Astros 2021: The other guys

The Astros as a team are tearing up baseball with a great starting staff and with the best offense in the MLB. What has come to light lately during their hot streak (11 straight wins, 15 of their last 17) is that their bench, unlike 2020, is a positive influence.

Despite losing Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker and with Dusty Baker giving every member of the starting nine, days off, the team’s offense has not skipped a beat and in fact, has been even more effective.

If you go back to 2020, this was not the story. Here is what the team received from the non-starters in their lineup:

  • Abraham Toro slashing .149 BA/ .237 OBP/ .513 OPS with 13 runs, 3 HRs and 9 RBIs in 87 ABs.
  • Myles Straw slashing .204 BA/ .244 OBP/ .500 OPS with 8 runs, 0 HRs and 8 RBIs in 82 ABs.
  • “Super” Jack Mayfield slashing .190 BA/ .239 OBP/ .453 OPS with 5 runs, 0 HRs and 3 RBIs in 42 ABs.
  • Dustin Garneau slashing .158 BA/ .273 OBP/ .558 OPS with 4 runs, 1 HR and 4 RBIs in 38 ABs.
  • Taylor Jones slashing .190 BA/ .227 OBP/ .608 OPS with 3 runs, 1 HR and 3 RBIs in 21 ABs.
  • Garrett Stubbs slashing  .125 BA/ .111 OBP/ .236 OPS with 1 run, 0 HR and 1 RBIs in 8 ABs.

The only bench guy one could trust even a little bit was Aledmys Diaz (.241 BA/ .254 OBP/ .737 OPS/ 8 runs/ 3 HRs/ 6 RBIs in 58 ABs), who due to injury was only available for 17 games on the short season.

With a bench like that, the starting nine (who were not having stellar seasons themselves) played a big chunk of the season.

Now contrast that to the bench this season….

  • Jason Castro slashing .246 BA/ .386 OBP/ .824 OPS with 12 runs, 2 HRs, 8 RBIs in 57 ABs.
  • Chas McCormick slashing .231 BA/ .291 OBP/ .787 OPS with 26 runs, 9 HRs, 27 RBIs in 117 ABs.
  • Aledmys Diaz (unfortunately on the IL until August) slashing .278 BA/ .341 OBP/ .776 OPS with 14 runs, 3 HRs, 18 RBIs in 115 ABs.
  • Abraham Toro slashing .282 BA/ .378 OBP/  .814 OPS with 5 runs, 2 HRs and 10 RBIs in 39 ABs.
  • Garrett Stubbs slashing .235 BA/ .278 OBP/ .572 OPS with 1 run, 0 HR and 2 RBIs in 17 ABs.
  • Robel Garcia slashing .196 BA/ .236 OBP/ .530 OPS with 5 runs, 1 HR and 7 RBIs in 51 ABs.
  • Taylor Jones slashing  .174 BA/ .220 OBP/ .437 OPS with 4 runs, 0 HRs and 4 RBIs in 46 ABs.

Not every one of these is a gem, but there were practically no gems last season. Particularly important in this batch has been Castro in the backup catcher spot, McCormick seeing the time when Michael Brantley and Kyle Tucker have been out and Toro sucking up ABs with Alex Bregman on the sideline until after the All Star game. With Diaz out, Toro has been an even more critical offensive addition to this team.

What is interesting is that last season the starting nine were pretty mediocre and could have used some solid bench place to boost them up, which did not occur. This season the starting nine are rocking and rolling and some may argue the bench is not that critical.  But the bench is contributing to that top-notch offense filling in for Tucker, Brantley, Bregman and previously Jose Altuve and others. And the old sly one, Dusty Baker is sliding in days off for the whole bunch of the starters to keep them fresh during the marathon of a season.

What a difference a season makes.

60 comments on “Astros 2021: The other guys

    • Kind of plain Jane and having the player’s team logo kind of splatted there on top of the other oddwad logo.
      And believe me I am no fashion designer….but I did sleep in a Holiday Inn Express last night

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I am having a really hard time caring about the ASG anymore. In fact, I personally hope we have no position players go [though several have played well enough to deserve the ‘honor’], and at most one pitcher [either Valdez or Uquidy].

    Part of the reason I feel this way is probably what the MLB pulled in moving the game out of Atlanta to demonstrate how ‘woke’ it was, punish the good people of Georgia in the process. Mostly, however, I just want our guys to [1] get a break from getting boo-ed; [2] get some much needed rest for the playoff run, and [3] avoid unnecessary injuries for a game that promotes the out-of-touch Commissioner’s pet ideology.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. God willing, I’ll be in Houston next week and will be hanging around to see the A’s and Yankees, along with taking a trip out to Sugarland on Highway 6. I do hope the Astro gift shop sells Woodpecker caps.

