What the Astros’ 2020 lineup might look like

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?

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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…
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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?

48 comments on “What the Astros’ 2020 lineup might look like

  1. Again, I agree with most of this but Jose Altuve is NOT a productive run producer. I love the guy, but he has not earned clean up. When you come who gets the most hits and who gets most RBIs, Jose is not him.

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      • Late again. Sorry. I think Altuve needs to lead off. The Astros don’t run and don’t bunt so even if he is one legged, he does as well as others, except maybe Miles Straw. 2/3. Bregman or Yordan for the same reason. We just need good hitters. 4/5 Springer or Correa (if healthy). 7. Brantley and 8/9 what is left. The only reason Brantely is so low is because the others are normally better hitters. Finally, this would rotate some based upon LHP or RHP starting.

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    • A/C, I don’t know who you have been watching but… Jose Altuve has ONLY collected over 200+ hits during four of the previous six seasons and, OH, by the way, he has also WON the AL batting crown three of the previous six seasons. Soooo… he absolutely has the hits. Not throwing darts, just saying…

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      • SGT, as stated, I love Altuve but for some reason he does not drive in runs. May just be an anomaly, I want him to have ABs and score runs, but we have better RBI hitters and more Total Base hitters. That’s it. I don’t move him down, but up.

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  2. I’m not sure what to think about Altuve, AC.
    Last season with runners in scoring position, his BA was a sub-par .255, but his on base was a solid .360 and his OPS was a great .998
    With two outs and runners in scoring position his numbers were excellent – .302 BA / .412 OBP/ 1.109 OPS
    Career-wise he has not been that good for either situation
    I used to want him to lead-off but his on-base overall is not that great compared to some of the other guys and he is not as much of a stolen base threat since his knee injury.

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  3. Good post and comments. I think the lineup is situational, and more so with Baker eager to put *some sort of stamp of his* on things. He’s a gut guy, before total analytics. For example, if he thinks a guy is more prepared, and just on a bad run of luck & can turn it around against a certain pitcher (let’s say going with Reddick over Tucker one night), and it also happens that the big club is paying big bucks to Josh in his swan song, aaaand you think you’ll kill the team that night, the A’s, anyway. Reddick will be jeered all night as a cheater in RF.

    Well, Dusty will start Josh, and see how things are going by the 6th. Maybe.

    I gather this from his comment in ST when asked, “will you shift in, in that situation during the season so early in the game?” He replied, it depends and listed about 6 things. And then said, “I might try it another way too.”

    Very much like the idea of Yordan #3, though! Get him as many AB’s as will allow. THE most important thing last year was Book-Ending him with hot hitters, and getting RISP for him. THIS is vital moving forward. Get him men on 2B as many oppo’s as possible. Plug in the variables into game simulations, and find the best contact hitters. Bregman Altuve and Brantley. Then make sure they precede/follow in some order.

    I think we all would like to see Springer hitting cleanup; or at least TRY some other way. But Hinch sold it so hard that the team likes it this way, and who can argue with a tone setter like Georgie?

    Saved this for those holding out hope for a baseball season. I’m sticking with Over/Under Baseball season start date (set in March no less) at June 15. Keep in mind, if they start in July, they have to have a mini Spring, don’t they? Here is the draft schedule. HOU would be selecting 7 players, not 2 (as I did in the Mock Draft).

    I took Cam Brown (the last 40+ FV available), and Luke Little with pick #100. His coach wrote about it on Twitter, if you want to see the note and video he sent..

    Per Jerry Dipoto (SEA) via the Wheelhouse Podcast, big league front offices are expecting final details, including draft rounds, bonus pools, etc… by Friday.

    What we know so far (amateur draft):
    1) All 30 GMs voted for a 10 round draft
    2) A large number of industry scouts from multiple divisions have been told to expect 10 rounds.
    3) Owners are onboard with a 10 round draft, the spending for picks is the last hold. An extra $500k/team is the impasse. [What’s the word, “cheapos”?]

    Liked by 1 person

    • The “Dusty” factor is going to be interesting GoStros. We know that Baker was famous for throwing his pitchers into the ground, but I have no idea whether he is old school off the top of his head or new school take into account the stats type of manager.

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      • Indeed, is Baker going to go old school or analytical? I would think it depends on Crane. The analytics were Luhnow’s doing.

