In the first two rounds of spring training rosters cuts, the Astros reassigned nine players to minor league camp, eight of whom played for the Hooks in 2012. Sunday, infielder Delino DeShields, outfielders Jacob Goebbert, Marc Krauss and George Springer and catcher Chris Wallace were sent down followed Wednesday by RHPs Jose Cisnero, Jarred Cosart, Brett Oberholtzer and Ross Seaton.
Of the nine players, Cosart was thought to have the best opportunity to make the big league club, likely as a relief pitcher, but he struggled in four appearances. The League City native allowed seven earned runs in 7.2 innings on eight hits and six walks with four strikeouts. Cosart received a start March 4 against the Tigers and allowed three earned runs on four hits.
Astros manager Bo Porter told the Houston Chronicle once Cosart reaches the big leagues, he may never leave.
"You look at the stuff, and it's definitely something that we've talked about from a staff standpoint that this guy has a chance to be a front-end-of-the-rotation guy that could stabilize himself in the rotation for many years to come," the first-year skipper said.
Oberholtzer and Seaton had the best showing among the hurlers that got cut. Oberholtzer allowed three earned runs in seven innings for a 3.86 ERA and Seaton gave up three unearned runs in two and two-thirds innings pitched.
Cisnero, who tossed a pair of complete games for Corpus Christi in 2012, made two appearances which totaled two and two-thirds innings and allowed two earned runs.
Among the position players, George Springer showed everyone why he is rated so highly on February 27 against Toronto. In his first start in big league camp, the UConn product belted two home runs and drove in five runs. In eight spring games Springer, who finished last season as the Hooks centerfielder, went 4-for-12 with seven runs batted in. Goebbert went 1-for-6 in four spring games, while Krauss was 4-for-12 with a home run and 5 RBIs.
DeShields received considerable playing time and went 4-for-12, but showed off some of his base-running abilities as he swiped two bases and scored eight runs. Wallace went 0-for-4 in three games.
Outfielder Brandon Barnes, who started last season in Corpus Christ and climbed all the way to Houston by August, has played his way into consideration for a fourth or fifth outfielder role in the major leagues. In 11 games, he is hitting .409 (9-for-22) with three home runs and four RBIs. His ability to play all three outfield positions will work in his favor.
Another outfielder, Robbie Grossman, has fallen back to earth since his hot start, but is still reaching base 43.5 percent of the time and hitting .316 (6-for-19). Acquired from the Pirates in the Wandy Rodriguez trade, Grossman can also play all three outfield spots.
Though unlikely to crack the starting infield, the Hooks' double play combination for much of last season, Jose Martinez and Jonathan Villar, are still in big league camp, hitting .300 (6-for-20) and .148 (4-for-27), respectively.
The Astros minor leaguers have also started to play games. In an intrasquad game Sunday, Hooks manager Keith Bodie singled out outfielders Michael Burgess and Chris Epps and catcher Ben Heath as standout performers, according to the Chronicle.