The Houston Astros announced today that outfielder Corey Julks and catcher César Salazar made the opening day roster. Two choices made by Dusty Baker and Dana Brown that may be a surprise, but are definitely deserving.
Corey Julks, 27, was drafted in the 8th round of the 2017 draft out of the University of Houston. The right-handed hitter was Rule 5 eligible earlier in the offseason and was left unprotected, but now he will play at major league level. Julks had a really good year in Triple-A Sugar Land last season, hitting 31 homers and driving in 89 runs in 130 games. Justin Dirden was a favorite to earn a spot, but Corey’s verstatility and the ability to play both infield and outfield definitely helped him..
César Salazar, 27, is a surprising choice. Not due to his play, but due to the catchers that were above him like Korey Lee. César had a good season last year, hitting 16 home runs and driving in 60 runs in 102 games. Salazar played most of the season at Double-a but also had some Triple-A time. He had a strong spring training, posting an .978 OPS in 21 at bats. Korey Lee was the favorite to win the spot, but Dana Brown believes César fits better in this role as Lee will now get consistent at-bats in Triple-A.
Despite entering the MLB older than the norm, they are two interesting prospects who may finally are taking the next step in their careers.
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