Still plenty of candidates for last roster spots

added 3/24/2016 by Greg Thurston

With Spring Training winding down there's still plenty of competition going on in Astros camp. The news that Evan Gattis will start the season on the disabled list means the DH spot is wide open. In addition, the competition for the 1B job is coming down to the wire.

When the Chris Carter era at 1B became a thing of the past this winter, Jon Singleton was the heir apparent. But the favorite to win the job entering camp has done little to promote his cause. Other than a pair of homers, Singleton has had a lousy spring. Jon is hitting well below his .171 lifetime big league average. Exhibiting only average speed and defensive ability, Singleton is starting to look more and more like a one-dimensional player and his roster spot could be in jeopardy.

Meanwhile, A.J. Reed and Tyler White continue to do what they've done throughout the minor leagues... hit.

While Reed has been impressive, a jump to the big leagues seems unlikely. Moving up from AA to AAA to start the season seems like a more realistic scenario for the 22-year old first-baseman.

White, on the other hand, has made a strong case to be making the trip to New York for Opening Day. Tyler is hitting .368 with 9 RBIs in 38 spring at-bats. The owner of a .911 OPS in three minor league campaigns, White, 25, was promoted to AAA in the middle of last season and put up video game type numbers. Although his 57 games at Fresno provides only a small sample size, White looks like he could be ready to contribute at the big league level.

In addition to Singleton, another man standing in White's path to the majors is Matt Duffy. The 2015 PCL Player of the Year has blasted three homers this spring and would seem to have an inside track to a roster spot. Duffy has seen time at both 3B and 1B and figures to at least be the primary back-up for Luis Valbuena. Unlike White, Duffy is already on the Astros 40-man roster. Both Duffy and White could make the Opening Day roster, but probably only if Singleton is sent to AAA.

That is, of course, assuming Preston Tucker breaks camp with the big team. Tucker had success in the majors last year and the injury to Gattis would seem to cement his spot on the Opening Day roster. But, stranger things have happened.

Non-roster invitee middle infielder Danny Worth has drawn praise in camp, but with Marwin Gonzalez entrenched as the "backup" at every position on the infield, his chances of making the club seem slim.

While the Astros are extremely deep in the infield (I haven't even mentioned Colin Moran) a hand injury to Max Stassi leaves the club a little thin behind the plate. Tyler Heineman, Roberto Pena, and Alfredo Gonzalez are all outstanding prospects, but their lack of major league experience could have the the Astros looking outside the organization for a (temporary) solution.

Otherwise, the offense seems set -- with seven starters returning from last season's playoff team and Jake Marisnick expected to be the fourth outfielder.