    Myles Straw has shamed my expectations. In my head, I still want to think that a ML outfielder has to produce at least a .700 plus OPS, but on this club it simply is not required from Straw. Until the time comes when we have a more dynamic hitter and a quality fielder for that centerfield position, then Myles can stay. And if he goes down for a couple of weeks, then I’m ok with Chas too. Our outfield situation is solid today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yuli was a 32 year old Cuban star when he started playing for Houston. Norel needs to make his way up to the Astros by 2023. He can hit and he has some time to develop.

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      • The way Norel is going, we might see him in Sugarland pretty soon. I’m getting ahead of myself, but in a pinch, I wonder if Grampa Yuli could spend some time back at third with Bregman at short if Carlos is gone next April? That might open up first base for our 28 year old rookie. Actually, I’d feel more comfortable with Yuli at third than Bregman at short.

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      • I meant nothing derogatory about Gonzales. I was wondering if there was an age margin on “Futures.” He will make it as a 1st baseman or DH if he continues his plate discipline.

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  3. Let’s hope this day off (sort of) gives the guys a little extra rest in the middle of this long stretch with no days off.
    If I have a concern of the two pitchers tomorrow it would Greinke. I’m not as worried about Valdez as I am Zack.
    I hope you guys didn’t have anything planned to do tomorrow!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Man the offense had gone into hiding in this doubleheader.
    It is strange how it can completely disappear on a dime after being so strong for so long.

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  5. Yordan knocks out a 2 run homer in the exact same spot as his grand slam. Correa annihilated one for the win.
    Good comeback win

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  6. I cannot begin to tell you how sweet this win was for us tonight. Such a clutch HR from Yordan and the revenge from Correa’s bat for the constant booing. Detroit fan’s were still booing him as he rounded 3B and it tasted like chocolate milk. My mustache still tastes like chocolate.
    Korey Lee hit another HR tonight for CC. In 11 games for them he has 6 HRs and 1 triple, while striking out only 5 times and walking 5 times. His slash line in AA is .341/.413/.829/1.242. Not too shabby for a guy with only 104 professional games under his belt.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Are they sleep walking again today…sure looks like it.
    Odorizzi left with a blister…..how long will he be out now. The Astros are making the Tigers pitchers look like Cy Young winners!
    Ever since the league shut down the “sticky stuff” Garrit Cole has had a tough time! Boston really teed off him today, giving up homeruns!
    Knocked him out by the 5th.

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  8. Just an opinion but here we have a runner on third with one out. A decent fly ball gets him in. A base hit of any kind scores the run too. A good bunt of any kind should also work (as we saw today) and a slow roller to the infield should too.
    Now for my opinion. Walk the bases loaded. That creates a force at home plate which creates the two out situation or a double play which gets us out of the inning. What have we got to lose considering the stupid extra inning rule. And might I add the stupid 7 inning double header rule now in force.
    How a team can score runs like we have been and then literally not show up is beyond me but we managed to do it. And it’s pretty pathetic that we couldn’t score in the top of the 10th.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. And of course, Oakland wins today. Why did Dusty give Brantley a day off? He had Friday off… yes, I know a double header yesterday but he was the DH in one of them. Dusty… I just shake my head…

    On another note, I believe Joe Espada will be named to next manager for the Astros at the end of this season.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I just find it interesting that some teams have players playing every day. Some teams have more off days than the Astros. It probably is the personality of the manager or at the direction of the FO.

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      • Excellent question. I could understand a player coming to the manager and saying I need a day off but the way our team is doing it makes no sense at all. A scheduled day off and then another day just doesn’t seem right unless something is amiss. Personally, I don’t find Dusty a very good manager. He gets a 4 out of 10 on my scale. And I’m also not impressed how he manages the pitching staff. That could be Strom’s doing but I don’t think so.

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  10. Daveb….stand in line I’ve been saying Dusty Baker needs to go a looong time ago. He sits back in his rocking chair and let’s things go day after day. He’s not inspiring, and he doesn’t give the impression that he actually manages this team. I don’t know why these guys slept nearly the entire series against the Tigers, but Hinch’S guys sure didn’t. The look on AJ’S face when the game was over was priceless, and our manager was clueless about why they lost. The Astros NEED a young hungry manager who doesn’t play favorites like Dusty does with Brantley. We could have used Brantley as a pinch batter today, but he was busy having ANOTHER day off. But….Crane thinks Baker is the calming person this club needs, he’s wrong! This is a very, very good team and they should have a manager like A.J.Hinch to manage them…not “grampa Dusty”.
    Sorry dudes I had to vent my frustration.Becky⚾

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  11. Jake Odorizzi finds himself in a wonderful position. He was sitting around unemployed in March when the best team in the American League paid him him 20 million something and gave him a real chance to pitch into the post season. If he’s not happy as a clam, he should be.

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  12. Pedro Leon sat for Friday, Saturday and Sunday’s games. Thursday he stole 2 bases and got to second on a botched pick off attempt. Was out trying to steal home when he got quick pitched and it was not called. So not sure if he is injured or if Manager Gregorio Petit is a student of Dusty Baker.

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