If you haven't looked at the Astros 40-Man Roster recently, you may have missed the fact that it has gotten very crowded. There are currently 40 players on the roster plus 4 players tucked away on the 60-day disabled list that don't count against the 40 ... for now.
Eventually, the Astros will have to activate Jason Castro. Arguably, they will want Sergio Escalona back so they will have to make room for him. Both Brandon Lyon and Alberto Arias are wild cards - they may or may not be activated depending on their health, but at least Lyon is a probable yes.
We can probably assume that Jason Michaels will be gone next year, so that's one spot. And, with Castro healthy, you could conceivably erase two out of the three current catchers from the 40-man roster, particularly with Downs being groomed to do more catching.
But what about the players taking up roster spots that weren't on the active roster at the end of the season? Let's take a look at their 2011 numbers. If they spent time in both major and minor league levels, I included both sets of stats.
As the November deadline approaches for setting rosters prior to the Rule 5 draft in December, it will be interesting to see if all of these players remain on the 40-Man.
In Part II, which will be published tomorrow, we'll look at the 2011 stats for those players who aren't currently on the 40-Man roster who will be eligible to be drafted in the Rule 5 draft.