Found March 30, 2012 on
Fox Sports Houston:
While Opening Day is only a week away and there will be a lot written and said about the 25 man first game active roster, the bigger question is how many Astros will there be this season?
Even teams that go wire to wire in winning pennants don't finish the season with the same 25 that started it. A team that is coming off a 106 loss season with a number of new faces and a significant number of talented minor leaguers only a phone call away can expect a number of changes during the year.
Most of the roster changes deal with pitchers. For one thing there are more of them than any other position on a major league roster. They also are the most fragile. A sore arm for a pitcher is much worse than a sore arm for an outfielder. The latter can still perform unless something is actually broken or torn. A pitcher can't.
This doesn't even consider effectiveness of those pitchers. Just being a smidgen off in command over a period of time often results in a ticket to Oklahoma City and a replacement heading to Houston.
Then there is the spectre of possible trades. It is no secret that high priced vet pitchers like Brett Myers, Brandon Lyon and Wandy Rodriguez will be in the store and hanging on the shelves for sale if the right buyer (or trade partner) comes along.
If the Astros start the season with twelve pitchers it would not be a surprise if double that many actually spend time on the club.
As for the everyday and backup players, performance will go a long way in their hanging around. First baseman Carlos Lee is on the same "sale rack" as Myers, Lyon and Wandy Rodriguez. Other players have some possible replacements in the minor leagues. There is some pressure for young players like J.D. Martinez, Chris Johnson, Jose Altuve, Brian Bogusevic, Jordan Schafer and Jason Castro to perform well as soon as they can. None of them have established themselves as major league every day regulars so they have no track record to go by. That is not bad. Many big league clubs bury themselves early waiting for the vets to perform up to level. When they finally come around the club is too far behind.
As recently as last year the latter was a factor in the Astros 106 losses. Carlos Lee got off to a horrid start and Hunter Pence was not rolling for the first month of the season. It made a difference. Pence got going, but Lee was off his normal level all season. His strong finish was meaningless in the pennant race. The Astros were already done.
With the makeup of the Astros in 2012 General Manager Jeff Luhnow will have much more lee way to make some changes earlier if needed. Several position players and a number of young pitchers will be in Oklahoma City and Corpus Christi. It is not hard to imagine many of them being Astros during the season. Those that were on the 40 man roster and sent downusing one of their waiver yearsare already on the clock and can be recalled with no penalty. Players who have not been on the 40 man roster may be less likely to get a call mid season unless the club feels they are ready and the use of options may not be a factor.
The Astros have some of those type players. In recent years that has not been the case. Top prospects were "protected" as the team was very cognizant of extending the number of "control" years while those players were given more chance to develop. A secondary factor is keeping the arbitration clock from starting to tick when there is still question how good the player may turn out to be. When a club has players they are sure are ready that is less a concern.
Hope is that several pitchers like Cosart and Clemens, for example will be ready to help soon. The same goes with position players like Springer and Singleton. If they look ready late this season and an opening exists the Astros won't hesitate as in the past. A well stocked farm systemwhich is the Astro goalcan make it much more possible to take some chances. New talented players come in every year if the scouting and development is good.
Chances are that the four mentioned may not appear in Astro uniforms before September. But there is always a chance in what could be a season with a very flexible Astro roster they will. And if they don't make it in 2012 a number of others will for sure. Program sales at Minute Maid Park may be heavy.
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AROUND THE WEB
1. Paul Clemens and Jarred Cosart
The Astros knew that Cosart had huge upside, but during spring training the organization was even more encouraged but what it saw from the 21-year-old pitcher. Clemens, 24, pitched just five innings this spring and allowed only two hits but he has the look of a front of the rotation pitcher. In fact, it's not hard to conceive Cosart and Clemens...
Livan Hernandez agreed Friday to a $750,000, one-year contract with the Atlanta Braves, a short time after he was released from a minor league deal with the Houston Astros.
After being released at noon, Hernandez arrived at the Braves' spring training complex, about 15 miles away.
