Thursday, March 30, 2017

Astros Baseball: Remembering the Dark Ages

As we look forward to a new age of Astros baseball, Friend of the Blog John Burgess (aka @StrosDude9) reminds us of just how far the Astros have come and some of the missteps along the way.

Ah! 2005 was such a great year—I was in my first senior year in college, the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire movie was released in theaters, and Mariah Carey finally admitted that We Belong Together. In the sports world, the Texas Longhorns won that thrilling National Championship over USC (Hook ‘Em) and…oh yeah, the Houston Astros went to the World Series for the first and only time. Sure they were swept by the Chicago South Siders, but that was still such a magical season. As you remember, the Astros overcame a 15-30 start to take the wild card spot and eventually claim their first pennant. Unfortunately, the Astros organization came tumbling down that mountaintop to settle in a rocky ravine for a decade. But with the arrival of the 2017 Opening Day comes expectations that the Astros haven’t had since that 2005 season. So, being the negative Nancy that I am, I’d like to take a look back at many of the awful Astros-related events that have taken place since 2005.

Prior to the 2007 season, in an effort to stay relevant, Uncle Drayton McClane pushed then GM Tim Pupura to sign and trade for some C-Level players with a name. The Astros were losing Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte and decided to replace those guys with 40-year old Woody Williams and followed that by making one of the worst trades in Astros history: trading Willy Tavares, Taylor Buchholz and Jason Hirsh for Jason Jennings. Woody started 21 games that season and ended 8-15 with a 5.27 ERA. Jason Jennings ended the season with a 6.45 ERA and made just 18 starts in his Astros career—one of those starts may have been the worst start in Astros history (11 ER in 2/3 inning and only 39 pitches thrown).

Prior to the 2008 season, the Astros signed Kazuo Matsui to a 3 year, $16.5 million contract. He only played in 96 games in ’08 season thanks to anal fissures…

Also in 2008, Hurricane Ike and Bud Selig ganged up to crush any hopes of an Astros postseason berth. As the hurricane hammered Houston, Selig thought it would be prudent for the Astros (who had won 14 of their prior 15 and were just 2 games out of the NL Wild Card at the time) to play their home series against the first place Cubs in Milwaukee…just 90 miles north of Wrigley. As you may remember, Carlos Zambrano no-hit the Astros in the first game and then the Astros could muster just one hit the following afternoon. They finished the season winning just 6 of their last 14 and ended up 3.5 games out of the Wild Card.

In 2011, the Astros played an Interleague series against the Boston Red Sox at Minute Maid Park. It was no surprise that the ratio of Red Sox fans to Astros fans was around 4:1 for that series. It was a major (and unpleasant) surprise that Minute Maid Park blared the Red Sox anthem “Sweet Caroline” during the game and tens of thousands of Sox fans, as well as a few thousand oblivious Astros fans chanted, “So Good! So Good! So Good!”

The Houston Astros spent 51 seasons in the National League and had some great rivalries with the Cardinals, Cubs, and Braves in the recent years. Despite that, Bud F$#&ing Selig forced the team to move to the American League in 2013 before finalizing the sale of the team to current owner Jim Crane. Bud wanted to balance the schedule by moving one of the 16 National League teams into the 14-team American League. Sure there were teams that had far less history in the National League like the Diamondbacks, Rockies, or Selig’s beloved Brewers, but how would he have been able to strong-arm them?

During the time between 2005 and 2017, we’ve seen many of our favorite Astros players come and go. During the necessary, complete tear-down that Ed Wade started, we had to say our goodbyes to a couple of Astros legends in Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman. In 2010, Oswalt was traded to the Phillies and Berkman to the Yankees. While that in itself was tough to cope with, the sight of those two in Texas Rangers blue in consecutive seasons (2012 and 2013) was downright nauseating.

The year was 2013. Nolan Ryan’s son, Reid Ryan, was just named the Astros President of Business Operations. And what was his first act as Astros President? Having to fire a snow cone vendor for sitting his tray of snow cones next to him on the restroom floor while he dropped a deuce. But what President of Business Operations hasn’t had to deal with that?

