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Opening Day Surprise Candidates: No. 3 Tyler Heineman

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In this spring of knowledge, who could surprise us by going west in April?

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

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 andJason 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. Last time, we talked about Tyler White. Next up? Tyler Heineman.

Tyler Heineman

Backup catcher is another spot that isn't really settled. After the Astros traded away Hank Conger, they left an opening for one of a number of guys to step into. The leader in the clubhouse are probably the two guys on the 40-man roster: Max Stassi and Alfredo Gonzalez.

The Astros wouldn't have to go through the elaborate roster math to get Heineman on the roster, but he still needs to be added to the 40-man, which would probably require one of the other catchers to be dropped from it. In that case, the Astros lose some depth at a position where they can't necessarily afford to lose it.

Jason Castro is likely on the free agent market after this season. He's also not exactly a picture of health. Ditto Max Stassi who has only topped 400 at-bats in a season once.

The other reason that Stassi is likely the backup candidate is he's out of options. To get sent to the minors, he'd have to pass through waivers. At this time of year, teams probably snap him up, again eroding depth.

In other words, for a guy like Heineman to make the roster, the Astros would have to make some pretty definitive bets on the rest of their roster, making the decision to add him quite surprising.