Non-Roster Invitees Who Could Make the Houston Astros Opening Night Roster
Brandon Laird was a non-roster invitee to the Houston Astros camp. Laird has been playing extremely well for the Astros so far this spring. With Spring Training winding down, he has hit .349 with five home runs and twelve RBI. The Astros have been hitting home runs like crazy this spring, leading the Grapefruit League with 39 home runs heading into the last week of Spring Training.
Laird, like I said, has been killing the ball. It will almost be impossible for the Astros to keep him off of their 25 man roster. The only problem is he is a non-roster invitee. That means he’s not on the 40-man roster, which essentially means the Astros will have to cut or send down two players to bring him up to the majors.
One of the guys who could be removed from the 25 man roster is Nate Freiman. I like Freiman, the only problem is he hasn’t played over the Double-A level yet in his early career. If the Astros plan to keep him, he will have to be on the major league roster all year long. If not, they will either have to trade someone to the San Diego Padres, the team he originally came from, or send him back to San Diego. Either one of those things will have to happen to get Laird on the roster.
The Astros must find a spot on their roster for Laird. You can’t make a case against the guy. If every spot on the roster is truly up for grabs, Laird should be grabbing one of those spots. The only problem he has going against him is the fact that both corner infield spots, his positions, are taken.
Another non-roster invitee I see making the Astros squad is Eric Bedard. I have thought all along he would be on the team. He is a left handed pitcher, which is what the Astros’ starting rotation needs, and he can be quite effective when he is healthy.
So far he is having a nice spring. He had one setback when he strained his gluteal muscle, but he has came back and pitched pretty nicely so far. I expect Bedard to be the fourth or fifth starter for the Astros rotation. I don’t think it is even question really.
One more player who is looking fantastic and is also a non-roster invitee is Rick Ankiel. I fully expect him to be on the team come opening night. He could be a nice power bat coming off of the bench for the Astros. He is left handed, which helps with platoon situations, and he has a cannon of a left arm.
The only way I don’t see Ankiel making the team is if Brandon Barnes makes the team.
With the Astros Spring Training winding down quickly, things are going to get extremely interesting down the stretch. I am anxious to see who makes it on the roster. Clearly, there are a quite a few players worthy.