Description: Houston right-hander Jose Veras is the front-runner to be the team's full-time closer, according to the Astros' official website. "If you're going to take a chance on someone to be a first-time closer, that's the type of guy you want," manager Bo Porter said. "We do have other pitchers that will get an opportunity to pitch late in the game, whether it's [Rhiner] Cruz, who had a really good winter league, or [Hector] Ambriz. There are others who will get a look, but Veras has the experience right now and is the front-runner."
Insight: Veras has appeared in 327 games at the big league level but has just five saves with a 4.01 ERA. Houston still had 31 saves as a team last season despite losing 107 games, so Veras will certainly have value if he wins the job. But he might have a hard time keeping it if he walks 4.9 batters per nine innings like he has in his first 314 1/3 innings.