The elephants not in the room:The Yanks’ and Astros’ Lineups


The Astros and Yankees have a lot in common this season. They are both performing at high levels, and both leading their respective divisions after more than 40% of the season is gone (though the Yanks have the Rays breathing down their necks, while the Rangers are just breathing 9.5 games back of the ‘Stros).

They both have had good offensive production, both in the top 4 in the AL in OPS and HRs and well above league average in runs scored. And they both have done this with a good chunk of a potential All-Star team on the IL.

For the Astros this has meant living without George Springer (.308 BA/ 1.032 OPS/ 17 HRs/ 43 RBIs so far in 2019), for 24 games and counting. Carlos Correa (.295 BA/ .907 OPS/ 11 HR/ 35 RBIs) had an excellent season interrupted by an overzealous massage (or so we have heard), has missed 22 games and is likely to have missed close to 40 before he is ready to go again. Former MVP Jose Altuve (.243 BA/ .801 OPS/ 9 HRs/ 21 RBIs) was struggling before he went on the IL and has missed 33 games, but is on rehab and hopefully will be back soon. Aledmys Diaz after a slow start has been a super-sub off the bench (.286 BA/ .831 OPS/ 5 HRs/ 21 RBIs in only 98 ABs) has been out 18 games so far. The first three hitters have been the heart of the offense along with Alex Bregman the last few years and Diaz has been a solid addition in a Marwin Gonzalez role.

The Yankees have been succeeding despite many injuries at pitcher and in their lineup. Looking only at the lineup here…..

Didi Gregrorius is back, but only after missing 63 games (27 HR / 86 RBIs in 2018) with TJ surgery. Aaron Judge (27 HR / 67 RBIs in only 112 games in 2018) has missed 50 games but is expected back soon. Giancarlo Stanton (38 HRs and 100 RBIs in 2018) only played in 3 of the Yankees 70 games, but is expected back this week. Aaron Hicks (27 HRs / 76 RBIs in 2018) missed 46 games, but is back even if his bat is lagging. Veteran Kendrys Morales (21 HRs / 57 RBIs in 2018) was brought in to help with the injuries and he went down after only 19 games with the Yanks.

On top of having their middle of the lineup players back soon, the Astros brought up the player they hope is the answer to their DH black hole in Yordan Alvarez (4 HRs in his first 6 games). Meanwhile, the Yanks have just traded for the AL leader in HRs (21) in Edwin Encarnacion. So, the scary part of this is….what will these two lineups look like when the fallen have returned.

Here’s one set of potential lineups……

Astros Yankees
Position Name Position Name
1. CF George Springer 1. 3B D.J. LeMahieu
2. 3B Alex Bregman 2. RF Aaron Judge
3. SS Carlos Correa 3. LF Giancarlo Stanton
4. LF Michael Brantley 4. 1B Luke Volt
5. DH Yordan Alvarez 5. DH Edwin Encarnacion
6. 2B Jose Altuve 6. CF Aaron Hicks
7. 3B Yuli Gurriel 7. C Gary Sanchez
8. C Robinson Cherinos 8. SS Didi Gregorius
9. RF Josh Reddick 9. 2B Gleyber Torres

Neither of these lineups promise much relief to opposing teams. The Yankees have insane power up and down, the Astros are not trailing by much and undoubtedly with better BAs.

Neither of these teams is a popular opponent right now and after the return of the wounded, folks will be wincing when they see these lineups.

So, how do you think these offenses produce through the rest of 2019? How would you construct their lineups?

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77 comments on “The elephants not in the room:The Yanks’ and Astros’ Lineups

  1. Two things I look forward to seeing from the Astros potent regular line-up are [1] consistency; and [2] ability to score runs by some means other than the home run. During the absence of our big 3, hits and runs have seemed to come in irregular extremes – it’s pretty much either a lot of hits and a big win, or a pretty ugly blow-out loss.

    Another big factor not referenced above is pitching. With the juiced ball in play, the Yankees are going to hit a lot of dingers. As long as they are mostly solo shots, hopefully our guys can match them dinger for dinger. But we need to find a way to get and cash in on a lot of lead-off singles and doubles, and then consistently move players around the bases the old fashioned way, if we are going to consistently beat the good teams down the stretch and in the playoffs.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. If/after all hands are back on deck, I suspect the Astros starting lineup will look more like this:

    vs. Righties:
    Springer
    Altuve
    Brantley
    Bregman
    Correa
    Alvarez
    Gurriel
    Chirinos
    Reddick

    vs. tough Lefties:
    Springer
    Altuve
    Brantley
    Bregman
    Correa
    Gurriel
    Chirinos [spelled every third day by Stassi]
    White
    Marisnick

    I have no idea what the Yanks will do when all their mashers get healthy. Their mgr. can pick a line-up out of a hat – it really doesn’t matter. Other than Gregorius and Encarnacion, they only have one style and quality of hitter – the guy who mashes a lot of HRs, strikes out a good bit, but still maintains a surprisingly strong OBP and a decent but not exceptional BA.