There were so many other events that happened during the Astros Dark Ages, but I’ll spare you the look back at Bo Porter’s illegal pitching change, the Cardinals hacking scandal, and Jarred Cosart’s misguided tweets. It’s time to put all of this behind us and look to the bright future of Astros baseball. The Astros window is just opening and looks to be wide open for the next 5 years or so, so hopefully the worst thing we’ll have to overcome for the next decade is Florida Georgia Line releasing several more of their rubbish albums.

- John Burgess

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Astros MiLB Transactions: 3/29

Several more Astros MiLB releases were announced yesterday. This was in addition to the releases announced last week.

Zac Person - May 2016
Photo by Jayne Hansen

IF Keach Ballard - 31st round 2015, Oklahoma Baptist University
1B Conrad Gregor - 4th round 2013, Vanderbilt University
C Kevin Martir - 18th round 2015, University of Maryland
RHP Kevin McCanna - 13th round 2015, Rice University
1B Chase McDonald - 12th round 2013, East Carolina University (NC)
OF Brauly Mejia - Signed 2012 out of the Dominican Republic
2B Aaron Mizell - 32nd round 2015, Georgia Southern University
LHP Zac Person - 9th round 2015, LSU
OF/1B Hector Roa - Signed 2012 out of the Dominican Republic
RHP Juan Santos - 39th round 2013, Arlington County Day School (FL)
RHP Josue Uribe - Signed 2014 out of the Dominican Republic
3B Bobby Wernes - 30th round 2015, University of Arkansas

Additionally, RHP Martires Arias was released, but he never played in the Astros system and was likely an offseason pickup by the Astros.

This release was a bit jarring for me because it included Friends of the Blog Chase McDonald and Conrad Gregor who I've enjoyed getting to know just a little bit over the years, as well as Zac Person and Bobby Wernes, two players who I enjoyed watching and was looking forward to talking with a little bit further in the future. I wish them all well and I won't be surprised to see a few of these players show up on another affiliate's roster later this season.

I'll leave my readers with a little entertainment from Juan Santos who always greeted me with a ready smile whenever we met over the years.

The ongoing 2016-2017 Off-Season Transaction post has been updated with these latest releases.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Astros Transaction Update: 3/28

As we last checked in on the Astros transaction front, LHP Kevin Chapman was being claimed off waivers by the Braves. Let's see what has transpired since then.

3-26: C Tyler Heineman traded to the Brewers for a PTBNL or cash (8th round 2012, UCLA)
3-25: LHP C.J. Riefenhauser released (signed as a MiLB free agent in December 2016)
3-22: RHP Fabricio Reina - 17-year old (unknown country of origin)
3-21: C Max Stassi cleared waivers and was outrighted to AAA Fresno

We at WTHB sincerely wish official Friend of the Blog Tyler Heineman the best of luck as he continues his baseball journey with the Brewers. Tyler has always been the most gracious in offering up his time to talk and has never been anything less than candid, honest and humble. He is an artist, a magician and a very good ballplayer. He will be missed. Here's my favorite picture of Tyler from the years that I've known him.

Tyler Heineman - April 2014
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Dates unknown:
C Marlon Avea released (signed 2010 out of Nicaragua)
LHP Chris Cotton released (14th round 2013, LSU)
IF Connor Goedert released (15th round 2014, Neosho County CC, Kansas)
RHP Chris Murphy released (24th round 2015, Millersville U of Penn)
OF James Ramsay released (7th round 2014, University of S Florida)
RHP David Schmidt released (NDFA, 2015, Stanford)
RHP Angelo Serrano released (signed 2015 out of the Dominican Republic)
RHP Adam Whitt released (16th round 2015, U of Nevada-Reno)
IF Angel de Leon released (signed 2014 out of the Dominican Republic)
IF Eduardo Guzman released (signed 2016 out of Venezuela)
OF Edgar Lorenzo released (signed 2013 out of the Dominican Republic)
IF Cristopher Luciano released (signed 2014 out of the Dominican Republic)
C Jorge Martinez released (25th round 2015, Carlos Beltran Academy, PR)
OF Chaz Pal released (38th round 2016, U of S Carolina - Aiken)
OF Nestor Tejada released (signed 2013 out of Venezuela)

I had reported a few of these releases previously. The rest were reported by Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle last Friday. Best of luck to all of these players as they continue their journeys in baseball and in life.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Astros Spring Training: Who are the Winners?

