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2012 Roster Projection: Houston Astros

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For most MLB teams, the focus is now officially on 2012. You can probably say the same for most fans, too. So today, we're kicking off a series here at MLBDD that projects each team's 25-man roster for Opening Day 2012. We're not projecting trades or free agent signings here, so this is purely focusing on the talent that each team already has in-house. The 2012 season may not start soon, but we can still think about what it might look like.

Starting Lineup (ages are based on April 4, 2012)

Catcher: Jason Castro - Age 24

First Base: Brett Wallace - Age 25

Second Base: Jose Altuve - Age 21

Third Base: Jimmy Paredes - Age 23

Shortstop: Angel Sanchez - Age 28

Left Field: Carlos Lee - Age 35

Center Field: Jordan Schafer - Age 25

Right Field: J.D. Martinez - Age 24

Batting Order

1. CF Schafer 2. 2B Altuve 3. RF Martinez 4. LF Lee 5. 1B Wallace 6. 3B Paredes 7. C Castro 8. SS Sanchez

Bench

C Humberto Quintero, IF Chris Johnson, IF Matt Downs, OF Brian Bogusevic, OF Jason Bourgeois

Starting Rotation

1. LHP Wandy Rodriguez - Age 33

2. RHP Brett Myers - Age 31

3. RHP Bud Norris - Age 27

4. LHP J.A. Happ - Age 29

5. RHP Jordan Lyles - Age 21

Bullpen

Closer: RHP Mark Melancon - Age 27

Others: RHP Wilton Lopez, RHP Fernando Rodriguez, LHP Sergio Escalona, RHP David Carpenter, LHP Wesley Wright, RHP Lucas Harrell

Some Quick Thoughts

  • It's not totally clear whether the Astros will actually give Wallace another shot at first base, although it seems likely. He'll have to impress during the spring, though, because the club could easily shift Lee to first base full-time and use Bogusevic and Martinez on the outfield corners.
  • Third base is another tough position. Paredes was surprisingly solid there in 46 games this season, but he didn't play nearly as well in the upper minors and the Astros may want to give him a full-time gig in the minors to develop. In that case, I'd assume that Downs is first in line to get a shot after his strong 2011.
  • I don't really know how all of Schafer's character issues will affect his standing with the team, particularly after his recent arrest for felony possession of marijuana, but I'd assume that he's still the projected starter in center going forward. The Astros don't have any obvious alternatives unless they want to stretch Bogusevic in center.
  • The rotation could be even thinner come spring if the club trades Rodriguez and/or Myers. Norris is an awfully intriguing pitcher given his ability to miss bats, though.
  • There are a bunch of different relievers that you could slot in there, including Aneury Rodriguez, Fernando Abad, Juan Abreu and Henry Sosa.