Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow announced Sunday that Jose Altuve, Brian Bogusevic, Jason Castro, J.D. Martinez and Marwin Gonzalez will make their first big league Opening Day roster.
Gonzalez stands out due to being a Rule 5 Draft pick.
“We informed them that they are going to make the ballclub,” Luhnow said. “They are five position players who have never been on an Opening Day roster. It’s one of the fun things we get to do. We brought them all into Brad’s [Mills] office and let them know.”
Altuve, 21, hit .276 with two homers, 12 RBI, 10 doubles and 26 runs scored over 57 games for the Astros as a rookie last season.
He created excitement by advancing through the Astros’ farm system and representing the organization in the 2011 XM All-Star Futures prior to his making his big league debut on July 20.
Altuve was named as the Astros’ Minor League Player of the Year after hitting a combined .389 with 10 home runs and 59 RBI over 87 games with Double-A Corpus Christi and High A Lancaster.
Bogusevic, 28, hit .287 with four homers, 15 RBI, 14 doubles and a triple over 164 at-bats in 87 games for the Astros last season.
He made 32 starts in August and September.
Although Bogusevic played just 40 games in right, he ranked sixth in the National League with nine outfield assists from the position.
He recently told nextooze.com that it was his biggest personal goal for 2012 was making the team and securing the starting job in right.
Castro, 24, missed the entire 2011 season after undergoing surgery last March to repair a torn meniscus and torn ACL in his right knee.
The Stanford University product was selected by the Astros in the first round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft and ranked as Houston’s top overall prospect over two straight seasons (2009-10).
He hit .205 over 67 games as a rookie for Houston in 2010.
Martinez, 24, hit .274 with six homers, 35 RBI, 13 doubles and 29 runs scored over 208 at-bats in 53 games for Houston last season.
The 2011 Texas League All-Star had his contract purchased from Double-A Corpus Christi on July 29 to fill Hunter Pence’s spot.
Pence had been traded to the Philadelphia Phillies.
Martinez, a 20th-round pick by Houston in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, immediately turned heads by recording 28 RBI in the month of August — the most ever by an Astros rookie in a calendar month.
It marked the second-highest total in August by a rookie in National League history behind Todd Helton (29) and David Justice (29).
Gonzalez, 23, was acquired by the Astros from Boston last December in exchange for right-hander Marco Duarte and cash.
He had been selected by the Red Sox in the first round of the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft off the Cubs’ Triple-A Iowa roster.
Gonzalez was then dealt to Houston afterward.
He hit a combined .288 with four home runs, 39 RBI and 30 doubles in 124 games at Iowa and Double-A Tennessee last season.
Although Gonzalez has made the Opening Day roster, he will have to remain on the roster all season or be offered back to the Cubs.
“Marwin has done a terrific job defensively,” Luhnow said. “He has shown that he’s capable of taking big league at-bats. He is ready. He’s a valuable asset to us. We’d like to have a guy like that in our organization. To do that, we’ve got to keep him on the 25-man [roster]. We are going to start the season with him.
“Hopefully, it will work out.”
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