Every year in spring training, we get our hopes up for a truly surprising roster move at the end. At one point last decade, that move was Shane Reynolds getting cut out of the blue. Another time, it was Humberto Quintero and Jason Bourgeois getting traded for actual value.
In this series, we'll look at a few players who's presence on the Opening Day roster would be a real surprise. Maybe they are not the most surprising players. Those would go to the guys who are young, just drafted or haven't played above Low A ball. It's also excluding older, non-roster invitees like Danny Worth or Neal Cotts.
No, these guys have shots at the roster, but for whatever reason, they're probably not going to make it. If they did, we'd be shocked for different reasons. Instead of inflicting this on you in one long list, we spread it out over different posts. First up? Tyler White.
Let's walk through the math, which will be valuable for all the rest of our discussions.
There are 25 spots on the Opening Day roster (duh). We know many of the starters already, because these players are either computer-generated superplayers (Correa), have long-term or big-money contracts or have otherwise earned spots.
We also could play games with someone like Evan Gattis going to the DL, but honestly, that only fixes the problem for a week or two. It would be a huge cheat if White or anyone else on this list got on the Opening Day list only to be sent down for El Oso Blanco once he's ready to DH full-time.
If we assume the Astros will have 13 position players and 12 pitchers, that leaves us with two open spots on the position side. One will go to the backup catcher. The other will go to who?
The reason White would be surprising is that he's not on the 40-man roster. The Astros could add him fairly easily. They have a tiny bit of fat on that 40-man. Yet, he creates less roster flexibility than the Astros probably would like.
If White makes the team, it leaves just one other infielder (Marwin) backing up all three of third, short and second base. It leaves just one extra outfielder to sub for oft-injured players like Rasmus, Gomez and Springer.
In short, it doesn't sound like a move the Astros would make unless they really believe in White. In fact, I think if White makes this team, it would be because Jon Singleton doesn't. That would also be a surprising thing, since we've gone most of the offseason with first being Gator's job to lose.
Yet, White seems like he deserves a spot. Look at this exchange from the weekly Klawchat:
Scott: Tyler White going to get a legit shot at 1B in Hou? If no does he have any path to at bats short of a trade?
Klaw: Guy just hits everywhere he’s played. They’d be fools not to give him a shot, and they are not fools in Houston.
I couldn't agree more. White being on the team wouldn't be a surprise. What they have to do to get White on the team would be surprising.