2015 vs. 2017 Astros’ playoffs: Two years is a long time

I’m at that age where I not only have forgotten more than most people know, I seem to forget every day most everything I used to know. Therefore it is no surprise that in reviewing the Astros 2015 ALDS roster against the KC Royals that I’ve forgotten:

  • That the Astros split was only 11 pitchers and 14 every day players. The discussions about the 2017 playoff  rosters lately has been talking about dropping from a 13-12 split to a 12-13 split, not a 11-14 split. Did this lead to the bullpen disaster of game four back then? Probably not, but it did not help.
  • That Chris Carter and Jed Lowrie were still with us in 2015. It feels like so much longer ago than that.
  • That Oliver Perez and Josh Fields were prominent in the bullpen
  • That Evan Gattis was only DH’ing and Jason Castro and Hank Conger were manning the plate.

How would we compare rosters between 2015 and the likely roster for 2017? Well here is a shot at just that.

POS 2015 PLAYOFF ROSTER 2017 PLAYOFF ROSTER? COMMENTS
1B CHRIS CARTER YULI GURRIEL 2017 ADVANTAGE
2B JOSE ALTUVE JOSE ALTUVE PUSH
SS CARLOS CORREA CARLOS CORREA 2017 ADVANTAGE
3B LUIS VALBUENA ALEX BREGMAN 2017 ADVANTAGE
C JASON CASTRO BRIAN MCCANN 2017 ADVANTAGE
RF GEORGE SPRINGER JOSH REDDICK PUSH
CF CARLOS GOMEZ GEORGE SPRINGER 2017 ADVANTAGE
LF COLBY RASMUS MARWIN GONZALEZ 2017 ADVANTAGE
DH EVAN GATTIS CARLOS BELTRAN PUSH
SUB HANK CONGER EVAN GATTIS 2017 ADVANTAGE
SUB MARWIN GONZALEZ DEREK FISHER 2015 ADVANTAGE
SUB JED LOWRIE COLIN MORAN 2015 ADVANTAGE
SUB JAKE MARISNICK CAMERON MAYBIN 2017 ADVANTAGE
SP DALLAS KEUCHEL JUSTIN VERLANDER 2015 ADVANTAGE
SP COLLIN MCHUGH DALLAS KEUCHEL 2017 ADVANTAGE
SP SCOTT KAZMIR BRAD PEACOCK 2017 ADVANTAGE
SP LANCE MCCULLERS COLLIN MCHUGH 2017 ADVANTAGE
SP MIKE FIERS CHARLIE MORTON 2017 ADVANTAGE
RP LUKE GREGERSON KEN GILES 2017 ADVANTAGE
RP WILL HARRIS CHRIS DEVENSKI PUSH
RP PAT NESHEK WILL HARRIS PUSH
RP TONY SIPP LUKE GREGERSON 2017 ADVANTAGE
RP JOSH FIELDS JOE MUSGROVE 2017 ADVANTAGE
RP OLIVER PEREZ FRANCISCO LIRIANO PUSH
25TH PRESTON TUCKER MIKE FIERS PUSH

My assumption here is that the Astros will do a 12/13 split and that the last spot would be Fiers this time around.

Overall the starting lineup should be stronger this time around, even with a few of the same people involved. The bench seems a little worse this time around, while the rotation and the bullpen seem deeper and better.

  • Do you agree with the 2017 playoff roster shown above?
  • Do you agree with the 12/13 pitcher vs. everyday player split?
  • Do you agree with how this team is rated vs. that one?
  • Do you think this team has a better shot than that one of going deep in the playoffs?
Advertisement

