We are just a few short days away from the beginning of the 2022 season. With spring training coming to a close, rosters become clear and sights become completely set on the regular season. Expectations are high for most of the league, but especially for the Houston Astros. After falling short in the 2021 World Series, Houston is looking to finish the job this year. With Opening Day on Thursday, here is the Astros’ 2022 season preview.
Opening Day Roster
Grapefruit League games wrap up on Monday for the Astros, so the Opening Day roster is basically set. The position player group doesn’t really contain any surprises. According to MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart, the catchers who have made the Astros’ roster are Martin Maldonado and Jason Castro. The infielders are Yuli Gurriel, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Jeremy Pena, Aledmys Diaz, and Niko Goodrum. Finally, the outfielders are Michael Brantley, Chas McCormick, Kyle Tucker, Jose Siri, and Yordan Alvarez.
One of the notable names on the list is Pena, who appears to have won the shortstop job. Houston has a lot of belief in the young prospect, so he will be the successor to Carlos Correa, who left in free agency. Goodrum did not have a good spring, striking out eight times in nine at-bats entering Sunday, but he offers defensive versatility like few others in the game. He can play nearly anywhere on the field, so it makes sense that he got a roster spot. Once again, it is a strong group of position players for the Astros.
While the order is different than many expected, the starting rotation will still consist of Framber Valdez, Jake Odorizzi, Justin Verlander, Jose Urquidy, and Luis Garcia. Lance McCullers Jr. will start the season on the injured list. The Astros are expected to be careful with Verlander this season as he hasn’t pitched much over the past two years.
The bullpen will be pretty deep for Houston. Making up the bullpen will be Ryan Pressly, Hector Neris, Ryne Stanek, Phil Maton, Bryan Abreu, Blake Taylor, Cristian Javier, Pedro Baez, and Ronel Blanco. The tenth man would likely be Rafael Montero, assuming he is sharp at the end of spring training this week.
Storylines and Expectations
The departure of Correa in free agency is one of the biggest storylines for the Astros this season. Correa was the outspoken leader of the Astros on top of being one of the best shortstops in the league. He took the brunt of the vitriol when the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal was revealed. He became one of the best, most important players in franchise history. However, Houston is confident in Pena’s ability and talent. They believe he will do just fine for the big league squad, but only time will tell.
Another storyline entering the Astros’ 2022 season is the dramatic improvement of the AL West. The Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Angels, and Texas Rangers have made big moves in an attempt to close the gap between them and the Astros at the top. The race for the AL West crown is never easy, but it has gotten a whole lot harder headed into 2022.
While the path may be harder than it has been in a long time, the expectations are still immense for the Astros. The end goal remains the same: a World Series championship. After painfully falling short in the World Series last year, the Astros are hoping to bring another championship to Houston in 2022.
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Martin Maldonado, Jason Castro, Yuli Gurriel, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Jeremy Pena, Aledmys Diaz, Niko Goodrum, Michael Brantley, Chas McCormick, Kyle Tucker, Jose Siri, Yordan Alvarez, Carlos Correa, Framber Valdez, Jake Odorizzi, Justin Verlander, Jose Urquidy, Luis Garcia. Lance McCullers Jr., Ryan Pressly, Hector Neris, Ryne Stanek, Phil Maton, Bryan Abreu, Blake Taylor, Cristian Javier, Pedro Baez, Ronel Blanco, Rafael Montero