Although there are still three games left in the Astros Grapefruit league season, followed by two Exhibition Games back in Houston prior to the official start of the season, we can already declare several Spring Training winners.

Joe Musgrove - June 2016
Photo by Jayne Hansen

RHP Joe Musgrove
Although Musgrove wasn't a total lock to break camp with the Astros, his chances were still very good. All he had to do was give the Astros a reason to say "yes." He did that in spades with a fine Spring. In six starts, he is 3-0 with a 2.45 ERA and a 1.045 WHIP, allowing six walks to 15 strikeouts in 22 innings of work.

RHP Brad Peacock
On the other side of the coin, Peacock was working against long odds to make the Opening Day 25-man roster. The journeyman pitcher was the beneficiary of Collin McHugh's arm troubles (and the fact that he has no options left). His Spring was less than stellar, but his 4.91 ERA and 1.364 WHIP in eight appearances (three starts) was enough to give him a leg up as the long man. He'll have to make an impression quickly, though, since McHugh will likely make it back to Houston sooner rather than later.

RHP Michael Feliz
Nobody is really talking about Feliz right now which is actually a good thing. That means he's doing his job. Because of his strong Spring (2.61 ERA, 1.065 WHIP, .211 AVG in 9 appearances), he was never mentioned as being on the bubble and became an early lock.

RHP Jandel Gustave and RHP James Hoyt
Although one of these pitchers is going to be the odd man out come Opening Day, they have each been able to establish themselves as solid bullpen options. No matter which of these players gets sent to Fresno to start the season, he will know that his name will be the first one called when the need arises. Although Gustave's Spring numbers have been better overall (2.08 ERA, 0.808 WHIP, .107 AVG), Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle reports that Hoyt (3.38 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, .281 AVG) may have a leg up because of his ability to get lefties out (since there is a dearth of lefties in the Astros bullpen).

J.D. Davis - April 2016
Photo by Jayne Hansen

3B J.D. Davis and OF Derek Fisher
Although neither Davis nor Fisher will be in Houston on Opening Day, they each impressed the front office enough to be included in the contingent that will participate in the Minute Maid Park Exhibition games later this week. Davis (.341/.404/.463 in 23 games) and Fisher (.294/.405/.471 with 10 stolen bases in 23 games) are officially on A.J. Hinch's radar and that should prove to be a good thing for them moving forward.

3B Colin Moran and 1B A.J. Reed
It was a long shot for either of these players to make the Opening Day roster, but they both established themselves as viable alternatives (and potential trade pieces?) with their strong Springs. Moran hit .389/.439/.611 in 19 games before being re-assigned to minor league camp while Reed compiled a .306/.444/.667 batting line in 21 games.

RHP Mike Hauschild
Since being picked up from the Astros by the Rangers in the Rule 5 Draft this past December, Hauschild has been vying for a rotation spot with that team. In seven appearances (three starts), he has a 3.12 ERA, a 1.154 WHIP and a .234 AVG. He could very well break camp with the Rangers and, even if he doesn't, he has managed to establish that he can hang with the big boys.

Friday, March 24, 2017

What the FIP?: Astros MiLB Short Season Edition

Leading up to the start of the new season, we're checking out some comparative stats from the 2016 Astros MiLB crew. Today, let's look at FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) for a few of the short season team pitchers (20 minimum innings pitched) ...