124 comments on “2015 vs. 2017 Astros’ playoffs: Two years is a long time

  1. Conspicuous in your absent list is LMJ. He’s obviously still a question mark as to being available. Liriano over Sipp is now a no brainer. He has been super in his last two outings. Martes was mentioned by our announcers last night and that’s a big no-no in my book. Otherwise the pitching corp looks good. Peacock definitely is in the rotation. Good command, location, and lots of movement on his pitches.
    The sub list is questionable though. Fisher looked pathetic last night at the plate, Maybin not much better (even after his big debut), and Moran will need some plate appearances to see if he is back in form. I think Centeno/Stassi needs to be on the roster. McGattis isn’t going to throw anybody out stealing but Centeno almost threw one out from the knees even after hesitating. If healthy, I take Marisnick over Maybin. If we’re looking for a bat I prefer Tyler White. I often wish we still had Aoki. But no matter, if these guys play like they can we can expect big things.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. If LMJ is not at least in the bullpen, I think that is a huge disappointment.
    Maybin, Marwin and Beltan are outfielders. Do we need Fisher? I’d rather keep White or a catcher.
    I don’t think Fiers should be in the bullpen. How would he help?

    Liked by 2 people

      • Yes, they have decided to give him a target in the middle of the plate, rather than moving the target around. They figured his pitches move so much, they would let him try throwing strikes rather than pitch to corners and let his movement get batters out rather than location.

        Liked by 1 person

    • 1OP…Forgot about Fiers. Another no brainer to leave him off the roster. This is like a new short season. You go with what’s working best for you.

      Like

    • Harold Reynolds did a spot the other night highlighting the difference between regular season baseball v. playoff baseball. From an offensive perspective, you have to make productive outs and sometimes try to manufacture a run. You can’t expect an 11-3 game and should anticipate more games being tight.

      I think Fisher gives you defensive value that neither White nor any of our catcher options provide. Also, losing JFSF means we lost our late inning pinch running option. Fisher may not steal a bag at will, but can score from 2nd on a single better than anyone else in the discussion.

      Like

      • That is true. But, you already have Maybin as a fourth outfielder or late inning replacement/pinch runner.
        My thinking is this: You go into this playoff series with four days rest and with an infield of Bregman, Correa, Altuve, Gurriel. You have Marwin in LF, Springer in CF and Reddick in RF and Beltran DHing. That’s your best lineup and they are rested and after two games they get a day off. If you win the five game series you get another day or two off and you play your absolute best lineup every day in the next series.
        If you are ahead late in games, stick Maybin in the OF, move Marwin to 1B and you have your best defense out there.
        Where you need a PHer or a pinch runner is for your catcher late in the game if he gets on base and you need that run badly. In that case you want a third, defensive catcher to come into the game late so that you have flexibility and don’t lose your DH if Gattis happens to be your DH instead of Beltran in that particular game.
        From what I’ve seen of Maybin and Fisher in the last two weeks at the plate, I want the starters to stay in the game and let the bench players stay on the bench as much as possible. I’m happy with Marwin in LF and Yuli at 1B.

        Like

      • Don’t forget that Marwin is also your backup 1B, backup 2B, backup 3B, and backup SS. If you bring White, you could consider him to be the backup 1B. I do agree with wanting another catcher, but it’s not like any of our options for 3rd catcher present a defensive upgrade over Gattis.

        Like

      • I consider Stassi an upgrade defensively at catcher over Gattis, but I love having him to catch late and either Gattis or McCann as PHers if I need them to win a game at the plate late.

        Like

    • McCullers over Fiers. Fiers is a gasoline man trying to put out a “fire.” Fisher has looked clueless recently. I am disappointed that he looked so very good with a knowledge of the strike zone early but now, he has lost it. Stassi as a third catcher for insurance.

      Like

  3. I guess I’m being a bit “show me” here. Until LMJ actually pitches successfully – I am not listing him – but I agree if he does show healthy even if mediocre he should take Fiers spot.
    The bench is weak and I’m contradicting myself by showing Moran there since he hadn’t shown healthy yet – but that is how weak the bench is. I mean with Jake injured they either go with 3 OFs and Marwin or they include Fisher. White probably belongs but he seems to be an after thought to them.

    Like

  4. OF topic but got late to that party last night

    Watching some of the red sox game along with astro game. UGH Sale and Pomernaz to tough lefties maybe pitching twice in a 5 game series, come on Yankees, not to mention we play better in Yankee stadium than we do at Fenway.

