Houston Astros Spring Training: Ranking the Top 5 Standouts So Far
Houston Astros Spring Training: Top 5 Standout Players So Far
So far the Houston Astros have played a handful of games in the Grapefruit League this spring. It is certainly too early to tell who will be on the lineup card let alone the 25-man roster for Bo Porter once the season starts. With a decent mix of young players and veterans, decisions still need to be made which is why spring training is so exciting.
The Astros were not good last year. They had an extremely low payroll and traded many of their more highly regarded players to go on an all out rebuild. It is a work in progress, but seeing some of the players who remain step up it can give the Astros and their fans a chance to be optimistic.
One of the players the Astros brought in to help the cause was Dexter Fowler. Trading away Jordan Lyles and Brandon Barnes to get him, the organization is putting a lot of faith in him to lead this team. Unfortunately Fowler has not made this list yet. Things can change as spring training moves on once players get into their respective grooves. Just falling short as well is former All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve. It is almost just a matter of time until he gets into regular season form.
So who made the list? I can tell you that three weren't expected to break camp with the Astros going into the spring which is a nice problem to have for the Astros' staff. So they aren't household names yet but certainly can be once the season ends.
Here are the top five players so far.
5. Marwin Gonzalez, SS
Marwin Gonzalez came to Houston by way of a trade with the Boston Red Sox back in 2011. He has over 150 games of MLB experience and hasn't enjoyed too much success. In competition with several players, Gonzalez will most likely start the season in AAA, but he is putting forth a good effort so far. This spring Gonzalez is 4-for-12 with two doubles and two runs batted in. It will be difficult for Gonzalez to be the Astros' shortstop with Jonathan Villar and Cesar Izturis in camp as well.
4. Chia-Jen Lo, P
Chia-Jen Lo signed with the Houston Astros as a free agent back in 2008. Making his MLB debut last season, Lo pitched in 19 games with the big club and had 19.1 innings of work. He struck out 16 but allowed 14 hits and walked 13 batters. Obviously those numbers won't allow you much success, but so far this spring Lo has pitched two innings allowing only one hit while walking none and striking out three. Lo is another player who might not make the team out of camp, but he is certainly making a strong case so far.
3. Michael Foltynewicz, P
The next player on the list has yet to make his MLB debut. His highest level in the minor leagues so far was in Double-A with the Corpus Christi Hooks. Michael Foltynewicz was a first-round draft pick in the 2010 draft. His best professional season so far came in 2012 while pitching for the Lexington Legends. He picked up 14 wins with an ERA of 3.14. So far this spring with the Astros, Foltynewicz has pitched in two games, going four innings allowing just one hit. “Folty” is another player who isn't quite ready for the jump, but he is giving the Houston staff something to think about.
2. Robbie Grossman, LF
One of the best things about being part of an organization that is in a full rebuild stage is that everyone will certainly get the opportunity to play. Robbie Grossman made his MLB debut last season with the Astros in early April and played in 63 games. Hitting .268 last season is something to grow on, and it appears that he might have done enough work. Grossman is projected as the Astros' starting left fielder for the upcoming season. In his limited time so far this spring, Grossman is 4-for-7 with two doubles and a RBI.
1. Marc Krauss, LF
So far this spring the player who has stood out the most on a roster that really isn't performing too well is Marc Krauss. The Houston Astros acquired Krauss in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks back in 2012. Making his MLB debut this past season, Krauss didn't do all too well, hitting .209 in 52 games. He did have four home runs but struck out a lot as most young players do. This spring Krauss is 5-for-11 with a home run and two RBIs. His possible fit in the lineup as an extra outfielder may be at designated hitter. Keeping his strikeouts down is imperative if he and the rest of the team want to improve.