Cristian Javier - August 2016
Photo by Jayne Hansen

RHP Jorge Alcala | Rookie GCL | 22.1 IP | 1.00 FIP | 1.21 ERA
RHP Abdiel Saldana | SSA Tri-City | 20.1 IP | 1.36 FIP | 1.33 ERA
RHP Abdiel Saldana | Rookie Greeneville | 23 IP | 1.75 FIP | 2.74 ERA
RHP Tyler Britton | Rookie Greeneville | 20.1 IP | 1.80 FIP | 2.66 ERA
RHP Cristian Javier | Rookie GCL | 25.1 IP | 1.87 FIP | 2.84 ERA
RHP Gabriel Valdez | Rookie GCL | 20 IP | 1.88 FIP | 4.05 ERA
LHP Framber Valdez | SSA Tri-City | 21.2 IP | 1.94 FIP | 3.74 ERA
RHP Hector Perez | SSA Tri-City | 28.2 IP | 2.03 FIP | 1.57 ERA
RHP Ronel Blanco | Rookie GCL | 45 IP | 2.15 FIP | 2.40 ERA
RHP Enoli Paredes | Rookie GCL | 33.2 IP | 2.56 FIP | 3.74 ERA
RHP Bryan Abreu | Rookie GCL | 33.1 IP | 2.58 FIP | 3.78 ERA
RHP Jose Bravo | Rookie DSL | 31 IP | 2.63 FIP | 2.90 ERA
RHP Yonatan Quintin | Rookie DSL | 20.2 IP | 2.63 FIP | 1.74 ERA
RHP Carlos Sierra | SSA Tri-City | 27.2 IP | 2.67 FIP | 5.53 ERA
RHP Enrique Chavez | SSA Tri-City | 45.1 IP | 2.88 FIP | 2.78 ERA
RHP Jheyson Caraballo | Rookie DSL | 53.2 IP | 2.89 FIP | 2.85 ERA
LHP Sean Stutzman | SSA Tri-City | 23.1 IP | 2.90 FIP | 5.40 ERA
RHP Lupe Chavez | Rookie GCL | 38 IP | 2.91 FIP | 1.42 ERA
RHP Humberto Castellanos | Rookie DSL | 50.1 IP | 2.91 FIP | 4.29 ERA
LHP Javier Navas | Rookie DSL | 42 IP | 2.97 FIP | 2.79 ERA
LHP Ryan Hartman | SSA Tri-City | 45.2 IP | 2.97 FIP | 2.36 ERA

Previous Post:
What the Fip?: Astros MiLB Full Season Edition

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

What the FIP?: Astros MiLB Full Season Edition

Leading up to the start of the new season, we're checking out some comparative stats from the 2016 Astros MiLB crew. Today, let's look at FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) for a few of the full season team pitchers (20 minimum innings pitched) ...

James Hoyt - May 2015
Photo by Jayne Hansen

RHP James Hoyt | AAA Fresno | 55 IP | 1.85 FIP | 1.64 ERA
RHP David Paulino | AA Corpus Christi | 64 IP | 2.20 FIP | 1.83 ERA
RHP Franklin Perez | A- Quad Cities | 66.2 IP | 2.36 FIP | 2.84 ERA
RHP Elieser Hernandez | A- Quad Cities | 57 IP | 2.56 FIP | 2.37 ERA
RHP Jose Luis Hernandez | A- Quad Cities | 81.1 IP | 2.60 FIP | 2.66 ERA
LHP Chris Cotton | AA Corpus Christi | 26.1 IP | 2.62 FIP | 1.71 ERA
RHP Aaron West | AAA Fresno | 20.0 IP | 2.62 FIP | 4.05 ERA
RHP Francis Martes | AA Corpus Christi | 125.1 IP | 2.73 FIP | 3.30 ERA
RHP Eric Peterson | AA Corpus Christi | 53.2 IP | 2.78 FIP | 3.69 ERA
RHP Brendan McCurry | AA Corpus Christi | 39.2 IP | 2.81 FIP | 2.27 ERA
RHP Ryan Thompson | AA Corpus Christi | 40 IP | 2.86 FIP | 1.80 ERA
LHP Framber Valdez | A- Quad Cities | 35.1 IP | 2.88 FIP | 3.06 ERA
RHP Aaron West | AA Corpus Christi | 62.1 IP | 2.98 FIP | 3.47 ERA
RHP Ryan Deemes | A- Quad Cities | 20.2 IP | 2.99 FIP | 0.87 ERA

Monday, March 20, 2017

Spring Training Leaders: 3/20

Checking in on the Spring Training stats for a few of the Astros who aren't a lock* to make the opening day roster ...