    Like

  5. Why would they do that? The Astros will throw Verlander and Keuchel and then have a guy who is 12-2 as their third starter. If Boston burns up their rotation in the ALDS, who are they gonna throw in the next series?
    The only way Boston does that is if they are behind in the series after three games and if that is the case, the Astros would have already won at least one of those games against their two LHed starters.
    With all the great right handed hitters the Astros have, if they can’t beat left handed pitchers in the playoffs, then they aren’t good enough to be there.
    BS and stats only carry you to the playoffs. After that, it’s how you hit, pitch and field. If you can’t hit their pitchers, you go home.

    Liked by 3 people

    • ALDS if HOU v. BOS
      10/5, 10/6, off, 10/8, 10/9, off, 10/11
      If you go with a 4 man rotation, then you have five full days of rest for the starter of game 1 before he would pitch in game 5. If your club is down 2-1 you may chance sliding him up to pitch on 3 days rest instead of risking that your fourth starter can get you to game 5. You don’t keep guys fresh for the golf course unless you’re Buck Showalter.

      ALCS:
      10/13, 10/14, off, 10/16, 10/17, 10/18, off, 10/20, 10/21
      Best strategy is not getting down 0-3, but you get into an all hands on deck situation in any elimination game. Other than that, yes, get your guys rest.

      WS:
      10/25, 10/26, off, 10/27. 10/28, off, 10/29, off, 10/31, 11/1
      Rest situation is a little better than in the ALSC.

      Like

    • I guess I’m the only one that fears the way we hit lefties we could be down 0-2 in a Boston Minute. I would still rather play the Yankees and in yankee stadium.

      Like

      • Actually, I am concerned about it, too. But it’s too late to fear them because we are going to face a really good team in each round of the playoffs this year and we are going to have to play our best to win.
        I am more concerned about the way we play than I am about the other teams. If the Astros play their best, I think they can beat anyone.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t want to play the Yankees right now. They look like a team that is prime to pull off an upset. I think the Astros are better off facing Boston in the ALDS. That Yankees lineup is rolling right and I would rather see them battle Cleveland than us.

        Like

  6. Dan, this is a great post. It really makes us think and go back and check.
    Lowrie’s injury in late April really set him back for the rest of the season. He hit .194 for the second half of the season and was a non-factor in the playoffs going 0 for 4.
    He did hit the fly ball homer that wrapped around the foul pole that Cole Calhoun tried to field like a sumo wrestler in that miracle comeback game in Anaheim. Other than that, he was a popup machine the entire second half of the season.
    Preston Tucker had two K’s and a walk in the PA’s in the playoffs and he was miserable in the final two months of the season after pitchers figured out he could not hit a high fastball.
    So you have a win for Lowrie over Moran and a push for Tucker over Fiers in your post. It would take one hit and a run scored by Moran to supecede what Lowrie gave us in the playoffs in 2015. Lowrie was not recovered from his surgery.
    And It would take one good bullpen appearance by any reliever to give the 2017 Astros a win over Tucker’s playoff performance of 2015. I’m going to look further into your matchups to try and give us a better feeling about our chances.

    Like

    • Wow thanks for looking those up, op – among all the things I forgot was how very bad Mr. Tucker and Mr. Lowrie were in the second half. I hope Moran gets some ABs down the stretch, the young man earned it in my mind with how he performed before the incident.

      Like

  7. 2015 Jose Altuve vs 2017 Jose Altuve is not a push.
    Altuve’s OPS in 2015 was .812 and this year it is .967
    His WAR in 2015 was 4.5 and right now it is 7.9 per baseball reference.
    Altuve’s OPS in the playoffs was an unbelievably bad .339. Gosh I would hope this year’s Jose altuve will be a lot better than 2015’s for the postseason.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I can’t find room on a playoff roster for Fisher or Fiers today. I’ve not watched much baseball lately, but I don’t want to rely on Fiers for anything but garbage time, and I don’t think we have room for a pitcher designated for that assignment in the post season. With Fisher, it comes down to having Maybin, who will play D and run the bases as well as anyone. If there is room for another bat, I probably do go with White, because I think he’s better prepared right now to have a good AB than any of the other guys, especially against the lefties we seem to be worried about.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. More mystery around McCullers yet again. “He’ll play catch again tomorrow and we will re-evaluate him”…..what’s THAT supposed to mean??? If he’s not gonna pitch the rest of the year, he sits home when it comes to the playoffs. I’m done with this guy.

