Again here is some discussion fodder from mlb.com…..
In a quick summary, this is how this article ranked the top 10 lineups heading into 2020.
- LA Dodgers
- Minnesota Twins
- Houston Astros
- New York Yankees
- Oakland A’s
- NY Mets
- Chicago White Sox
- Chicago Cubs
- Boston Red Sox
- LA Angels
- It is hard to argue against the Dodgers being on top of this list as they were a top 5 offensive team last season and have added Mookie Betts, who won the AL MVP in 2018 and was in the top 10 in 2019. Along with this addition, Betts would be expected to be playing his best as he hits the Free Agent market after 2020.
- Minnesota set a major league record for home runs in 2019 and so to plug that “weakness” they added Josh Donaldson, who hit 37 HRs last season. Of course, home runs are not the be all end all…..
- The Yankees have to be considered a sleeping giant here. They were third in the majors in OPS in 2019 despite Giancarlo Stanton having only 59 ABs and Aaron Judge having only 378 ABs. Supposedly, these two gigantors, who have been battling injuries will be ready to go with this delayed start to the season, along with Aaron Hicks, who had also been injured. Of course, the question is….how long will they stay on the field.
- The A’s are a young dangerous club, which the Astro saw a number of times over the course of last season. Now whether that is sustainable or whether they will do like many young teams and regress a bit after a big year is to be seen.
- It feels wrong that the Red Sox, who were the best hitting team in the majors in 2018 (thank you Alex Cora) has sunk down to #9. Of course, Betts is gone and so is Alex (can banger) Cora, so I guess they are expecting a down season.
- I would not have picked off the top of my head, either the Mets or the White Sox for this list. But the Chisox have added Edwin Encarnacion to veteran banger Jose Abreu and a trio of exciting youngsters in Luis Robert, Yoan Moncada and Eloy Jimenez. And the Mets are building around insane young slugger Pete Alonso, along with Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil and J.D. Davis (who?).
So where does this leave the Astros? Well interestingly, the Astros led the majors in 2019 in weighted runs created (WRC+), which the author thinks is so important that it is the only stat he quotes by name in this article. But he does not put them in the first or second spot in this ranking. Now whether that is because he believes the Dodgers and Twins have improved that much or if he just can’t give the “cheaters” their due….it is unclear. But here are some reasons that the team’s offense could be better in 2020 (in a much smaller 60 game sample).
- More Carlos Correa. He played in 1/2 the games in 2019 and if he could sustain his performance level for, say 55 games that would be a boost.
- More George Springer. He missed a quarter of the season in 2019, but when he did play he was the best he has been in his career.
- More of the good Jose Altuve and Yuli Gurriel. Yuli’s slash before the All Star Game was .277 BA/ .314 OBP/ .796 OPS and post – ASG was .326 BA/.382 OBP/ 1.005 OPS. Jose’s slash before the ASG was .262 BA/ .328 OBP/ .781 OPS and after ASG was .325 BA/ .372 OBP/ .995 OPS. So, if those two can continue their second-half success.
- More Kyle Tucker and less Josh Reddick. Tucker and Reddick had similar BAs and OBPs, but Tucker showed a lot more power and speed in his second bite of the apple.
- More Yordan Alvarez. This may be a bit problematic depending on when Alvarez is allowed to join the team and how his knee is doing, but remember a lot of the DH ABs before he was called up last season were sucked up by Tyler White. So….there is definitely room for improvement.
- More Myles Straw and no Jake Marisnick. Straw and his .378 OBP is just a taaaaaaad better than JFSF’s .289 OBP. So the 4th OF spot could be a nice spot for a spark to this lineup.
- Alex Bregman hitting his prime. Entering his fifth season with the Astros – Bregman is only 26 years old. He has yet to start a season on fire but has put up great numbers the last two seasons despite that. It feels like he will hit the ground running for the first time to date.
So, these are just some of the reasons the Astros may be a bit of an offensive juggernaut this season and could be the best offense in the majors this year. What do you think?