September marks an expansion of major league rosters to 40. We asked our fine writers what we thought was going to happen with the Astros September callups.
Who should the Astros call up in September? Who should they not, if any, and why?
Preston Tucker, Josh Fields, Kevin Chapman, Brett Oberholtzer, Michael Feliz, Jon Singleton and L.J. Hoes.
Tucker and Fields are obvious, and they get significant playing time. Chapman gives you another LOOGY, Oberholtzer is a long man, and Feliz could be used here or there out of the pen when you want someone to come in and just throw some heat. If Valbuena starts struggling, Singleton could fill in. Hoes can be a spot starter against southpaws and pinch hit against them occasionally.
Looking at the 40-man roster though, I'd love them to boot some of the baggage (Luis Cruz, Brad Peacock, Samuel Deduno) for guys like James Hoyt and Tyler White.
I was going to answer, but Brian took all my words. Literally verbatim to my would've-been answer. With one caveat: I think Singleton should be starting the vast majority of games at first base, and I think Tucker should start the vast majority at DH. If they do cut some of the 40 man baggage and get White up here, I'd find at bats for him too. But ignoring utilization and focusing on the actual promotions themselves, Brian's targets - and the logic behind them - I agree with/echo completely.
I'd like to point out that, as of this writing (prior to the final game in August), Valbuena has an OPS of .813 this month. Meanwhile Singleton has managed a .627 OPS in August, and that's in AAA. I would definitely not want him to take ABs from Valbuena at this point.
Also, you know, Singleton hasn't proven once that he can hit in the majors.
In all of his ample opportunities...
The Rangers are three games back of us with a month to go in the first pennant race we've been in since 2008. Now is not the time to be inserting a guy who is currently looking lost against Triple-A pitching into a place where we're currently getting above-average production.
Philosophically, I agree with you. And I bet so does the Astros front office. If 2015 were 2014, I'd bet that Singleton would have gotten a long look at first base. But, 2015 being 2015 with the Astros in a serious playoff race and Singleton struggling on the farm, there's just no justification for it.
Even considering Lowrie's struggles, and the fact that Valbuena's bat can be utilized in other spots on the field?
Oh, Lowrie has definitely been bad in August. But Singleton, as Brian points out, has a .627 OPS in the month of August in Fresno. He's hitless in seven of his last nine games, and has just three multi-hit games over the last month.
And yes, I consider him a valuable part of the lineup. What he's doing at the plate this month is essentially what he did last year with the Cubs, the reason we traded for him.
And I don't even know that I would just immediately throw Tucker in there every day, either. Springer will be back within a week, and he and Gomez will play every day. That leaves one spot for Tucker, Rasmus and Marisnick. They may platoon Marisnick and Tucker. Heck, they may just say "you know, who cares if he doesn't hit consistently? We're just going to play Marisnick every day with Gomez and Springer and let our pitchers enjoy having the greatest defensive outfield ever assembled behind them."
I would consider platooning Tucker with Gattis, but I don't think he has shown that he should be used as a full time player down the stretch of a pennant race. I suspect that the Astros look at other types of splits besides just handedness in making game to game starting decisions, by the way.
I don't think the defensive difference is huge.
I'd take Lowrie over just about anyone on our team outside of the obvious like Correa or Springer. Mainly, I have no faith in Luis Valbuena whatsoever...even with his stats normalizing right now.
I really don't see the Astros leaving Rasmus out of the lineup very much, particularly against RHPs. In a corner OF position, the defensive difference between Rasmus and Marisnick is insignificant...but that not true relative to Tucker.
Lowrie since returning from injury: .159/.239/.256. And 0-for-last-26.
Watching the last few innings of the Padres' win over the Rangers, it seemed like an Astros reunion. Brett Wallace was playing 3d base, and Bud Norris was pitching relief for the Padres. Norris, by the way, looked pretty good out of the bullpen, consistently hitting 95 mph.
He always was a reliever pretending to be a starter.
Fields is a no-brainer, and I think Tucker will be back up too. As much as I'd like to see them call up Hoyt, he's not on the 40-man, so I don't see that happening. With Fresno going to the playoffs, I don't see the Astros cannibalizing that team just to bring up guys like Singleton or Straily or Oberholtzer, mostly because those three guys probably won't have much impact on the Astros' playoff chase anyway. After the AAA playoffs, I could see Singleton and Straily coming up. So, final answer, I think they bring up Tucker and Fields, with a later-in-month callups of Singleton, Straily, and Feliz.
My guess is that Oberholtzer and Singleton would be the call ups after the AAA playoffs. It just seems to me that both would have some value to the big league club, with Singleton providing some LH pinch hit ability and Obie providing a LHP option either out of the bullpen or in relief. I just don't see what Strailey's role would be.
My only thought is that Straily could be used to reduce arm burden on LMC and VV - spread the workload. Fields will help, but there's no real reason to not recall Straily, so I think they will.