    Like

  10. Becky all I can guess is that there is really something wrong with him and as much as the club wants him on the roster for the payoffs, they don’t want to screw him up worse.

    Like

  11. So let’s say McCullers can’t pitch in the playoffs and you don’t keep Fiers on the playoff roster – who do you keep? Martens, Hoyt or Sipp or am I forgetting someone?

    Does the playoff 25 work like the regular 25 would you have to DFA Fiers?

    I’d rather have White but I think it’s going to be Fisher.

    Like

    • Yes, you can adjust the playoff roster at the beginning of each series. So, the ALDS roster may be different than the ALCS roster, which may be different than the WS roster.

      Like

  12. After all those dumb base running decisions, we finally got paid back by the baseball gods when Jake wrecked his thumb. Alas, it continues. And we really should not expect it to stop in the post season.

    Like

    • Agreed Dave and TG we got JV!!! However if Springer and CC don’t start doing more than poping out or grounded out , we are toast in Playoffs )-:

      Like

  13. Robert Ford said it will either be McHugh or McCullers Sunday……my money is on McHugh. Francis Martes gave up a homerun……he’s not gonna be on the playoff roster either. Why haven’t we seen Feliz since he’s been back off DL???? Anyone have an idea WHY our guys can’t hit tonight? Our resident $16 million dollar babysitter has struck out everytime he gets to the plate.

    Like

      • They really wanted his leadership and expected performance on this team. They did not expect him to drop off in production this much. Considering he has been boo’d every time he has played at MMP as a visiting player for the past 12 years they had to over pay to get him to come here.

        The elephant in the room is how can the Astros justify giving a playoff roster spot to a player that can’t play in the field and, since August 1st, has a 46 wRC+ with a .203 batting average. Those are decent numbers for a pitcher hitting in the National League, but they are abysmal for a player who is supposed to be your starting Designated Hitter

        Liked by 1 person

      • You all forget that once the postseason starts you get a reset. All it takes is a few timely hits and Beltran’s contract would look like a steal. I really thought he was going to get one of those last night in the ninth…but just pulled the ball a little too much.

        Like

  14. Indians are now 2 games in front of us for home field advantage. They might as well forget getting home field advantage, the Indians don’t want to lose.

    Like

    • Back when we were hot there was a lot of two out rally’s. Haven’t seen any of those in the last few months, but sure have seen a lot of “nobody out, 1 out, 2 men on or bases loaded” and then no runs scored. Got to correct this or it will be a short post season. Since the AS break or trio of Altuve, Correa, Springer have seen their averages drop significantly. No I didn’t expect Altuve to hit 360 but he seems to have entered a batting funk as of lately. Springer and Correa, well that’s a different story; 243 and 176 respectively. It also just PO’s me off when they take that 1st pitch fastball down the middle and then flail away at pitches off the plate. In the game before last at least Altuve was swinging at the first pitch, getting good contact, but right at the opposing player.
      Why aren’t we trying to hit opposite the “shift” deployed? The whole side of the infield is open sometimes and we don’t try to punch it through. Maybe we’re saving this one for the playoffs. I don’t care how we get a hit, as long as we get one.
      Dan, as you pointed out, our hitters are making guys with era’s > 4.50 look like Cy Young. Pretty pathetic if you ask me.
      OK, one more while I’m on a role. When Bregman got picked off last night I was earlier thinking, why don’t our pitcher’s try for a pick off when there is a 3/2 count because the runner is already geared to run and may not be looking for a pick off move.He just got caught not paying attention. Considering how many stolen bases we’ve allowed this year it sure wouldn’t hurt to try.

