Will any September call-ups win a spot on the playoff roster?

Predicting the Astros' postseason roster

Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

On September 1st, MLB teams expanded to allow the use of the team's entire 40-man roster. While this rule will change next year, it enables clubs, like the Astros, to bring in some fresher and younger players to rest some of their veterans and stars.

With that, we get an opportunity to see promising prospects log time with their big-league club and dabble with going against some of the best in the game. For the Astros, that's meant the return of Kyle Tucker to the major-league squad for the first time since his struggles last year, as well as some position fill-ins like Myles Straw and Garret Stubbs along with some fresh blood in the bullpen from guys like Jose Urquidy and Cionel Perez.

However, this opportunity is exclusive to September. For teams like Houston, who are preparing for the playoffs, they face a tough challenge, which is trimming that roster back down to 25. It becomes additionally tricky if some of the players brought up to add some depth to allow some rest to star players end up showing star potential themselves.

Even further, Houston also has some key pieces returning from injury soon to retake their places on the roster. These include Carlos Correa, Ryan Pressly, and if all goes well, Brad Peacock. So, with a lot of moving pieces, I want to offer my prediction of the Astros' 25-man postseason roster:

The givens

Let's get the easy ones out of the way. For the sake of argument, I'm going to assume Carlos Correa returns in the coming weeks and stays healthy. Also, Yuli Gurriel is expected to return this week, so he's in too. That means this is your playoff starting infield:

1) Yuli Gurriel - 1B
2) Jose Altuve - 2B
3) Alex Bregman - 3B
4) Carlos Correa - SS

Another set of players that should be a lock is the pitching rotation. On Sunday, A.J. Hinch announced that he would be going with a 4-man rotation the rest of the regular season, with two bullpen days along the way when they hit five-straight days with games. I would expect that means they are gearing up for that same set of starters to roll into October:

5) Justin Verlander - SP
6) Gerrit Cole - SP
7) Zack Greinke - SP
8) Wade Miley - SP

Then, you've got some outfielders, hitters, and your primary catcher who will have earned their spots:

9) George Springer - OF
10) Michael Brantley - OF / DH
11 ) Yordan Alvarez - OF / DH
12) Robinson Chirinos - C

That brings us to the bullpen, where you can go ahead and get your pens out for a few arms that are all but guaranteed to be used in the highest of leverage situations in October:

13) Roberto Osuna - RP
14) Ryan Pressly - RP
15) Will Harris - RP
16) Brad Peacock - RP (If Healthy)

That's your set of guys that if you could use them every day to complete a game, you'd expect to win against anyone. That leaves nine more spots.

More depth

Past the above list of no-doubters, you have a few more spots that should belong to your multi-position players, some position depth, and next set of relievers:

17) Aledmys Diaz - IF
18) Josh Reddick - OF
19) Jake Marisnick - OF
20) Martin Maldonado - C
21) Collin McHugh - RP (if healthy)
22) Hector Rondon - RP
23) Josh James - RP

Diaz is your fill-in if you have to fill a hole in the infield. Despite a lot of debate I've seen regarding Reddick, I see no reason to exclude him from the roster in October, and I don't see a reason to leave Marisnick's terrific defensive ability out.

McHugh has a big asterisk next to him right now because of his health, but assuming he can pitch, I think they'll bring him along. Then, I currently have Rondon and James in for their recent success. James has looked sharp since returning from injury, and Rondon has allowed just three runs over his last sixteen appearances.

Who's in, who's out

That leaves two more spots available. I think considering they've got the depth they need on the field with the 23 guys listed above, that they use those for two more arms in the bullpen:

24) Chris Devenski - RP
25) Joe Smith - RP

Devenski has had a rocky year, but I think he still has the trust of Houston's coaching staff. As far as Joe Smith, he did not start his year until July after returning from injury and has performed well, so a combination of less wear and tear along with success, in my opinion, earns him a spot.

With that, I don't have a lot of upsets or controversy taking place going into the playoffs. I think that the Astros are on pace to win 100 games again this year primarily due to the success of the 25 guys listed above, so I don't think that it will be the time to try and experiment. Still, though, Houston will have a solid group of guys ready to come onto the roster should injuries arise:

Garret Stubbs - C
Kyle Tucker - OF
Cionel Perez - RP
Joe Biagini - RP
Framber Valez - RP

In any case, the Astros will have a good problem on their hands trying to construct their playoff roster, because instead of trying to guess which players are worth the spots, they will be instead be splitting hairs on which players will have to be left off.

4th and a mile with Paul Muth

The Roast of baseball whiners, and what to do this weekend

Photo by Ronald Martinez/Allsport/Getty Images

I think I'm on my 8th or 9th full run through of The Office right now. The Office Ladies podcast got me back into it this time, and if you haven't given them a listen, I highly recommend it.

Anyway, I was watching the "Stress Relief" episode where the office takes turns roasting Michael Scott. He eventually craters and leaves, only to return and head shot roast everyone with one liners.

I'm at the point in this Astros offseason episode where I've cratered. I've kept silent while I watch Astros fans don their Twitter armor and go to Twitter war in defense of their team. But it's old, and I'm human.

