In Houston's Camp:
Jose Altuve will be the opening day second baseman and will hit leadoff for the Astros. He will be joined on the opening day roster by Brandon Barnes. Barnes won the reserve outfield spot thanks to his flexibility to play all three outfield positions and his outstanding defense. Barnes is the new poster child for reminding folks not to read too much into Appy League stats. In 91 games, over two seasons, Barnes hit .211/.284/.318 with more strike outs (83) than hits (67). Barnes was raw when drafted. The minor leagues is about development. Sometimes we forget that. Barnes has developed into a major league ball player.
J.D. Martinez got the news Saturday that he was being sent down to AAA. I don't expect this to be a long trip for Martinez who had off season surgery to remove the Hamate bone in his wrist. The Astros are still positive about Martinez.
"We see J.D. as an everyday outfielder, and when you switch to the American League, it's hard to get our fourth or fifth outfielders a lot of playing time because the fact you're not doing as many double switches," general manager Jeff Luhnow said. "He's going to play a lot, and right now we couldn't guarantee him that amount of playing time at the big league level
All of the other former G-Stros have been sent back to minor league camp. Though kudos to David Martinez for getting the start on Sunday and earning the win. We are also hearing the Delino DeShields Jr. will be with the team for their final exhibition game against the Cubs in Houston.
In Other Camps:
Troy Patton is a lock for the Orioles 'pen despite a recent rough outing.
J.R. Towles and Jordan Parraz were sent to AAA by the Cards & Braves respectively. And apparently I missed Arcenio Leon being sent down by the Brewers earlier this month.
J.C. Gutierrez and Fernando Abad are both battling for the final spot in the Royals and Nats bullpens respectively. However it is likely both will start the season in AAA.
That means that it is likely only three former G-Stros will be on opening day rosters this year. Last year, there were four on rosters (Patton, Altuve, Lyles and Martinez) with Paulino on the DL in KC.