      Like

  15. I think the Astros are going to go with 11 pitchers and 14 position players for the ALDS. They will have 3 days off from the end of the regular season to the start of the ALDS and, if the opening series goes the distance, will have 2 off days during the ALDS. A bullpen of 7 arms should be plenty. I expect them to add a 3rd catcher for the ALDS and I hope it is Stassi. With this being said here is my playoff roster:

    Keuchel, Verlander, Morton, Peacock, McHugh, Giles, Harris, Musgrove, Liriano, Devo and McCullers/Gregerson (this spot is determined by McCullers health)

    McCann, Gattis, Stassi, Gurriel, Altuve, Correa, Bregman, Marwin, Springer, Reddick, Maybin, Fisher, White, Beltran (They are, unfortunately, not going to leave him off).

    Now, if McCullers is healthy they may decide to go with 12 pitchers and 13 position players. Thus, both McCullers and Gregerson make it and either Fisher or White is left off. I think they keep Fisher to have an extra PR allowing Maybin to be a defensive replacement late in the game. The Marisnick injury hurt more than we want to admit. His bat, while still not strong, is better than Fisher and he plays better D and is just as good, if not better, base runner.

    Like

    • Tim, I had almost the same list that you had. And yes, I’d rather have Marisnick than Maybin but the injury will be the determining factor. Awfully dangerous, us thinking alike on this one. LOL

      Liked by 1 person

    • Tim I cant hit like but love your post on Beltran. I think baseball is a game where you cant suck for 4 weeks, 2 days later your in the playoffs and all the sudden your great again. This team as of today makes me very nervous for any kind of playoff run, lost their mojo and swagger right after The AS break.

      Like

  16. I hate to point this out – but Bregman was picked off with Gurriel on first and McCann at bat. And of course when McCann led off the next inning he hit a homer. And of course we lost by 2 runs….

    Like

  17. I would never rate us as the most focused disciplined team for sure, we make lot of dumb mistakes and decisions. I don’t get that at all since we brought in all this new leadership?

    Like

  18. Remember when the A’s bushwhacked us, and swept us 4 games while outscoring us something that seemed like 100 Billion to 11? Well, they are now 11 of their last 14. Okay two of the series they won were against Philadelphia and the now hapless Detroit Tigers – but still they have been scoring pretty much at will.

    Now the A’s host Texas, while we host their in-state rivals, the Angels. Then we go to Arlington to face the Rangers one [hopefully] last time this year.

    So . . . what think you? Will the A’s ‘tank’ their series against Texas in hopes of spoiling the Angels’ already thin play-off hopes?

    And will our Astros rediscover our offensive mojo and take both California and Texas completely out of the post-season playoff picture?

    Like

  19. Marwin certainly has been feeling his oats this year! That’s the second time he and Hinch have been tossed arguing balls and strikes!
    That was AL MOST an ugly inning by Giles….dude let’s not make the 9th so “interesting”!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Don’t sell the pitch short by Giles to get that ball to Altuve. He exploded Mike Trout’s bat with a 99 MPH fastball on the inside corner. There were splinters flying all over the place.
    That game came down to two fastballs and Giles’s was fabulous and Petit’s was a meatball.
    The Astros had better face the fact that pitchers are going to throw them 75-80% off speed stuff because the Astros look terrible against it. Oakland started doing it in Oakland and every scout covering the Astros has gone back to their team and told them about how off speed stuff is baffling the Astros. Tonight was a perfect example. One fastball to Yuli lost the game for the Angels. Richards threw around 15 fastballs all night. and most of them were away. Here is a guy with a 96 mph fastball and he hardly threw any.
    Rarely have I seen an umpire make calls so bad on one at bat. But what about the strike that would have ended the game for Giles that was called a ball. The entire ball was inside the zone. That looked like payback.
    I was working 16 hours a day when the Astros acquired Randy Johnson and was not able to see him pitch much as an Astro. Is Verlander pitching like Johnson was?