Now I don't condone the cheating they were found guilty of. And I also think it's OK to be mad if you were on another team when it happened. But whining about it on Twitter or into a microphone isn't doing anything, especially if you haven't taken the time to make sure your side of the aisle is clean. It's important to not throw stones if you live in a glass house, and frankly, all of this piling on is going nowhere and changing nothing.

So, whatever. Let's throw some back.

"[I] thought Manfred's punishment was weak, giving them immunity. I mean these guys were cheating for three years. I think

what people don't realize is Altuve stole an MVP from [Aaron] Judge in '17. Everyone knows they stole the ring from us."

-Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder

Your own player's union prevented the punishments and even if he did they would have all been thrown out due to good old fashioned labor laws. And don't talk about stealing an MVP, you're one Christian Yelich kneecap away from a 2nd place finish last season dude. Even then he still should've won it.

Boom roasted.

"I feel like every single guy over there needs a beating. It's wrong."

-Nick Markakis, Atlanta Braves outfielder

I mean, bold words dude. It's a shame that the next day 70-year-old Dusty Baker crumpled your entire manhood into a ball with a simple response: "I didn't think Markakis talked too much, maybe he had his Wheaties." Also, try swinging better than .121 in the postseason the past two years.

Boom roasted.

"If I knew what [pitch] was coming in '17, I probably would have hit 80-plus home runs,"

-Giancarlo Stanton, New York Yankees outfielder

Let's get you on the field for more 80 games first, then we can have this conversation, bud.

Boom roasted.

"Listen I know I don't play baseball but I am in Sports and I know if someone cheated me out of winning the title and I found out about it I would be F*^king irate! I mean like uncontrollable about what I would/could do! Listen here baseball commissioner listen to your players speaking today about how disgusted, mad, hurt, broken, etc etc about this. Literally the ball is in your court(or should I say field) and you need to fix this for the sake of Sports! #JustMyThoughtsComingFromASportsJunkieRegardlessMyOwnSportIPlay"

-LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers small forward

So speaking up about the sanctity of baseball is more important than speaking up about the basic human rights of the people of Hong Kong. Noted. I guess Houston didn't buy enough of his shoes.

Boom roasted.

And finally, here's a one tweet mic drop to all of the journalists piling on for easy page views:

Boom roasted.

This weekend in Houston

Sabrecats - Live sporting events are a little thin this weekend, but if you're feeling adventurous, there's a Sabrecats rugby game this Saturday at 7 pm. Watching rugby isn't the adventurous part. Driving down 288 to get there is.

Doomsday Wrestling - If you've never seen Doomsday Wrestling put on a show, be at Numbers on Westheimer on Saturday at 9 pm. You don't have to like wrestling to enjoy it. You're welcome.

Mardis Gras Stuff - It's Mardi Gras weekend, people. be prepared. If you haven't tried Mardi Gras in Galveston, this is their last weekend. Get going. There's also a pub crawl in the East End (or EaDo for the hipsters).

It's also National Margarita day this Saturday, for what it's worth.

What to watch this weekend

Your Houston Roughnecks hit the road for the first time against the Tampa Bay Vipers on Saturday at 1 pm (FOX), and the Rockets will be in action against the Utah Jazz at 8pm (ATT-SW).

But that's not what this weekend is for.

This weekend is about the Deontay Wilder versus Tyson Fury rematch on Saturday (8 pm, ESPN+/FOX PPV). We're dealing with two absolute mammoth human beings in what has been a fairly underwhelming weight class to watch for some time. This is the biggest boxing match of 2020 to date, and last time these two were in the same ring it was a draw.

4 Downs of the Week

I'm switching up the formatting of the Ultimate World Power Rankings of the Week to be a little more on theme. It's simple, we'll get through this together

1st down (a good thing) - JJ Watt ties the knot, boogies with grandmother, stays wholesome.



That couple is so adorable it's exhausting. Probably the most heartwarming sports-ish news Houston has had in awhile.

2nd Down (An okay thing. Mainly just a thing.) - Brodie and the Beard, swag on max.

On July 16th 2019, a sage mind (me) predicted an unquestionable truth on this site:

"Harden and Westbrook may be in the running for best on-court duo on the league, but they are hands down the most fashion-forward."

-Me

And would you look who made the cover of GQ! The Oukast nod didn't go unnoticed, either. Very nice.

3rd down (not great) - Astros have a target on their backs, Vegas has an over/under.

Place your bets, Houston. According to an ESPN.com article, Vegas has the odds of Astros batters being plunked at 83.5. Last season teams were hit about 66 times on average, for reference. I wonder what the over/under is for Astros bench clearings?

4th and a mile (Bad) - As if Houston needed another reason to cancel Buffalo Wild Wings

Buffalo Wild Wings found itself in a bit of hot water in the Bayou City earlier this week after someone's twitter fingers got ahead of themselves.

Houston fans didn't take that lying down, and BWW soon tweeted an apology. Then this happened:

I'll see you guys at Pluckers. Forever.

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