encouraging and must mean Brad Mills is starting to get comfortable with his skill set.
OF Cory Sullivan, rising slightly: Sullivan had a good week, and that might have won him a spot on the roster. He's still got one thing that the other guys locked in this competition don't (the whole left-handed thing), and now that he's hitting a little, I'm sure the Astros will feel better about keeping him on the roster for that very reason.
OF Jason Bourgeois, dropping: Like I said above, it's hard to say that a guy who was HOW could be dropping, but I get the sense that's what's happening with Bourgeois. He may be ticketed for Triple-A no matter what, but the good news is that with Jose Vallejo's injury, there's an everyday spot for him at second base in Round Rock (if he wants to play there). He's still got a shot to make the team, but his odds are growing longer by the day.
SS Edwin Maysonet, rising slightly: With Manzella's injury, Maysonet has been the one to set up in his void at short. If Berkman starts the season on the DL, I'm thinking it's more and more likely that Maysonet takes his roster spot instead of a guy like Chris Shelton. It's also encouraging that any misconceptions about Maysonet's attitude seem to have left with the old coaching staff.