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  4. People have likely forgotten how dangerous a lineup that is. We have some collective wisdom from over a century of analysis that might color our perception too greatly. Here are my thoughts, though.
    1. Springer remains my preference. His OBP last year was .383 despite a .292 BA. The power and speed are there, but more importantly the pitcher starts the game off with a difficult at bat and his teammates are immediately invested from the dugout.
    2. Brantley is a far better hitter than I’d thought a year ago. He is kind of the anti-Springer. A pitcher may not fear his power, but they can’t throw junk out there and expect him to chase it. You can’t shift on him and opening holes with runners on base gives him an advantage.
    3. Altuve gets my nod here, but if 2020 plays out like 2019 I think you have to consider Bregman getting elevated. Either way, you’re getting a R/L alternating order that benefits Dusty late in the games.
    4. Alvarez is my current choice here. It keeps the alternating lineup going and gives him major protection in the form of…
    5. Bregman. Yeah, I know a lot of people think it’s crazy to put him this low, but unless Yordan cleans up all the RISP he’ll get a lot of opportunities.
    6. Correa…and the only reason is because I think Alvarez has a higher offensive ceiling based on his rookie campaign. This is a tough one as we’ve seen that Correa with protection behind him fares better. Also, it likely pisses him off enough to harm the chances at resigning/extending him.
    7. Gurriel. He’s a tough one. I complain about Bregman being too streaky, but Gurriel also fits that bill. If he hits like he did in the second half of 2019 you could put him in any teams top of the lineup or pencil him in for an All-Star spot.
    8/9. Reddick/Tucker/Maldanado/Straw/? – I’d rather put the outfielder in the 9th spot, but it depends on whether our C can hit. Most teams would drool over the 4-7 spots in my proposed lineup. There should be a lot of guys on second base when our 8th man comes to the plate…so we’re giving up a lot of opportunities if they hit like a catcher.

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    • If you go this way (and really any version of 1 thru 7 is going to be productive) – I think you have to flip Bregman and Altuve. When you have a guy with Bregman’s on-base % (.423) you have to give him a lot more at bats than Altuve (.353 OBP)

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      • Right, I’m making the assumption that Altuve’s OBP and batting average would have been higher if he had been healthier. Here are his recent OBP:
        2015: .353
        2016: .396
        2017: .410
        2018: .386
        2019: .353

        If we’re just considering 2019, with runners on base we had:
        Altuve: .365
        Bregman: .384

        That’s pretty close – Bregman reached base an additional 1 / 50 plate appearances. So I wouldn’t really quibble with Dusty giving the honor to Bregman, but I think if we see that Altuve is healthy when they start playing his performance will not be lacking.

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      • It is certainly possible that Altuve’s OBP was affected by his 2018 knee injury and rolling over into 2019. But based on raw numbers – if both guys have 600 ABs in a normal season and one has a .423 OBP and another has a .353 OBP …..that’s like 42 more times on base.
        But again – past performance is never a guarantee of future performance (except for Jon Singleton).

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sorry, perhaps it wasn’t clear that I was comparing their performance when runners were on base. I’m counting on the two of them to drive in runs.

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    • But otherwise I am fine with this lineup too – I struggled with whether to have Brantley in the second spot or not. Good problems to have with this many good hitters.

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  5. Anthony DiComo Mets beat writer
    ESPN has reached a deal to broadcast six (Korean)BO games per week, beginning with tomorrow’s Opening Day match between the NC Dinos and Samsung Lions live at 1 a.m. ET.

    ESPN broadcasters will provide commentary in English, remotely.

    [Perhaps, since Korea didn’t lockdown, they will spur us to pushing the season forward safely? Of the Korean baseball I’ve watched, they have talented contact hitters, less pitching velo.]

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  6. If it works, don’t fix it, right? And Springer is a heck of a lead off hitter, maybe the best in the business. That said, I think if Baker asked Altuve to lead off and get on base, he’d give us a .400 OBP if committed. Then you’ve got Bregman, Alvarez, Springer, Brantley, Correa, Yuli and then a 30 homer kid hitting 8th if he lives up to his potential. Damn, I sure do want to see this line up playing together in 2021.

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    • I think we’d have to offer Brantley and Yuli AT LEAST 2 yrs each to extend, and Springer, probably 5 if we didn’t overload it (4/100M). Then, that would effectively force out Correa in ’21, which might be ok if anyone had a good Plan B at SS in 2023. We’ve debated trades w Correa for awhile, and my smart (non-Astro) friends say they’d never quit Correa. They dont see him as a prima donna at all. His health is the risk in this risk management decision.

      At some point, the door has to be opened for Toro, Straw, Tucker, and the Taylor Jones’ of the world.