    Like

      • They can hit the off speed stuff, but they are lazy. They’re sitting back and ignoring pitches while waiting on a fastball. Then they fall behind and hack at anything they can hit and are not barreling up while swinging at junk.
        If they would go up there with a purpose of looking for a curve ball over the plate and then crush a few of them, pitchers would have to go back and make adjustments and throw some fastballs again.

        Liked by 1 person

  21. Oakland just beat Texas and Nelson Cruz just hit a walkoff home run off of Cleveland’s closer. Astros trail the Indians by 1.5 games.
    Houston, Boston and Cleveland are all 8-2 in their last 10 games.
    Detroit has the worst record in the AL.
    I love that Cora had Musgrove and Liriano up throwing in the ninth inning with Giles on the mound. The win is the most important thing.
    Yuli Gurriel is a star.
    Starting off the winning rally with a single and then stealing 2B is what MVPs do.
    Then you cap it off with an incredibly smart defensive play in the ninth to help secure the win. He’s really good!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Well JV wow, TY JL!!!!! The media and a lot of fans always chirping Altuve, CC, and Springer and rightfully so, where the hell would we be with out Gurriel, Reddick, Peacock, and Margo, probably fighting for the wild card spot. Just saying

    Liked by 3 people

  23. Did anyone notice Bregman scoring on Correa’s hit and then stopping and whispering something to Gattis about the Angel’s pitcher just before Gattis stepped to the plate to hit that homer? Gattis high fived everyone except Bregman in the dugout. He leaned down and patted Bregman on the top of the head, as if to say thanks.

    Liked by 3 people

  24. – After today’s game Charlie Morton revealed he was under the weather and Jake Kaplan said it sounded like Morton had a cold. Morton passed his test!
    – Morton said he left some curves up trying to throw strikes and said he should have buried more of them low. He sounded very coldy on the video. He has no idea what his role in the playoffs will be, but said “put me in anywhere.”
    – The Astros appear to have some pretty good pitchers.
    – Correa said that he was trying to make contact today, not trying to hit the ball out of the park.
    – Gattis’s HR was his first since July 29th. That was a beautiful sight.
    – Cameron Maybin is working his way into a pinch runner role quickly. I’m afraid he spent too much time with the hitting coach.
    – What do we want to see from LMJ tomorrow? For me, it’s command and control, even if it’s for only three innings.
    – Cleveland has scored 8 runs late and lead Seattle 11-3 in the ninth inning.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I’m starting to feel a bit more confident about things in general.

    Marwin has reawakened. With that .928 OPS against righties, he needs to be in the line up against them in the post season, whether it means as a DH or a left fielder. That poked double down the line yesterday was a thing of beauty.

    And this sure would be the time for Gattis to go on his streak. He’s long overdue.

    Correa looked great at the plate yesterday. What a time for him to get going.

    Springer sure has been struggling. But his BABIP is .243 on the month, and he’s still walked 12 times while striking out 11. He’ll come around, but it has to start now. What most impresses me about George is that he’s only struck out 107 times on the season. We used to think of him as a potential 200 K guy.

    Charlie Morton got through 7 innings on 81 pitches yesterday. His best month of the season is right now. I’m excited about him. And I just noticed that his BA against lefties is .172 with a .555 OPS on the season. We can expect him to be called in against a tough lefty bat at some point in the playoffs, regardless of what his role is.

    Liriano has given up 1 walk, 2 hits and a run in September. He just might be getting the hang of it.

    Musgrove has walked zero guys this month, while getting 11 K’s.

    Today is a big day in determining how the playoff pitching staff will shake out. If LMJ is sharp, as OP has already noted, even for a few innings, I’m less concerned about Keuchel right now. If we’ve got a bunch of other guys pitching well going into the post season, with most that can throw multiple innings, Dallas will be looking at a much quicker hook when he starts walking guys.

    It’s a shame, but Beltran is going to take at bats away from batter hitters in the post season. I hate to say this, but if he pulled a hamstring this week, I would not feel terrible.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s