29-year old righty swinging Justin Maxwell heads into spring training as the Astros’ starting CF. He played in 124 games for the Astros last year and he was 72 of 315 (.229 avg, .764 OPS) with 46 runs scored, 18 homers, 53 RBIs and 9 stolen bases. He whiffed 114 times while only walking 32 times last year, as he is a big time hacker at the plate. Maxwell played in 59 games (47 starts) in CF last year for the Astros and he had 4 assists and 0 errors there while showing out of this world range. Maxwell has now played in 246 games in his first four years in the majors and he is 116 of 534 (.217 avg, .737 OPS) with 80 runs scored, 27 homers, 79 RBIs and 20 stolen bases. 33-year old lefty swinging Rick Ankiel will probably be Maxwell’s top backup in 2013. He played in 68 games for the Nationals last year and he was 36 of 158 (.228 avg, .694 OPS) with 15 runs scored, 5 homers, 15 RBIs and 1 stolen base. Ankiel played in 63 games (37 starts) in CF last year and he had 2 assists and 2 errors there while showing outstanding range. Ankiel has now played in 608 games in his first 10 years in the majors and he is 438 of 1,793 (.244 avg, .729 OPS) with 247 runs scored, 69 homers, 233 RBIs and 21 stolen bases. 26-year old righty swinging Brandon Barnes got his first taste of the majors for the Astros last year. He played in 43 games for the Astros last year and he was 20 for 98 (.204 avg, .515 OPS) with 8 runs scored, 1 homer, 7 RBIs and 1 stolen base. He walked 5 times while whiffing 29 times for the Astros last year, so he has some things to fix with his swing. Barnes played in 32 games (23 starts) in CF last year and he had 2 assists and 0 errors there while showing outstanding range. Barnes also played in 106 games in AA+AAA-ball last year in which he was 128 of 399 (.321 avg, .894 OPS) with 81 runs scored, 12 homers, 69 RBIs and 21 stolen bases. 29-year old switch-hitting Trevor Crowe will also be trying to win a bench job with the Astros this spring. Crowe played in 84 games in AA+AAA-ball last year for the Indians and Angels and he was 87 of 310 (.281 avg, .745 OPS) with 47 runs scored, 3 homers, 29 RBIs and 18 stolen bases. Crowe last played in the majors back in 2011 with the Indians. He has played in 205 games in his first three years in the majors and he is 160 of 653 (.245 avg, .625 OPS) with 76 runs scored, 3 homers, 55 RBIs and 29 stolen bases.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE CENTER FIELDERS IN 2013: C+