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    • Mr. Bill, once all those hands are back on deck, I don’t see a place on a healthy squad for my nephew Tubby. I’m hoping to see Diaz again produce the way he was producing before his hammy set back.

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      • You are probably correct, Dave. But I so want Tyler to come alive, and succeed as an Astro. Diaz is a great supersub – potentially even better than Marwin – so I really like him being available to pinch hit, fill in for someone who needs a day off, and start in getaway games. I think the fact that Tyler bats right-handed [albeit not too impressively thus far in 2019] gives him a critical advantage over Tony Kemp, who hits from the same side as Brantley, Reddick, Alvarez, K. Tuck, Fisher, and Stubbs.

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      • Bill, I’d like to see him clear waivers and stay in the system, getting a chance to start over, get in shape and increase his value to both himself and the club.

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  3. The big unknown is when our big three come back will it be like the first few days of spring training, or do they pick up where they were before they got hurt.
    Same thing with the Yankees I guess. Our regular lineup can beat ANYONE’S regular line up “every day of the week and twice on Sunday.” The Yankees do this every year, they buy up any and all starting pitchers, any and all available guys who can hit homeruns every time they are up. They are soo predictable it’s not funny. I have no idea how the rest of our season will go, but I have enough faith in Jeff Luhnow to give this team the pieces to keep them playing in November! GO ‘S T R O S!!!!

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  4. I don’t have any idea what do with a fully healthy line up, but I would love to see Bregman and Altuve at 1 and 2. I’m pretty sure that won’t happen though, because Hinch already has a favorite guy to hit first and I won’t argue with Hinch.

    I’d love to keep Alvarez at 4th or 5th, but Carlos would be pissed off if he got put in the 6th slot. So it will be interesting to see how things work out.

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  5. If Altuve hits like he did in the beginning of the season he needs to move down the lineup.
    And I know that is not likely to happen either.

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  6. IMHO injury is the elephant in the room, and I would propose shortening annual playing time. Spring training, Grapefruit League, etc. are too long. Many of the guys play with brakes on and still end up with breaks. Give them a break. Shorten the season and see if we can curtail injuries.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree, Diane, a shorter season would be the thing, especially when the WS extends into November. A shorter ST might be the best answer. If you shorten the season, by how many games? Back to the old 154 games? Would that make much of a difference injury wise? Tough sell to the owners, for sure. Make all the playoff series 2 out of 3 except for WS? Even tougher sell I reckon. Maybe expand the rosters by 2 or 3 players? I could see that maybe getting some traction. Back in our day and beyond, guys played through injuries, but with the pitching as good and powerful as it is nowadays it doesn’t take much discomfort by a hitter to be exposed. Maybe more doubleheaders? Back in the day they had those all the time. I’ve seen old schedules where a team might have 3 DHs in a week!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, roadthriller. Would definitely start with shaving off ST and no-count games. Two out of three playoff games is also okay by me. I realize it’s no guarantee and probably not too popular with the masses either.

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  7. No matter what the lineup is, I hope that when the guy pitching for the other team calls them out, they walk out the front door with their bats ready, rather than with their hands pointed toward the sky.

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    • Thanks Dave…I’ve dropped 63 pounds over the past year, really been working on it. 8 more pounds and I’ll be under 200 for the first time since I got married 18 years ago!

      Oh wait…you weren’t talking about me 👀 lol

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ha ha ha – so funny Billy C
        Congrats on the weight loss – great accomplishment. Are you doing anything special? Proud of you

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      • Thanks guys…I quit drinking soda , do a lot of walking, and generally don’t eat after 7pm. I’m going to be 41 on the 13th of August and have had two full-on strokes and several minis, in addition to other health issues. Figured I needed to do something.

        Hell, maybe I should be Tyler’s personal trainer lol

        Liked by 3 people

      • Way to go BC. I have been walking about 3 miles every morning and have dropped 40 pounds. You still have me by a couple. So for MY motivation, post your weight on the first of every month and I will try to keep up. The last time I was under 200, Ronald Reagan was President. And while we are high jacking a baseball site, do you have any beauty tips.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Y’all could be my inspiration as I could stand to drop 20 – 30. It seems I always put on a couple every winter no matter what I do. I walk and carry my bag when I play 9 holes a couple of times each week but the sedentary temp work situation doesn’t help. It really gets tough after we pass that 60 milestone.
        Need to get Miley some run support.

