No one really knows how the Astros’ lineup might look like in 2020 under new leadership on the bench (Dusty Baker…..ok old new leadership) and behind the scenes with GM James Click.
- How much do they stray from what AJ Hinch and Jeff Luhnow did with the lineups?
- Do they move George Springer out of that leadoff spot or do they stick with it hoping it encourages him to stick with the team later?
- Will they have set lineups or make changes based on matchups?
Anyway, the one true thing to know is that barring injury, the Astros have a tremendously robust lineup 1-7. After that….the crystal ball is unclear. So, how might the lineup look like going forward?
- Springer. This is only a hunch, but George likely ends up in the leadoff position again. He has been improving in the on-base department (.383 in 2019), and the team has a lot of comfort with him batting first, and they and he have had a lot of success.
- Alex Bregman. If Dusty wanted to really flip things here, he would move Bregman and his .423 OBP into the leadoff position. But his power component is significant and growing, and it would make sense to have him tucked in behind Springer to make the 1st inning one that the opposing pitcher dreads.
- Yordan Alvarez. If you genuinely want your best hitter in the third spot, this was your best hitter in 2019 with his team-leading OPS (1.067) and his otherworldly eye and power. Baker might move him down the lineup to take some pressure off him. No matter where he ends up there will be ducks on the pond.
- Jose Altuve. Jose gets the cleanup spot here. The three guys in front of him have a combined on-base percentage of around .400, so there will be a ton of chances to bring in the big runs. This also puts a righty bat between lefty Alvarez and…
- Michael Brantley. Just a great professional hitter and there certainly could be some arguments for having him batting 2nd behind Springer. I like putting him here and having him get lots of shots to show that great bat control with tons of runners on base.
- Carlos Correa. The beat goes on with this lineup. Hard to picture another team where Correa could fall this far down in the order. He hits for average, has a solid on-base percentage and brings power to burn in this spot.
- Yuli Gurriel. Yuli with his career-best slash of .298 BA/ .343 OBP/ .884 OPS keeps the terror train going into the bottom third of the lineup. He can knock in runs or contribute to turning over the lineup.
- Martin Maldonado. Perhaps Martin or the “other” catcher (Dustin Garneau? Garrett Stubbs?) belong in the 9th spot with their below-average numbers. But maybe it makes more sense to have a better hitter in the 9th spot to set the table for the top of the lineup.
- Josh Reddick/Kyle Tucker. These two players will likely get the most starts out of right field and bring contrasting styles. Reddick has had declining power and has never been very good at hitting with runners on base, so this spot makes some sense for him. Tucker is more of an unknown quantity but has more power and speed than Reddick. If Tucker grabs this spot by the throat, he could move Reddick into the fourth OF spot and could move up in this lineup. Or he might thrive as the guy who is the pre-leadoff hitter.
So, no real wrong answers here. How would you build out this lineup?