Welcome back to the Astros’ spring training performance chart, which is its new working title, I am open to suggestions though. Anyways, this second edition responds to the performances of the second and third spring training games. The list has expanded to twenty player’s who are performing well, and five who are not. Also, a bit of news, Jason Castro , Houston’s 2008 first round pick and top prospect made an appearance in the latest spring game; he went 0 for one playing from the sixth on. Also, Miguel Tejada will be playing in the WBC, flip-flopper, which will give more playing time to potential utility infielders like Edwin Maysonet, Tommy Manzella, Jason Smith , and Drew Sutton – of course we all know I would like Geoff Blum to be the utility infielder but, more on that when we get to the number one performer... which is just about now, enjoy, discuss.
Astros Spring Training Performance Chart
1. Chris Johnson 3B Previous Rank (PR): 2 +1
I love Chris Johnson. A third basemen, who can field, and hit for average and power, YAY! [Cough] Cooper [cough] start him! [Cough] start him! Johnson has an OPS of 2.350 after three games, and leads the team with seven total bases in only four at bats… yeah, yeah, small sample size. I just like seeing this young guy hit. If Johnson can be a productive third baseman this year, it would allow Geoff Blum to fill in on the bench, and become the super utility guy. He would also give Houston a solid bat off the bench, something I feel they will be lacking if Blum starts. Anyways, I hope to continue writing Johnson’s name at the top of this list all spring - thus far he has been very impressive. I should note that even if Johnson has a tremendous spring it does not assure him the starting gig…also, what if Johnson is more Towles then Pence?
2. Russ Ortiz RHP PR : 1 -1
Ortiz only slips because of Johnson’s continued superb play. Ortiz pitched two scoreless innings striking out three batters in Houston’s first spring training game. I believe Monday will be his next appearance.
3. Brandon Backe RHP PR : Not Ranked (NR)
Backe topped the other list yesterday but, answered right back with a solid two innings. He falls one spot below Ortiz because Ortiz seemed more dominant during his outing. Backe allowed one hit, and also struck out one for a very good first outing. I am very interested to see these two battle for the fifth rotation spot. It is good to see two quality candidates.
4. Roy Oswalt RHP PR: NR
He’s only behind the other two pitchers because he is not fighting for a roster spot, and I figured I should focus on those types. Oswalt dominated the first inning of yesterday’s spring training game , striking out the side. However, he lost control of his curveball later in the outing, and allowed a couple of runs, still overall he performed very well – he only allowed one hit, and one walk despite the two runs. Oswalt will leave Astros camp to join team USA for the WBC so, he is unlikely to reappear on this list… unless he completely dominates the WBC!
5. Miguel Tejada SS PR: NR
Here come the superstars! Tejada was one for two with a double, rbi and two runs scored batting fifth – his likely lineup spot for most of the season. Tejada will play for the DR in the WBC, which I think is good because it will give us an extended look at some younger players.
6. Hunter Pence OF PR: NR
Pence did not log a hit but, he did have two walks and did not strikeout, he also stole a base. The two walks encourage me because I would like to see Pence play towards the top of the order.
7. Carlos Lee OF PR: NR
Lee also did not log a hit but, he too walked twice, he did however strikeout but, scored two runs – admittedly the two runs scored make Lee’s stat line more appealing but, two walks from Pence is huge from my standpoint considering his usual poor discipline, and was one of the few highlights from today’s game. Lee will also be leaving for the WBC, playing for Venezuela.
8. Drew Sutton 2B/3B PR: 4 -4
Sutton has three hits this spring and has scored two runs as well. However, he has only played second, and third base, and I would like to see him at shortstop since he is auditioning for the utility job, which would require him backing up Tejada once every two weeks or so. Sutton should spend a good amount of time there since Tejada will be out of camp.
9. Mike Hampton RHP PR : 3 -6
Yes, six spots is a big drop, especially considering Hampton has not played since I ranked him third but, one, many players have been added to the list, as they have made their spring debuts, and two, the more I have thought about it, the more I disliked Hampton’s lack of command in his start. Hampton pitched two scoreless innings hitting the first batter and walking the next two. That is just too many base runners for my taste – Hampton also struck out two batters.
10. Jason Smith INF PR : 6 -4
RBI triple in the first game. Smith is also the only utility candidate to play shortstop, and not allow an error.
11. Wesley Wright LHP PR: 12 +1
Wright now has two innings pitched in relief, and an ERA of 0, he has allowed two hits, and one unearned run.
12. J.R. Towles C PR: 7 -5
Towles is still the only catcher with a hit – Humberto Quintero went 0 for three yesterday.
13. Reggie Abercrombie OF PR: 5 -8
Abercrombie has two extra base hits, two rbis, and five total bases, he should probably be higher ‘I have made a huge mistake.’ (What TV show?)
14. Michael Bourn OF PR: 8 -6
He is now one for five with a double, rbi, strikeout, walk, and stolen base.
15. Bud Norris RHP PR: NR
Houston’s top pitching prospect threw a perfect inning which included two strikeouts.
16. Tyler Lumsden PR: NR
Lumsden’s inning was also scoreless, and he struck out two batters but, he also walked a guy, and later picked him off.
17. Geoff Geary RHP PR : 9 -8
Geary still has one scoreless inning with one hit allowed.
18. Samuel Gervacio RHP PR : 10
One inning pitched, Gervacio allowed one walk, and struck out a batter.
19. Tim Byrdak LHP PR : 11
Byrdak is another one scoreless inning reliever; his included a walk, and a hit, so he falls after the previous four.
20. Mark Saccamanno 1B PR: 14
Saccamanno is one for four with a triple, run scored, and strikeout. However, his value his limited because he is not a suitable backup at third. He is very much like Mike Lamb .
The Bad List
1. Gilbert De La Vara LHP
De La Vara’s chances of making the team just got slimmer. De La Vara allowed two runs in one and two thirds innings allowing two hits, a walk, and a homerun blowing the save yesterday.
2. Sergio Perez RHP
Perez allowed four hits which turned into four runs, two earned, in ZERO registered innings. However, Perez falls below De La Vara on this list because he [Perez] did not have a real shot of making the club out of spring training , and if De La Vara does not, he is out of the organization since he was chosen in the rule V draft.
3. Aaron Boone 3B/1B
Two words: CHRIS JOHNSON! Going 0 for five thus far this spring also does not help.
4. Yordany Ramirez OF
0 for four with two strikeouts, Ramirez is falling far behind Reggie Abercrombie and Jason Michaels in competition for the fifth outfielder job.
5. Edwin Maysonet INF
He is the only utility candidate without a hit (Smith, Tommy Manzella, and Drew Sutton all have at least one) and he now has an error just like Manzella.