Over on Twitter, Citizen 77340 (that's his Twitter handle, we don't number our Citizens like it's some damn totalitarian regime) asked a few questions about the 25-Man roster, of which we have neglected to make mention/prediction. Let's take these in order:
Is Towles a lock?
You can generally make an educated guess at which way an organization is leaning by looking at the Spring ABs. Towles has 32 of 'em - more than any other catcher still in the mix, and is hitting .344/.382/.594. Carlos Corporan is 8x20 in his ABs, but the fact that Towles has had the most opportunities, and is doing well, is a decent indication that he'll be splitting time with Quintero. I'd pick Corporan as C3 (in Oklahoma City) with Esposito splitting time with Corporan there.
Manzella or Downs as IF5?
That's a tough one. Downs has shown more pop, and is a little more versatile than Manzella (can play 1B, 2B, or SS - if necessary). So if you're looking for that guy off the bench who could come in and give Wallace or Hall a rest, Downs has the edge if I'm making the roster.
Bogusevic or new pickup as OF5?
I think we're past the idea of picking somebody up from outside of the organization, particularly if it's to fill the 5th OF spot. Bogusevic has the edge over anybody else, and I think Shuck goes back to Oklahoma City to wait it out. There was an interesting post from Chip Bailey about how the Astros are going to have to make a decision as to whether or not Pence is worth another two years of arbitration, or what is shaping up to be a fairly big-time longer-term contract. If the Astros decide to trade Pence (and don't get me wrong, I like Pence), Shuck could be a cheaper alternative. Note I didn't say a necessarily better alternative, but one that would cost a team trying to keep payroll down a lot less money.
What's Ryan Rowland-Smith's role (paraphrased)?
Rowland-Smith is basically SP6. He'll come in for long relief, but serve a similar role that Figueroa did last year. I don't think he gets sent down to Oklahoma City, but if Figueroa struggles, or someone else gets hurt, I think they go to The Hyphen as an emergency starter - at least until the projected cut-off for Super Two status passes, and they can call up Lyles.
What's the pitching staff look like (paraphrased)?
The Crawfish Boxes handled the Bullpen scenario well yesterday, but we might as well give it a shot.
Your rotation is done: Myers, Wandy, Happ, Norris, Figueroa. This leaves seven spots open, and you can write in Brandon Lyon, Wilton Lopez, and because of the previous explanation, The Hyphen. That's four spots still available. I think you go ahead and write in Enerio Del Rosario because he has been lights out this Spring (6H/0ER, 9K:1BB in 10.1IP). Three left. Based on the Spring, Henry Villar could get another spot as well as Fulchino or Abad. Picking one of those two leaves one spot open, and my guess is that Aneury Rodriguez gets it over Lance Pendleton. Stephen Goff will be DEVASTATED if his old Kingwood buddy doesn't get the roster spot, and heads back to New York, but Aneury has had more IPs and better success than Pendleton to this point in the Spring. Mark Melancon is the wild card here, too.
So let's break down our predictions.
C: Towles, Quintero
IF: Wallace, Hall, Johnson, Barmes, Downs, Manzella (because Angel Sanchez can't seem to stay healthy)
OF: Lee, Bourn, Pence, Michaels, Bogusevic
SP: Myers, Wandy, Happ, Norris, Figueroa
RP: Lyon, Lopez, Rowland-Smith, Del Rosario, Villar, Fulchino/Melancon, Rodriguez