Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I've wanted to reserve judgment on the Astros for the first few weeks of spring training, so I've held off posting through our first handful of games. But I can't contain my excitement! Hunter Pence is knocking the cover off the ball. He's 9 for 12 with an OPS over 2.000. On the flip side, Richard Hidalgo was 0-for-ST until Wednesday's game, when he finally collected his first hit with an infield dribble that he beat out. Nice work, Reeshard.

Ensberg, Lee, Lane, Biggio, Berkman and Ausmus are hitting well, too. And all the candidates for rotation spots: Sampson, Nieve, Wandy, Moehler and Albers are pitching well.

Obviously it's too early to make decisions yet, but one has to wonder about the fates of Pence and Hidalgo. No matter how well he hits, Pence shouldn't be on the opening-day roster. He needs to play everyday at Round Rock for a few months. Lane definitely has the advantage over Hidalgo right now in terms of making the team. Plus, Hidalgo only signed a minor-league contract, so he could start the year at Round Rock until injuries strike. Despite all the attention he got in Venezuela, he just doesn't look good right now.

Still have no idea who's closing in on a rotation spot. If I had to rank 'em right now, I'd go: Nieve, Albers, Sampson, Wandy, Moehler. (although Albers and Sampson are VERY close).

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