This is an article that is part of the ongoing overview of the Astros 25 man roster.
Part one addressed the Astros’ starting rotation and part two will address the catcher and infielders; this is the second installment of part two.
Util Brian Bixler (29 years old)
2011 MLB Statistics (WSN):.205 BA, 0 HR, 17 H, 2 RBI
Career MLB Statistics (3 seasons): .187 BA, 0 HR, 44 H, 7 RBI
This entry was originally going to be about Jed Lowrie, but the oft injured shortstop has been placed on the 15-day DL with a sprained right thumb. The Astros claimed Bixler off waivers from the Nationals in November and he was invited to spring training where he hit .252, with three homers and seven RBIs. Bixler will most likely serve as security policy against injuries in the starting infield. He has only appeared in 147 games over three seasons and he will probably be used as pinch hitter and runner.
SS Marwin Gonzalez (23 years old)
2011 MLB Statistics:N/A
Career MLB Statistics:N/A
As a result of Jed Lowrie’s injury, rookie Marwin Gonzalez will most likely get a bulk of the starts at shortstop in the beginning of the season. Gonzalez only came to the Astros this offseason; he was signed by the Chicago Cubs as an international free agent in 2006 and then spent six seasons in the minors before being picked first by the Boston Red Sox in the rule 5 draft and then traded to the Astros. Only time will tell how well this rookie will adjust to the big leagues.
3B Chris Johnson(27 years old)
2011 MLB statistics (HOU):.251 BA, 7 HR, 95 H, 42 RBI
Career MLB statistics (3 seasons): .273 BA, 18 HR, 202 H, 95 RBI
Chris Johnson had a disappointing 2011. He saw his batting average drop by 57 points and his RBI total drop by ten while playing in 13 more games than 2010. Johnson has to have a strong start to the season or the Astros might call up Jimmy Paredes to take his starting job like they did at the end of last season. With that in mind, look for Johnson to come out swinging against the Rockies.
1B Carlos Lee (35 years old)
2011 MLB Statistics (HOU):.275 BA, 18 HR, 161 H, 94 RBI
Career MLB Statistics(13 seasons): .286 BA, 349 HR, 2128 H, 1286 RBI
The old man of the team, El Caballo is entering the last year of the mammoth six year, $100 million contract that he signed with the Astros before the 2007 season. During his tenure with the team, Lee has been all over the map in terms of performance. His batting average has fluctuated from a high of .314 in 2008 to a low of .245 in 2010; his RBI totals are no less inconsistent with a high of 119 in 2007 and a low of 89 in 2010. While these totals aren’t terrible, inconsistency is probably not what the Astros were expecting when they gave Lee such a large contract. If there is area that Lee has been consistent in is his power. Since coming to the Astros he has hit 128 homeruns, averaging 25 dingers a season. The Astros can also expect Lee to be on the field almost every game; he has only played less than 120 games once in his career (2008) and he they can safely assume that he will most likely play in at least 150 games
Part three will address the Astros starting outfield.
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