Who will make the Astros' ALDS roster?

October 4th, 2021

HOUSTON -- At least 22 of the 26 players who will be on the roster for the Astros in the American League Division Series against the White Sox are locks, barring injury. The club must decide on the final couple of spots in the bullpen and the final position-player spot, though the health of speedy outfielder Jose Siri figures to factor into that decision.

Here is a look at the Astros’ three biggest roster decisions for the ALDS:

1. Which relievers to carry?
If the Astros carry a 12-man pitching staff, they will have eight relievers. Ryan Pressly, Kendall Graveman and Ryne Stanek are locks. Yimi García and Phil Maton haven’t pitched well with Houston, but they’re likely to make it, as well, along with lefty Brooks Raley. The final two spots could be starters-turned-relievers: Jake Odorizzi and Zack Greinke, unless the Astros want to carry a second lefty, which would be Blake Taylor (probably at the expense of Odorizzi). Facing a White Sox lineup dominated by right-handed hitters, one southpaw pitcher is likely enough. It’s hard to imagine Cristian Javier, who averaged nearly 5.5 walks per nine innings as a reliever, making the ALDS roster.

2. Will they carry a third catcher? 
The Astros carried three catchers in last year’s ALDS, but rosters were set at 28 in 2020. Martín Maldonado and Jason Castro are their primary catchers, and a third spot would go to go Garrett Stubbs. Carrying a third catcher could allow the club to use a pinch-hitter for Maldonado and not worry as much about not having a replacement if Castro subsequently gets hurt. Stubbs can also pinch-run and has dabbled in playing left field. But a third catcher may be a luxury the Astros can’t afford and probably won’t need.

3. Will Marwin Gonzalez or Siri make the roster? 
If Siri, who suffered a small fracture to his right pinkie sliding into third base last week, isn’t good to go, then Gonzalez would likely make it. Siri has plenty of power and can fly, but he plays reckless at times, so the Astros might only feel comfortable using him to pinch-run. Gonzalez has tons of postseason experience and can play all over the field. He could be a right-handed pinch-hit option off the bench who could stay in the game. In reality, the Astros won’t be pinch-hitting much, except for the catching spot, and Aledmys Díaz and Chas McCormick are better right-handed pinch-hit options.