A week and a half into 2023 Spring Training, Houston’s infield picture remains unchanged.
It’s really a case of no news is good news for the Astros and their infield picture. The only questions we collectively had going into Spring Training was maybe the backup catcher, who will start in center field, and maybe who’s the eighth guy in the bullpen. The only real infield competition is for the utility role, and we knew before spring training it was likely to be David Hensley and Mauricio Dubón.
J.J. Matijevic: six games, four-for-10, one double, one homer, two runs, six RBI, one walk, two strikeouts.
Jordan Brewer: three games, one-for-four, one homer, one run, one RBI, two strikeouts.
David Hensley: six games, three-for-11, two homers, three runs, three RBI, three walks, four strikeouts, two stolen bases
José Abreu: five games, two-for-12, one double, one homer, two runs, two RBI, two walks, two strikeouts
Luke Berryhill: two games, 0-for-3, one walk
Matijevic is making a strong push to try and make the opening day roster, especially with his five RBI game on March 3 in an 11-8 win over the Braves. Hensley is having an equally strong spring, with a .429 OBP in a small sample size.
Rylan Bannon: six games, three-for-12, one homer, one run, one RBI, two walks, one strikeout, two stolen bases
Grae Kessinger: seven games, three-for-11, one double, one homer, two runs, two RBI, three walks, one strikeout
Jose Altuve: five games, two-for-14, three runs, one RBI, two walks, six strikeouts
Shay Whitcomb: five games, two-for-11, one RBI, five strikeouts, one stolen base
J.C. Correa: two games, 0-for-3
Despite Altuve’s slow start, it’s impossible to imagine an opening-day roster that he misses (barring injury). If he’s healthy, there’s a 100 percent chance he’s the starter on March 30 against the White Sox.
Will Wagner: five games, four-for-10, two doubles, two runs, three RBI, two strikeouts
Tyler Whitaker: five games, two-for-nine, two runs, one RBI, four strikeouts
Alex Bregman: three games, three-for-eight, two doubles
Joe Perez: six games, 0-for-12, six strikeouts
Whitaker has struggled with his pitch recognition through his first professional seasons, but don’t forget that he’s only 20-years-old. He’s on a pretty good track to debut in the majors before he’s 23.
Mauricio Dubón: six games, three-for-12, one double, one walk, one strikeout, one stolen base
Leosdany Molina: five games, one-for-eight, one homer, one run, one RBI, six strikeouts
Dixon Machado: six games, two-for-nine, two walks, one strikeout
Jeremy Peña: five games, three-for-16, one triple, two runs, two RBI, three strikeouts
Cristian Gonzalez: five games, one-for-10, one walk, five strikeouts
Abreu, Altuve, Peña, Bregman. Those names are written in ink. Dubón and Hensley remain the odds-on favorite to serve in the backup roles, but are almost assured locks. Matijevic, Kessinger, and Wagner will continue to push their way into the conversation.