      Personally, I think Springer is the only extension, unless Yuli would take 2/15(ish). Brantley will be odd-man out. We simpy cannot afford that many in 15-18M per year range, and Astros plan to use Straw a lot more.

      As strongly as I feel about our potential bottom end rotation in 2021 (10 names), the Astros showed they’d offer Wheeler. They will likely try to parlay prospects blocked for one, solid SP2. I wouldn’t turn my back on a reasonable Greinke offer either. Since he doesn’t throw hard, he would be durable.

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      • *Force out Correa at the end of his contract, rather. In 2022.

        Scouts I’m hearing from do not project Jeremy Pena as an adequate substitute in 2023, nor Nova. I doubt the Astros have a shot at a SS who would stick in this draft, either. One idea I have is that most “good atheletes” in the draft are CF and SS’s. If you look at other teams’ prospects, they have a lot of good SS talent out there who are blocked. It’s not unreasonable to play wait-and-see thru 2021 on what to do with Correa..

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      • Astros may not have a say after 2021 as to whether Correa will stay. If we knew he was leaving HOU for a big contract now FOR SURE (his agent will definitely shop him!), then we MUST consider at least trade offers his 2022 season. In any contract, it’s all about leverage, and Astros are quickly losing it for all the considerations beyond Correa, if we don’t make him a priority over say Yuli, or Brantley.

        If I found another pitcher as good as our frontline, I’d have a lesser need for a great SS (2022-2023), because the ball wouldn’t be put into play as often. So, HOU may prioritize other positions ahead of Correa, especially if there are things going on behind the scenes. Diaz Bregman and Straw could fill-in.

        As with ending 2017, we had to make some cuts when players become too expensive with Keuchel Morton & Marwin. If we’d paid any of them, we couldn’t have gotten Greinke, and offer extensions of JV and Bregman, for example. It’s going to be a juggling act, and bound to look awfully different Altuve’s last yr.

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      • Yes, I agree. Our last shot at a lineup that includes all of the guys discussed in going to happen in the form of a makeshift season, if we indeed have a season.

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  7. Dan, If you are asking what we think Dusty will do, then I think Springer will be 1. Positions 2 – 6 will be some combination of what you or I have below; breaking up the lefty hitters. I agree with you on positions 7 – 9. We could probably pull numbers out of a hat and not make much difference.

    1. Springer. I don’t tnink Dusty will change what has been working the past few years.
    2. Brantley. Dusty has been using him here in spring training.
    3. Altuve. He wants to prove 2017 – 2019 stats were not aided by sign-stealing. Although this may backfire and cause him to try an do too much.
    4. Bregman. Same as Altuve.
    5. Correa. Same as Altuve.
    6. Alvarez. Pitchers were figuring him out and his knees slowed him down at the end of last year.
    7. Gurriel.
    8. Maldonado.
    9. Reddick / Tucker.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You do hit on one concern – whether Alvarez’s knees will hold him back or whether he can adjust to what pitchers do.
      As far as figuring him out …. his numbers in September were his “worst” stats of any month – .296 BA/ .394 OBP/ .999 OPS. which most players would love to have.
      He was terrible in the Yankee series, but in the World Series he was .412 BA/ .524 OBP/ 1.112 OPS.
      I am concerned that a kid his age has chronic knee problems.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m here Dan. The commissioner said he will make an announcement this Thursday on the 2020 season. What that will be I haven’t a clue.
    I’m scheduled to have surgery this Wed at 11:00 if you folks don’t mind I’d like you to pray that the Lord guides this doctors hands, and bring me out of this operation pain free. Thank you, Becky⚾

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    • Becky – I have you locked and loaded on my prayer list.
      I would ask y’all to pray for one of my friends Richard J from my choir – he is having very serious health issues and invites as many prayer warriors as possible to stand behind him.

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      • Dan….I certainly will lift your friend in prayer, until you tell me not to.
        Thank you friend for lifting me in prayer as well🙏

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  9. Good to talk about some “real” things with the Astros. Dan, you get a Gold Star for your work here. As for line ups, here’s my take:
    1. Springer – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
    2. Altuve – I’d like him to become more of a slap hitter with more singles and doubles. Let the big boys get the long ball.
    3. Bregman – Can go either way for power or the big base hit.
    4. Alvarez -Boom!
    5. Correa – Power or finesse. He can do either.
    6. Brantley – Clutch when needed or getting things started once again.
    7. Yuli – Hopefully hot again last later part of 2019.
    8.Tucker/Reddick – If its Tucker another power hitter in the 8th spot. If it’s Reddick he better be learning how to beat the shift. Same for Tucker.
    9. Maldonado/Garneau/Stubbs – I think Stubbs has the ability to outhit either of the other catchers but the object for these guys is to get on base and keep the ball rolling.

