What will the Astros do at first base?
Singleton in the wings
The organization signed Carlos Pena to be its designated hitter, primarily, but it wouldn't be a surprise if the still-somewhat-sure-handed mitt man logged more time at the cold corner. Ultimately, though, Houston would probably prefer to determine if Brett Wallace is a long-term solution at the position (or somewhat viable trade bait). He's improved a little, but he's still a butcher and likelier to be a DH if he sticks around.
The club also selected Nate Freiman from the San Diego Padres in the Rule 5 Draft. The 6-foot-7, 225-pounder is expected to platoon at first base and DH against southpaws, against whom he's been extremely successful. The 26-year-old hasn't played above Double-A ball, where he spent 2012 (and hit .298 with 24 home runs in 516 at-bats for San Antonio), so his presence is almost assuredly tied to the potential statistical advantage he'd provide.
All parties are keeping the seat warm for Jonathan Singleton, perhaps the best position prospect in the team's system. Freiman must remain on the major league roster all season if Houston is to keep him, it should be noted, and Pena and Wallace may prove to be ... something like adequate. Wallace also demonstrated real positives last season in the bigs, so he could be a nice AL-only play. If the Astros become discontent with their troika by August, however, they could look to jettison one or more of them and promote the alluring Singleton, who has yet to log an at-bat at the Class AAA level.
Who will close for this club?
About Nicholas Minnix
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.
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