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  8. Verlander are you watching this game? The same run support Wade Miley got is the same run support you’re gonna get tomorrow. 16 scoreless innings for the first place team in the American league West😠

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  9. Cute story about David Bell, the Reds Manager. His dad was Buddy Bell, and his grandfather was Gus Bell, the centerfielder for the Reds back in 1950s. A young player named Vada Pinson came up and took over CF moving Gus to right.

    Years later, Vada Pinson was the first base coach for the visiting team in the 1970s. Buddy was playing for the Rangers. Prior to the game, Buddy goes up to Vada Pinson, who knew him as a kid back in Cincinnati. Says to Pinson, I want to introduce you to my two sons, the grandsons of Gus Bell. Pinson walks over to meet David and Mike Bell who are youngsters. Buddy introduces Pinson to them as “this is that guy to took Granddaddy’s job away from him.”

    Liked by 1 person

  10. If this loss wasn’t enough……the arlington little league gained a game on us.
    Go ahead and let them catch up Astros.

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  11. I have turned off the last two games because I can’t watch a major league team with two runners on and no outs continue to swing for the fences. The Astros are 2nd in OBP at .343 (behind the Dodgers) but are 9th in runs scored. Part is being 2nd in GDP with 72 (Behind the Angels). I am no stat wizard but if you get on base 1/3 of the time, and your team hits a home run once every 20 at bats, my math says a single or a walk or two would have won last nights game. Yep, a 3 run home run wins it too but that has an average of .050.

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  12. Jeez, I’m wondering what the customers will say if the Astros finally have the slump I’ve been half expecting during this injury crisis. What our guys have gotten done without Springer, Altuve, Correa, McHugh, Diaz has been remarkable as far as I’m concerned.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Totally agree daveb – if you went back in a time machine early in May and stated you would be without Correa, Altuve, Springer, Diaz, and McHugh (notice I don’t mention Stassi) for this much time with this much overlap and told you we would still have a 3-4 game lead – I think we would have taken it.
      Having an 8.5 game lead and a W-L among the best after this much time short handed has been remarkable

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      • Accolade’s to the “B” team that’s kept things going for us. I just hope the “A” team picks up where they left off and we can push the lead into double digits. A little disappointed in the RISP and LOB’s last night as I thought we should have won the game but alas, it was not to be.

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  13. Saw this blip last night on the Astros twitter feed.
    The Astros have purchased the contract of Felipe Paulino from the Sugarland Skeeters and will be assigned to Round Rock. I look at the scores for the Skeeters every one in a while, and he has been their closer. A real “Blast from the past”!!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Now Lorenzen holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
    and now the air is shattered by the force of Yordan’s blow.

    Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
    the band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
    and somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
    but there is no joy in Mudville — mighty Yordan has struck out.

    #TheNewbieMightNotBeQuiteReadyToHitClean-upYaThink?

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  15. Hinch said Alyuve might be back on Wed, the hit he got yesterday was a triple.
    Mr. Bill……it’s now or never!

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  16. OH LORD😭 3-0 REDS. Verlander just gave up 2 homeruns…..dude these guys never give you any run support, now they are behind the 8 ball 3 to 0.
    ((((Sigh))))…..JEEZE.😳.

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      • Maybe my imagination but these guys are just sitting on JV’s fastball which he throws too often early in the game IMO. Same thing for Cole. I’d like to see them mix it up a little more, especially in the early innings. When the lineup’s these days are hitting about .240 you can’t expect a whole lot.

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  17. Altuve is supposed to be in the lineup today. Springer is scheduled to start a rehab on Thursday. Stassi will be back in the next couple of days. McHugh’s arm is great but he wants to work on his timing and command a little while longer.
    When we hear injury talk about other teams we always hear about their starting pitchers who have missed the entire year, along with the corresponding “what ifs”. Lance McCullers Jr is sort of forgotten but he is the Astros 2019 “what if”. He needs to be added to every list of injured for the Astros.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Gerrit Cole just proved that, for Astro pitchers, issuing lead-off walks is a lot like like riding a bicycle, too. Let’s see if the inevitable multi-run bomb follows.

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  19. Making virtually every pitcher who starts against us look like Cy Young – CHECK!
    Our guys have really got certain things down!
    #WhatIsTheFastestRouteOutOfCincinnati?

