Brian McTaggart projects the Astros' 25-man Opening Day roster. Who are the surprises?
Catcher: J.R. Towles
Both Towles and Castro are swinging good bats this spring, but this won't be an offensive position. They want someone to catch and handle the pitchers, etc. Eventually, that guy is going to be Castro, but considering he hasn't played above Double-A I think he'll start the season in Round Rock but will be starting at some point.
IF6: Edwin Maysonet
I'm putting the versatile Maysonet in this spot over Lance Berkman, who could begin the season on the disabled list after undergoing minor knee surgery. Berkman's goal is to be back, but the Astros are not going to rush him. If he needs a few extra days at the beginning of the season, he'll get them. Thus, Maysonet makes the club out of spring.
OF5: Cory Sullivan
I see Sullivan winning this job over Jason Bourgeois, Yordany Ramirez, Brian Bogusevic and Alex Romero. Sullivan has more experience in the Majors, he can run (not as well as Bourgeois, but he's not slow) and he hits left-handed, which is desperately needed off the bench.
SP5: Felipe Paulino
I could have just as easily put Brian Moehler here, but Paulino is coming off a good outing and, man, does he have a great arm. At the end of the day, the Astros want him in the rotation, and Moehler can pitch out of the bullpen.
BP7: Alberto Arias
The final spot in the bullpen is very much wide open. Arias has shoulder inflammation, so who knows how that will unfold? Sammy Gervacio is pitching pretty well and could just as easily be in this spot as well, but remember that Arias is out of options. They like his arm when healthy.
It's hard to argue with any of these...