Top-5 Options Houston Astros Have At First Base
Solving the First Base Problem
It’s a position that used to be on lockdown for the Houston Astros. For that matter, it’s a position that had been on lockdown for a couple decades, going from Jeff Bagwell to Lance Berkman. Now, it’s the position that is the most open.
Astros’ first basemen were terrible in 2013 on so many levels. They ranked 28th in batting average (.224) and were second in the league in strikeouts (219). It’s traditionally one of the core offensive producing positions, so those kinds of numbers are unacceptable. Granted they were middle of the pack as far as home runs and RBIs are concerned, there is still plenty of room for improvement.
While it’s an incredibly open position, they also have a bunch of different options available to fill the position. The only question that remains is which of their options is going to step up and assert himself as the preferable option.
WhenJose Abreu lept onto MLB-club's radars, including the Astros, he could have been seen as one possible solution, but even had he not signed with the Chicago White Sox, he wouldn't have cracked the list.
Brett Wallace doesn’t fit into the top-five options, either. He has been given every shot in the world to make the position his own, but he’s never been able to develop any semblance of consistency. His time as a Houston Astro may have expired when the 2013 season ended.
With those two names removed, here are the top-five first base options the Astros have.
5. Chris Carter
Chris Carter will be on the team again, his raw power is too much to leave off. But his strikeout numbers are atrocious. His sole goal this offseason should be improving on strikeouts. That’s it. Everything else will gradually come along if he just cuts down on the huge holes in his swing. Carter falls at No. 5 because he’s more likely to be DHing and playing left field. Even in 2013, less than half his at-bats came as a first baseman.
4. Japhet Amador
The huge Mexican League slugger has insane numbers in Mexico. His inclusion in the Astros’ 2014 roster will likely depend largely on how he fares in the Arizona Fall League and Spring Training. He has to prove that he can put up numbers in American baseball before he can be considered a serious candidate. Even then, he may find a more likely roster spot as a DH, given his 315-pound frame.
3. Someone Not Currently On The Roster
There are a lot of options out there. Guys like James Loney and Corey Hart are the headliners while Lance Berkman may have a very small chance for a return to Houston to end his career. Loney and Hart will fetch a hefty price, but would be worth it if the Astros feel that their other options just can’t produce.
2. Jason Castro
If the Astros follow through with their aim to preserve their All-Star catchers’ health via a move to first base, he would be a very viable option to fill the void. His offensive numbers leave no questions unanswered. The very idea of having him healthy for an entire season should be enough to seriously consider making him a first baseman first and foremost. The only problem that may remain is who will fill his shoes behind the plate.
1. Jonathan Singleton
No surprises here. Jonathan Singleton is the heir apparent in Houston, as well as the No. 1 first base prospect in the league. But he’s getting to the age where he needs to start putting up MLB numbers. In all likelihood, had he not been stuck with a 50-game suspension to start the 2013 campaign, he already would be the starting first baseman and this entire article never would have happened.