Astro fans entered the 2019 season with the thought that the best additions to the club would be the return of a healthy Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve. While Correa seems back to his 2017 self (.297 BA/ .355 OBP/ .941 OPS with 9 HRs and 21 RBIs), Altuve is in the depths of a slump that except for one short 6 HR in 5 RBI binge has been bad.
So, let’s look at and rank those “other” off-season additions:
- Michael Brantley – This is a small nod over #2 on this list, but Brantley has been tremendous in many ways, not the least his .346/.380/.988 slash with 9 HRs and 27 RBIs. He has solidified the cleanup spot, given the Astros a much needed left-handed bat in the first five and been the ultimate professional hitter, going the other way or cranking it into the right field seats depending on the pitch. Opposing pitchers know that the BRRR brothers (Alex Bregman and Brantley) will give them a battle on every at bat.
- Wade Miley – Miley’s numbers have not been as spectacular as Brantley’s, but his performance with a 2-2 record, 3.20 ERA, 1.169 WHIP where his “worst” start is a 4 IP / 3 ER effort has been a solid win for the front office. This is a team that had to replace three of their 5 starters in the rotation. Of the three newbies (Miley, Collin McHugh and Brad Peacock), Miley has been the best and most consistent. Considering he is only costing the team $4.5 million this year, he has been a clear bargain to date.
- Robinson Chirinos – He may have been downgraded in our minds coming from the much hated Rangers, but he has been everything the team and fans could want in their new catcher. He is hitting a very good .272 BA/ .384 OBP/ .902 OPS. He is on an equivalent 162 game pace of 90 runs scored, 24 HRs, 90 RBIs. Sure he is only throwing out 20% of runners, but he seems to be doing a good job with his new pitching staff. And a big reason that George Springer has a bunch of RBIs from the leadoff spot is the fact that the lineup gets flipped with Chirinos getting on base along with his buddies at the bottom of the order.
- Aledmys Diaz – Folks may be disappointed in Diaz and say that he is not as good as Marwin Gonzalez offensively or defensively, who he is replacing. Just remember that in truth that Brantley is mostly replacing MarGo, who played more than half his games last season in left field. Diaz has been under-producing at the plate vs. his career numbers, but has come up with some key hits and home runs and has willingly jumped in at some positions (e.g. 1B and OF) where he has little or no experience. Diaz is 4th among these new arrivals, but he has been decent and at times clutch for the team.
So, how do you rank these four newcomers and how do you feel about the job the front office did in picking them up?