In anticipation of tonight’s 10:59pm CT deadline to finalize moves to the 40 man roster to protect players from the Rule 5 draft, the Houston Astros have made some changes. Any player who was first signed at age 18 has to be added to a 40-man roster within five years or they are eligible to be drafted by another club through the Rule 5 draft. The same goes for any player signed at age 19, but with a 4 year timeframe.
With that deadline looming Jeff Luhnow announced this afternoon that they are adding seven players to the 40-man roster. The players added are RHP Jose Cisnero, RHP Jarred Cosart, OF Robbie Grossman, RHP Chia-Jen Lo, LHP Brett Olberholtzer, RHP Ross Seaton and IF Jonathon Villar. These were all players that it makes sense to protect at this stage of the rebuild in Houston.
These are names that die hard Astros fans should recognize. After all, Grossman(.266 BA with 28 doubles, 6 triples and 10 HRs, 77 walks in 131 games of both A and AA play in 2012) was a part of the trade with the Pirates for Wandy Rodriguez and several others are top players in the Astros minor league system. Cisnero, one of the winningest pitchers of the system in 2012 spent time at both AA Corpus and AAA OKC ending his season 13-7 with a 3.70 ERA and twice being named Texas League Player of the Week.
Like Cisnero, Cosart spent time at both AA and AAA during the 2012 season with 21 combined appearances. In his 6 starts at OKC he threw for an impressive 2.60 ERA. Cosart was also named the top Astros pitching prospect by Baseball America and MLB.com.
Lo, who spent part of the 2012 season injured, impressed in the Arizona Fall League this year posting a 2.40 ERA in 14 games that included 3 saves. Oberholtzer had a split record of 10-10with a 4.37 ERA in his 28 combined starts at AA and AAA this past season and earned Texas League All-Stars before moving up to OKC.
Seaton spent much of his season at AA Corpus (25 games) where he was 8-8 with a 4.07 ERA allowing only 31 walks. He tied for 7th in the minors with 169.1 IP, but led the Texas League in strikeouts with 91. Finally, Jonathon Villar spent 2012 at AA Corpus Christi where he hit .261 with 54 runs, 11 home runs, 50 RBI and 39 stolen bases in 86 games. At the start of the season Villar was ranked as the 4th best prospect in the Astros’ system by Baseball America. He’s been recognized as the best defensive infielder in the system.
In addition, it was announced that RHP Mickey Storey has been claimed off waivers by the New York Yankees (no more sing alongs of “Oh Mickey” it seems), and IF Scott Moore has been outrighted to AAA Oklahoma City. Time will tell if Moore decides to accept this assignment or select free agency.
These moves leave the Astros 40-man roster at 36 just a few hours shy of the deadline.
Let the “hot stove” season begin….
Terri Schlather (AGirlintheSouth) is the tortured Senior Houston Astros Writer for Aerys Sports. You can email her at email@example.com, or follow her ridiculous ramblings on sports, vodka and the weeone on twitter @agirlinthesouth.