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Who Will Be the 26th Man in Mexico, and What Will it Tell Us?

MLB: Spring Training-Houston Astros at Atlanta Braves Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Astros play a day game today in Minny, where it should be a balmy 60 degrees, before a rare Friday off day. According to MLB rules, one can add a 26th player for international games, but that player can’t be a pitcher. That would have been the obvious move, since the team has only 7 BP arms.

Who will Luhnow call up for two games in Mexico against the Angels? In order to tame the fever around Yordan-mania, Hinch said that it would be somebody from the 40 man. No Alvarez! Cue the #Losenow memes. That leaves four players: Garrett Stubbs, Myles Straw, Kyle Tucker, and Derek Fisher. (I’m not even going to mention the guy whose name rhymes with SEED.) The Angels will feature two RHP, so it’s unlikely that Straw gets the call. Given Tucker’s struggles, he seems unlikely. Stubbs would be a surprise, only because he offers less as a hitter than would any of the OF options, although at this point he’d surely improve on Stasi. That leaves Derek Fisher, the most forgotten of Astro prospects.

The former top 100 prospect has mostly toiled in the shadow of the massive Alvarez in Round Rock. After a mostly lost 2018, Fisher reminded us of his talent in Spring Training, where he looked like an MLBer. In Round Rock this year, he’s slashing 296/380/568. That’s 29% above PCL average. His BABIP is identical to last year, when he only posted a wRC+ of 113. What’s new with Fisher? Through 92 PAs he’s striking out less, but hitting with more power. His K rate is down from 31% to a manageable 25%, but his ISO is up from .184 to .272.

That’s my pick, and I’m sticking with it. Let Fisher start one of the two games. But what will Luhnow’s pick tell us? If he picks Straw, it will tell us that the 26th man isn’t getting a start. If he picks Stubbs, the leash on Max is probably getting shorter. And if he picks Tucker, it means he wants to troll the Alvarez boosters. Regardless, the season is almost 20% done, and I’m excited to see a new Astro.