    Liked by 1 person

      • He’s only been doing the Tuna for two weeks. He’s still affectionately Tubby to me. But if he keeps this Tuna business up, then you really can’t unload him, as much as the bats are struggling overall right now.

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  20. YA is the catalyst that could change the dynamics of any proposed lineup once all the troops have returned. I don’t know his righty/lefty splits, but if he becomes a consistent force it seems to me Hinch has a difficult time keeping him out the 4th/5th spot given his smooth power stroke. Upsetting the apple cart, I could care less (egos) if this kid is smacking line drives & HR’s. Secondly what becomes of the returnees, will they revert back to form or struggle back, esp GS. JA was struggling mightily but I suspect most of us feel he’ll return to form soon enough.
    GS is a lock for leadoff according to Hinch. It gets interesting after GS. You have to draw up several regular lineups, one without YA and one with him, another versus lefties.
    GS, AB, MB, JA, YA, CC, YG, C, JR would be my ideal lineup with YA

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  21. Crap on a cracker. Osuna blows a save we really needed. Getting two guys thrown out at the plate did not help after they did not send one home Monday night.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. The wheels come of the band aide wagon, that’s the fist time in forever I didn’t watch a series TG, just read you all’s posts, was much better.

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  23. Really this only the second week of bad baseball that I recall since the beginning of the season. Not too bad considering the team has had a sizable part of its WAR on the IL for the past month.

    My opinions:
    1. Jake without elite protection in front and behind is a bad hitter.

    2. Altuve will take some time to get his timing back against MLB pitching.

    3. If Alvarez can can hit .275 with 20 HR this year he will be a better add than anything I see out there on the trade market. Adding Alvarez to our lineup could end up being as much as an impact as the Yankees getting Judge back.

    4. I have seen enough of White to know that as soon as depth allows he should be gone. He is currently below replacement level with both bat and glove.

    5. I value the tools Straw brings to the table over those Kemp brings.
    Career Kemp – 549 AB, .240/.320/.371 .- .691 OPS. 16 SB/ 7 CS. 0.9 total WAR.
    Career Straw – 41 AB, .293/.408/.439 – .847 OPS. 5 SB/ 1 CS. 0.5 total WAR
    I know sample size is small, but it is a fact that TK does not have a tool that is a real difference maker. Straw’s speed is exactly that. TK is 27 and is probably what he is going to be. Straw is 24 and probably has more room to improve.

    6. I think Diaz ends the season as the regular 1B and Yuli becomes utility.

    7. I think Tucker will get a lot of ABs after the AS break and ends the season as the regular RF.

    8. I think the team adds a solid BP arm at the deadline. Unless Valdez, McHugh and Peacock seriously stumble I’m not sure they will give up the talent it will take to get an impact SP.

    9. I think that Brantley has been pressing to provide offense. When the troops return he can get back to the mindset of a #2 hitter and the stats will get back to early levels.

    10. I think a healthy Astros lineup is downright scary.

    Liked by 1 person

    • vewill1, I don’t see a place for White when everyone is healthy, but ironically White seems to have awakened.
      Over the last 14 days, BA .344, OBP .488, SLG .583, OPS 1.050. And another hit and a walk today. The only thing that changes if this keeps up, is that he might have some trade value and if that does not happen, then he’ll more likely get picked up if he goes out on waivers.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Tough loss. Have been working. Did not see it. But this is the kind of stuff that happens to help create a real slump. Right now it’s a mini slump. I hope it stays that way. At this point, I’d love to split in NY.

    By the way, the review request on Tony Kemp at the plate, was Hinch arguing that he was illegally blocked? Have not been able to find a replay.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. The Astros limp into New York while the Yankees big hitters are back in the lineup. Where’s Beltran when you need him…..he’s in the front office for the Yankees.
    Altuve is back but for how long.
    Springer is starting his rehab in Corpus…still at LEAST a week away.
    Stassi appears to be heathy and ready to get back with the big club.
    Diaz…..”WHO KNOWS”??????????
    McHugh wants to prove Hinch wrong, and he wants back in the rotation.
    We need another starter….Marcus Stromon is a perfect fit.
    We need a good lefty in the bullpen that you have confidence in.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Osuna for his career has 156 save opportunities and 133 saves. So he has 23 Blown Saves. Goose Gossage had 112 Blown saves, Rollie Fingers 109 and Mariano Rivera 80. So Osuna has a ways to go to catch them.

    Like

  27. If Luhnow really wants to have a big impact at the deadline and the Indians decide to cooperate, he could always pick up both Bauer and Hand. I think that would make most of the fans happy anyway.

    Like

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