Examining several surprising omissions from Houston Astros ALDS roster

Astros Dusty Baker
Here's who made the cut. Composite image by Brandon Strange.
How moves by Astros GM could shine light on Dusty Baker's future in Houston

The Houston Astros announced their ALDS roster on Tuesday morning, and for the most part, this is what most Astros fans expected. The big question was how many pitchers the team would carry, and how that would impact the amount of position players that would make the cut.

The Astros have decided to roll with 12 pitchers and 14 position players. By doing this, they have the luxury of Jake Meyers, David Hensley, and Mauricio Dubon all making the roster. While these aren't exactly the players that first come to mind when you think of the Astros, they have however looked more serviceable at the plate than Trey Mancini. As much as fans love Mancini, he hasn't hit over .200 since joining the club. If Mancini's struggles continue in the postseason, the Astros have other options.

Jake Meyers has played well since rejoining the team, and he could be used as a pinch runner if the team goes with McCormick in center field as expected. David Hensley has an OPS of 1.027 this year in limited action, and he can play all the infield positions and some outfield. The only worry with Dubon making the roster is that he will be used to play center field during Justin Verlander's starts. But Dusty Baker told the media recently, the team may look to add more offense to the lineup in the postseason, and that's why McCormick made the start in center for Verlander's last start. Baker wanted McCormick to get a feel for how the ball comes off the bat with JV on the hill.

Who didn't make the cut?

Relief pitchers Phil Maton (3.84 ERA) and Will Smith (3.97 ERA) are not on the ALDS roster. Both pitchers have struggled as of late, and despite those struggles, it is a bit surprising that manager Dusty Baker left both pitchers off the roster. Both relievers have been used to match up against left-handed hitters. Maton is right-handed, but was used a ton by Dusty against left-handed hitters last postseason. Many believed Baker would have kept at least one of these guys for that role.

Instead, the Astros decided to keep two starting pitchers (Jose Urquidy, Luis Garcia) in their place. I certainly understand why Dusty trusts Urquidy and Garcia more, but I am surprised an old school manager like Baker would go into the ALDS with no lefty specialist coming out of the bullpen. Of course, with the recent rule changes, lefty specialists aren't as valuable as they once were. Baseball is evolving, that's for sure. Just wait until next year, when we see even more dramatic changes to the rules.

Editor's note: Phil Maton's injury may have impacted his spot on the roster.

Up next: The Astros face the Mariners on Tuesday afternoon at 2:37 PM for Game 1 of the ALDS.

Looking ahead: We finally have confirmation. Dusty Baker announced on Tuesday that Framber Valdez will pitch Game 2 with Lance McCullers getting the ball in Game 3.

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The Houston Astros were in need of some serious help in the bullpen with Phil Maton, Hector Neris, and Ryne Stanek likely leaving this year in free agency.

While some fans were getting concerned about the quiet offseason, the club has made two moves this week to get the ball rolling.

First the team signed Victor Caratini to be the backup catcher, and now they have added some relief pitching.

The Astros traded pitching prospect Carlos Mateo to the Royals for RHP pitcher Dylan Coleman.

Coleman is under club control for the next several years, and made just over $700,000 in 2022. With the Astros right up against the tax threshold, this is a good way to add to the bullpen without having to hand out a large contract.

The Royals had a tough roster decision to make with Coleman, and the Astros made the decision easy for them by making the trade.

Something to note

There's a reason Kansas City wasn't determined to protect Coleman from the Rule 5 Draft. Despite his decent numbers over the last three seasons, 2023 was a rough year for him, posting an 8.84 ERA over 23 games.

In fact, Coleman pitched more innings (30.2) for the Royals AAA team than he did for the big league club (18.1) in 2023.

Hopefully, the Astros can get him back on track this season with some help from their highly touted player development program.

You can watch some of his 2022 highlights above.

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