MINNEAPOLIS — The Astros’ 28-man roster for their wild card series against the Twins included 12 pitchers and an outfielder who may soon make a pressure-filled major league debut.
Somewhat surprisingly, Houston included rookie Chas McCormick as a sixth outfielder on their active roster against the Twins. McCormick, a 21st round pick in the 2017 draft who signed for $1,000, has never appeared in a major league game.
“You got to play in your first big-league game some time,” manager Dusty Baker quipped.
McCormick had an .818 OPS in 448 plate appearances between Class AA Corpus Christi and Class AAA Round Rock last season. He was a non-roster invitee to spring training this February, where he impressed the organization with his strike-zone discipline and plus defense.
“Chas is a plus defensive outfielder,” general manager James Click said. “We think he gives us a quality at-bat and it would be nice to see a guy get his big league debut in a series like this — add a little spice to the lineup, add a little spice to the roster.”
McCormick’s inclusion affords the Astros more team speed on the bench and allows Baker more maneuverability in deploying the speedy Myles Straw.
“We figured with (Cristian) Javier, (Framber) Valdez and guys in the bullpen, we had an extra spot for somebody that can run, play some defense, maybe pinch hit,” Baker said. “You would like all the time to have a designated runner, so I wouldn’t have to burn Straw all the time and keep him around for the outfield. That’s what went into that decision. We had a spot that we thought we needed to fill with some speed.”
Click is not foreign to throwing rookies into the fire. During Click’s tenure in Tampa Bay, the Rays added Kevin Kiermaier to their active roster for Game 163 against the Texas Rangers. Kiermaier appeared in the ninth inning of that game, making his major league debut during the Rays’ 5-2 win.
If McCormick appears in this series, he’d be just the third rookie to make his major league debut in a postseason game. Adalberto Mondesi appeared for the Royals in the 2015 World Series and Mark Kiger pitched for the A’s in the 2006 playoffs.