Baseball is officially back! 2021 Houston Astros pitchers and catchers have reported to West Palm Beach, Florida, on February 17th, with the full squad reporting in the coming days. The Houston Astros are eager to get the 2021 season kicked off, hoping to return to the American League Championship Series for the fifth consecutive year.
This Spring Training will be different as teams in the Grapefruit League will be restricted to the number of games that will be played. Major League Baseball came out days before Spring Training that teams in both leagues, Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues, would have a revised schedule. Primarily in the Grapefruit League, teams will play 24 games in 30 days and split into east and west groups based on the facilities" location.
The 2021 Houston Astros will be in the east group and primarily play the Mets, Marlins, Cardinals, and Nationals.
2021 Houston Astros: West Palm Beach
The Astros have played at the FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches since the stadium opened in February of 2017. The Astros also share the stadium with the Washington Nationals, who have also called West Palm Beach home since 2017. The FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches is one of the smaller ballparks with a capacity of 6,500 seats with an additional 1,000 out in the outfield berm.
2021 Houston Astros: Non-Roster Invitees
The 2021 Houston Astros roster has remained relativity the same going into this 2021 Spring Training. The most obvious is that George Springer is no longer an Astro, but he will be missed. Along with Justin Verlander out with Tommy John, the Astros have quite a few players looking to catch Dusty Baker and James Click"s eyes.
Steven Souza Jr.
Steven Souza Jr. was a player that General Manager James Click is quite familiar with during his time with the Tampa Bay Rays. After spending last season with the Chicago Cubs, Souza Jr. signed a minor-league contract with an invitation to Spring Training. One of the key reasons that make Souza Jr. so unique is his ability to play all three outfield positions. The Astros are hoping the Souza Jr. will fill the void in centerfield as Myles Straw would be the only other centerfielder on the current roster, but he will also add depth to other positions if needed. With the addition of Souza Jr., this has the makings of a possible position battle as Spring Training gets underway.
By now, Astros fans have probably heard of Korey Lee. The young catcher was drafted in the first round back in 2019 and is the Astros #5 ranked prospect within the organization. The Astros went out and signed veteran catcher Jason Castro this offseason, but that does not mean Lee will not have an opportunity to compete for a roster spot. The Astros have been known to carry at least three catchers at any point during the season. Just refer back to last season. Lee is a talented catcher and possibly the future backstop for the Astros, but he still has some work to do before he gets there. In the meantime, we will able to watch him blossom during Spring Training.
Steve Cishek was signed just last week on a minor-league contract with the invitation to Spring Training. Another player that Click is familiar with, Cishek, brings more depth to the Astros bullpen. The Astros did go out this offseason and sign Pedro Baez and Ryne Stanek, but Cishek brings in a veteran presence that has the ability to close out games. The bullpen battle will be exciting to watch this Spring Training, especially with the young, talented pitchers we all saw last season.
The 2021 Houston Astros Spring Training is going to be exciting this spring. The Astros have the majority of their position players returning, which is exciting for Astros fans. Pitching will remain the same as well. With all the young talent coming in this Spring, Astros fans should be excited to see how their team does in 2021.
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