Framber Valdez - July 2016
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Let's take a look at the pitchers first. Of those pitchers having thrown a minimum of five innings so far this season, these are your leaders:

LHP Framber Valdez
4G 5.0IP 0.00ERA 1.000WHIP 2BB 5SO .176AVG

RHP James Hoyt
5G 5.0IP 1.80ERA 1.200WHIP 3BB 4SO .176AVG

RHP Joe Musgrove
4G/4ST 12.0IP 2.25ERA 1.083WHIP 4BB 9SO .209AVG

RHP Jandel Gustave
7G 6.2IP 2.70ERA 1.050WHIP 4BB 7SO .136AVG

RHP Michael Feliz
7G 8.2IP 3.12ERA 0.808WHIP 1BB 6SO .200AVG

RHP David Paulino (reported 3/19 that Paulino will start season on DL)
3G 7.0IP 3.86ERA 1.143WHIP 1BB 4SO .250AVG

News came out yesterday that Paulino has a bone bruise on his pitching elbow and will start the season on the DL. Joe Musgrove is continuing to make a good case for a starting spot on the opening day roster, particularly with Collin McHugh lagging behind in readiness. And righties Jandel Gustave, James Hoyt and Michael Feliz are jockeying for position with strong springs as the Astros determine their bullpen needs.

With Tony Sipp the only bullpen lefty likely to make the opening day roster, Framber Valdez's stock has been rising. He is an older prospect with no experience at AA or AAA and it is highly unlikely that he will get a shot at the opening day roster. However, with strong results at the upper levels of the system this season, he could very well be someone to watch for in the not-so-distant future.

A.J. Reed - May 2015
Photo by Jayne Hansen

And now for the position players who are leading the pack (minimum 20 AB) ...

3B Colin Moran
33AB .394/.432/.636 2-2B 2HR 10RBI

OF Alejandro Garcia
23AB .348/.423/.348 2RBI 1SB:2CS

3B Reid Brignac
32AB .344/.400/.563 2-2B 1-3B 1HR 8RBI

3B J.D. Davis
30AB .333/.417/.400 2-2B 5RBI

1B A.J. Reed
35AB .315/.415/.686 1-2B 4HR 11RBI

2B/LF Tony Kemp (reassigned to minor league camp on Sunday)
35AB .286/.306/.343 2-2B 3RBI 1SB:2CS

OF Derek Fisher
26AB .269/.394/.385 3-2B 7RBI 7SB

OF Jon Kemmer
23AB .261/.452/.435 1-2B 1HR 4RBI

1B Tyler White
36AB .250/.308/.333 1HR 2RBI

Some of these players have fallen off a bit since last week's review, but Reid Brignac has gone 7-for-15 in his last seven games and A.J. Reed and Colin Moran have been holding fairly steady. Because of the current crop of MLB talent, it will be tough for these players to earn an opening day roster spot. With good minor league seasons, though, Reed and Moran will likely force the issue and will either be invited back to Houston or included in a trade to nab that elusive ace starting pitcher that so many are clamoring for.

*It's highly likely that some of these players will be on the opening day roster, but since those on this list who are on the 40-man roster all have options remaining, they will be the easiest to send to AAA to start the season.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

World Baseball Classic: Checking in on the Astros

There's a break in the action today ahead of the World Baseball Classic semifinals which start tomorrow so it's as good a time as any to check in on the Astros who've been participating ...

Stijn van der Meer - August 2016
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Jose Altuve - Team Venezuela (eliminated in the 2nd round)
6G 23AB 3R 6H 1RBI 2SO .261/.292/.261

Nori Aoki - Team Japan (Semifinal 2 on Tuesday)
5G 20AB 5R 4H 3-2B 2RBI 3SO .200/.360/.350

Carlos Beltran - Team Puerto Rico (Semifinal 1 on Monday)
5G 17AB 4R 8H 1-2B 5RBI 5SO .471/.550/.529

Alex Bregman - Team USA (Semifinal 2 on Tuesday)
2G 4AB 2H 1SO .500/.600/.500

Carlos Correa - Team Puerto Rico (Semifinal 1 on Monday)
5G 14AB 5R 5H 2HR 6RBI 1SO 2SB .357/.524/.786

Stijn van der Meer - Team Netherlands (Semifinal 1 on Monday)
1G 1AB .000/.000/.000 (flew out to LF in only AB)

Dayan Diaz - Team Colombia (eliminated in the 1st round)
0-0 2G 1SV 2.0IP 2H 0BB 4SO 0.00ERA 1.000WHIP

Luke Gregerson - Team USA (Semifinal 2 on Tuesday)
0-0 2G 1SV 2.0IP 1BB 2SO 0.00ERA 0.500WHIP

The semifinals are single elimination. The finals will be on Wednesday. All games are at 8:00 CST.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Astros Transaction Update

There haven't been too many Astros transactions since last I checked in, but let's catch up!