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    • Yes – it is nice to talk about something other than “it” or “IT” (the scandal or the virus)
      If Tucker becomes a solid major league hitter, this lineup will exhaust pitchers. If the catcher spot is the only low achiever this team should be able to carry that.

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    • Good comments, Z. My only quibble is I dont think it’s established Stubbs would –are you saying hit for average by the term outhit? If you think about that a minute, it’s about the least important thing a catcher does, anyway. It should be very telling our last 3 catchers all have AL West experience. In fact, Martin maldonado was praised repeatedly by Gerrit Cole for being so creative, and SEEING every little flaw in the hitters. The ability to save runs by blocking and having a gun to deter baserunners is much more valuable than the max we’ll get .220-.250 of base hitting out of any of them.

      I haven’t read anyone as big an advocate of Garrett Stubbs and his little brother, CJ, as it relates to their step dad and HS/college coaches. I’m very high on both of their mental make up, whereas they both only have some slightly above average tools. They’re both very smart players.

      And I’m anxious to see Garneau given a backup role for a season. Both MM and Garneau have earned their spots. Stubbs is still learning the ropes. It makes much more sense for him to learn the guys who were in A+/AA last year, so he can be full-time backup beginning next year, and beyond when they hit the Show. Those pitchers in 2021-2022 are;

      Whitley, Torres, Ivey, Bielak, Javier, Solis, Solomon, Conine, Garcia, Paredes, Armenteros, Perez, Valdez. Why not keep a catcher behind to learn them more intimately, and who will be part of their future is my thinking?

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      • Sorry, posted under wrong comment. Maybe wishful thinking on my part relating to Stubbs. You’re right that we have to have good backstops that our pitching staff has confidence in.

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      • Garrett has overcome the “too small” criticism, but he didn’t quite bring the same AAA contact numbers to HOU. He has an amazing infectious attitude, and like Straw and awesome clubhouse encourager. I remember seeing an interview with Stubbs 2 yrs ago about how he approaches each pitcher — just a wholesome, good kid. And his brother CJ really looks up to him, mentions his leadership a lot.

        Catcher is a position Astros have fortified well, though.

        A couple I’d counted out made strides this past offseason. Our best defensive catcher is actually Michael Papierski from LSU. He’s supposedly figured some things out offensively. Another hitting with light tower power but a poor glove is Colton Shaver from BYU. The other they tell me is turning a corner is Chuckie Robinson. Lorenzo Quintana isn’t R5 eligible til 2021, so there’s time there for the 30 yr old.

        We drafted Nate Perry 5th Round HS in ’17. He and CJ Stubbs, and Korey Lee will all be coming up together in 2023. We might not have to look outside after Maldy’s 2 yrs are up.

        Lastly, I’ve mentioned before but Dustin Garneau impresses me the most. His interviews are LASER sharp, if you haven’t heard them.

        If we get it started on July Oh happy Day!! I’m so ready!!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. A tweet just released in the name of Trevor Plouffe: “I just heard from multiple sources that on June 10th, Spring Training 2 will start. July 1st will be Opening Day and all teams will be playing at their home ballparks.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. 1.Springer, because Baker said he was going to keep him in leadoff.
    2. Altuve
    3. Bregman, because he must get ABs and because he always should bat in the first inning.
    4. Alvarez, because he is the ultimate cleanup hitter.
    5. Correa, because when he’s healthy he belongs in a power spot.
    6. Brantley is perfect #6 to leadoff the second half of the lineup.
    7. Gurriel. A really good RBI spot for him.
    8. Tucker/Reddick best #8 hitters in baseball
    9. Maldonado, a flyball hitter with some power. The ninth best hitter in the lineup bats ninth and strikes out more than grounds out, which cuts down on DPs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1OP, you’re a genius. Of course I say that because I had the same lineup as you did. I hope I don’t pull a muscle patting myself in the back.

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  12. Just some numbers, per Fangraphs.

    Jose Altuve: Batting Average with Bases Empty (.310)
    BA with Runners on Base (.322)
    BA with Runners in Scoring Position (.298)

    Bregman: BA with Bases Empty (.272)
    BA with Runners on Base (.306)
    BA with Runners in Scoring Position (.313)

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