Hernandez is the active leader in starts (474) and innings (3,121 2-3). He was the opening-day...
Now that was quick.
Shortly after getting released by the Houston Astros, right-hander Livan Hernandez signed a one-year contract with the Atlanta Braves on Friday. The deal is for $750,000 with $750,000 in potential performance bonuses.
The Braves, seeking depth for their pitching staff, plan to use Hernandez as a long reliever and spot starter.
Hernandez, 37, was 1-2 with a...
KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) -- The Houston Astros have released right-hander Livan Hernandez, baseball's active leader in starts and innings, from his minor league contract.
General manager Jeff Luhnow made the announcement Friday. The 37-year-old Hernandez made five starts for the Astros this spring training after signing with the club on Jan. 31.
Hernandez had hoped to pitch for...
The Houston Astros have released right-hander Livan Hernandez, baseball's active leader in starts and innings, from his minor-league contract.
General manager Jeff Luhnow made the announcement Friday. The 37-year-old Hernandez made five starts for the Astros in spring training after signing with the club on Jan. 31.
Hernandez had hoped to pitch for a 17th season with his eighth...
The Houston Astros released veteran righthander Livan Hernandez on Friday.
The 37-year-old Hernandez had signed a minor league contract with the team last month.
A former World Series MVP, Hernandez was the opening day starter for the Washington Nationals last season.
He went 8-13 with a 4.47 ERA in 29 games for the Nationals last year and is 174-176 with a 4.39 career ERA.
KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) -- Bud Norris allowed one run in six innings and a Houston Astros split squad beat an Atlanta Braves split squad 5-1 on Friday night.
Chris Johnson's two-run single highlighted a four-run fourth inning for the Astros off Atlanta starter Randall Delgado, who took the loss.
Norris gave up three hits and no walks.
Jason Castro had two of the Astros' six...
In perhaps the fasteset set of transaction I’ve ever seen, the Astros announced that they were releasing Livan Hernandez at 12:07 pm eastern time, and then Jon Heyman reported that Livan was signing with the Braves at 2:02 pm eastern. Livan wasn’t even unemployed for two hours.
Livan’s a pretty fascinating guy. While his xFIPs are crazy consistent over the last four years...
KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) -- Robinson Cano and Raul Ibanez each had two-run homers, 19-year-old Dante Bichette Jr. connected on the first two pitches he saw this spring and the New York Yankees beat the Houston Astros 11-9 in a game Saturday shortened to eight innings by rain.
The Yankees and Astros combined for nine home runs.
Jordan Lyles, bidding for one of two open spots in the...
Houston Astros catcher Jason Castro feels he is all the way back from the right knee injury that cost him the 2011 season.
Castro caught all nine innings of Friday night's 5-1 split-squad victory over the Atlanta Braves.
He added a couple of hits, raising his batting average to .333 in 39 at-bats.
''I made some mechanical adjustments in my swing. It was something I...
Shortly after getting released by the Houston Astros, right-handed pitcher Livan Hernandez signed a one-year contract with the Atlanta Braves on Friday.Hernandez will make $750,000 this season with the potential to earn an additional $750,000 in performance bonuses.A former World Series MVP, Hernandez was the opening day starter for the Washington Nationals last season.
The Houston Astros have released Livan Hernandez, senior director of social media Alyson Footer reports. back in January, the Astros signed Hernandez to a minor league deal.
In 16 Spring innings, Hernandez went 1-2 with a 5.63 era while allowing 23 hits.
Hernandez went 8-13 with a 4.47 era for the Nationals in 2011. In 2001 with the Giants, Hernandez hit .296 in 81 at-bats, totaling...
According to Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington, the Washington Nationals have signed left handed pitcher Zach Duke. Zuckerman adds that Duke will report to Minor League camp and will probably be in Syracuse rotation.
Duke was released by the Astros two days ago. He was 3-4 with a 4.93 ERA, 0.7 HR/9, 2.2 BB/9 and 3.8 SO/9 in 76.2 innings in 2011 with the Diamondbacks.
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