Just for fun let’s look at some of the expected main position player’s stats for 2019 and decide what we would want them to sustain from last season and what to improve.
1B Yuli Gurriel
- Sustain – We would love Yuli to repeat career highs of 85 runs, 31 HRs, 104 RBIs, .298 BA, .343 OBP and .884 OPS
- Improve – Maybe talk to mentor Carlos Beltran earlier in the season? Not likely to happen with Beltran’s new gig as Mets manager. How about bringing that 6.1% walk rate up to the 8.2% MLB average.
2B Jose Altuve
- Sustain – The diminutive All Star’s 31 HRs over only 124 games is the equivalent of about 40 dingers over a full season. That .903 OPS was a strong number, too.
- Improve – His 15% strikeout rate was the highest of his career, his 7.5% walk rate was the lowest in 4 seasons. His .298 BA was the lowest since the dark days of 2013.
- Sustain – His 6.5% HR rate, his 11.8% extra base hit rate and his 18.8% HR per fly ball rate were all the best of his career.
- Improve – Home run and extra base rates are pretty meaningless, when a talent like this only puts up 280 at bats on the season. He has to play in more than 140 games this season after only suiting up 75 times last season.
3B Alex Bregman
- Sustain – He led the Astros with 122 runs, 41 HRs, 112 RBIs and a sparkling .423 on base pct.
- Improve – His batting average with runners in scoring position (.250), 2 outs and runners in scoring position (.241) and in late and close situations (.197) all need to improve. He may have expanded his strike zone a bit in these situations, but hopefully with some health around him he won’t have to do that again.
- Sustain – Brantley continued a late surge to his career with his 3rd All Star season in a row. I think the Astros would take a repeat of his .313 BA/ .372 OBP/ .875 OPS slash and 22 HR and 90 RBIs and not think twice.
- Improve – It is a product of how often and how hard he hits the ball with men on base, but 21 is by far the most double plays he has grounded into. That would be a nice number to reduce.
- Sustain – His slash of .292 BA/ .383 OBP / .974 OPS and his 39 HRs and 96 RBIs were all career highs in only 122 games.
- Improve – Obviously, stay a little healthier would be the prime goal. Work on getting that strikeout rate below 20% again.
RF Josh Reddick (if he is still here and starting)
- Sustain – His .275 BA/ .319 OBP/ .728 OPS were all improvements over a down 2018. He is also the type of defender who makes game changing plays often during the season.
- Improve – With two outs and RISP he was a pitiful .192 BA/ .288 OBP/ .557 OPS. Also his bat fell off the planet in the second half of the season compared to the first half.
- Sustain – Pick a category – .313 BA/ .412 OBP/ 1.067 OPS or 58 runs / 27 HRs/ 78 RBIs in only 87 games. Extending any of that over a whole season would make any fan’s mouth water.
- Improve – His 25.5% K rate is high. But if you told us that he could repeat all the other categories over a whole season, we could live with it.
- Sustain – They are not bringing him back for his bat and it is not a sure thing that he will be the #1 catcher, but…. he did hit 6 HRs in 27 games with the Astros, which is the equivalent of 36 HRs over a season and they sure would take that again.
- Improve – He’s a 33 year old defense first catcher. He’s not likely to improve, except….he might knock in a fair amount of runs with this lineup in front of him.
OF Kyle Tucker (Starting OF in waiting)
- Sustain – After a miserable 72 plate appearances in his rookie debut in 2018, Tucker put up solid numbers in the 72 PAs he made in 2019. His .269 BA / .857 OPS / 15 runs and 5 SBs in only 22 games stand out.
- Improve – His 27.8% K rate is too high and his 5.6% walk rate (resulting in a .319 OBP) is too low. He needs to work on that batting eye.
UT Aledmys Diaz
- Sustain – After a slow start to the season, Diaz hit very well before missing a lot of time with injury. A repeat of .271 BA/ .356 OBP/ .823 OPS would be great as would the 9 HRs and 40 RBIs in only 69 games.
- Improve – Aledmys probably needs a bit of improvement on the fielding side. Beyond that, he needs to be available.
So, that is a look at the main bats for the Astros, the guys who will get 90% of the bats this season. What do you think?