Chaz Pal - August 2016
Photo by Jayne Hansen

  • 3-13: LHP Kevin Chapman claimed off waivers by Braves
  • 3-12: LHP Kevin Chapman placed on waivers (per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle)
  • 3-8: 3B Oliver Van Der Wijst (19-year old from the Dominican Republic)
  • 2-?: C Jorge Martinez released (reported by Baseball America for the week of 2-17 to 2-24); 25th round pick in 2015
  • 2-?: 1B Cristopher Luciano released (reported by BA for the week of 2-17 to 2-24)
  • 2-?: OF Edgar Lorenzo released (reported by BA for the week of 2-17 to 2-24)
  • 2-?: OF Chaz Pal released (reported by BA for the week of 2-17 to 2-24); 38th round draft pick in 2016
  • 2-13: P Nathanael Ventura signed (discrepancy in MLB on LH vs. RH) - 21-year old
  • 2-13: LHP Denilson Lugo - 19-year old
You can find an ongoing list of the Off-Season Transactions throughout the system here.

In addition, the following players were re-assigned from major league camp to minor league camp as the Astros made their first cuts on Sunday:

C Garrett Stubbs
RHP Edison Frias
LHP Brian Holmes
RHP Cy Sneed
RHP Aaron West

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Spring Training Leaders: 3/11/17

Checking in on the Spring Training stats for a few of the Astros who aren't a lock* to make the opening day roster ...

One caveat: Spring Training stats, especially early on are somewhat meaningless. Pitchers are working on specific pitches, tweaking their delivery and simply getting their arms back up to speed. Hitters are working on their timing in the box, tweaking their stances/load and are looking for specific pitches/locations they want to work on either hitting to the opposite field, laying off of altogether or the like. Don't make too much out of bad ST stats. But the flip side of that is that a young player who does particularly well in ST against much older and more experienced competition will put himself on the radar of the front office and the MLB coaching staff as did Tyler White in 2016. So ST stats are mostly meaningless, but not completely.

Jandel Gustave - June 2016
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Let's take a look at the pitchers first.

Obviously, these are all small itty-bitty teeny-weeny sample sizes but there are a few Astros pitchers who have not allowed a hit or a run so far, including RHP Dayan Diaz (1.0IP), RHP James Hoyt (2.0IP), LHP Albert Minnis (1.0IP) and RHP Trent Thornton (0.2IP).

However, of those pitchers having thrown a minimum of four innings so far this season, these are your early leaders:

RHP Jandel Gustave
4G 4.0IP 0.00ERA 0.500WHIP 1BB 5SO .083AVG

LHP Framber Valdez
3G 4.0IP 0.00ERA 0.750WHIP 1BB 4SO .154AVG

RHP Joe Musgrove
3G/3ST 8.0IP 1.13ERA 1.000WHIP 2BB 7SO .214AVG

RHP Michael Feliz
4G 5.1IP 3.38ERA 0.750WHIP 0BB 4SO .222AVG

RHP David Paulino
3G 7.0IP 3.86ERA 1.143WHIP 1BB 4SO .250AVG

Colin Moran - September 2015
Photo by Jayne Hansen

And now for the position players who are leading the pack early on (minimum 12 AB) ...

3B Colin Moran
16AB .438/.526/.875 1-2B 2HR

OF Alejandro Garcia
14AB .429/.500/.429

3B J.D. Davis
13AB .385/.529/.462 1-2B

OF Derek Fisher
12AB .333/.529/.500 2-2B 5SB

2B/LF Tony Kemp
21AB .333/.364/.381 1-2B

1B A.J. Reed
22AB .318/.400/.773 1-2B 3HR

*It's highly likely that some of these players will be on the opening day roster, but since those on this list who are on the 40-man roster all have options remaining, they will be the easiest to send to AAA to start the season.