A top spot of improvement for the Astros

The short season of 2020 was an offensive hole for the Astros as they dipped down from a top team to a middle of the road team in one partial season. In 2021 they have had many bounce-back seasons from their team, but one area that has really made a difference for them has had a productive bench.

Last season the bench was just stinky…..

Name ABs Runs 2Bs HRs RBIs BBs Ks BA OBP OPS
Abraham Toro 87 13 2 3 9 3 23 .149 .237 .513
Myles Straw 82 8 4 0 8 4 22 .207 .244 .500
Aledmys Diaz 58 8 5 3 6 1 12 .241 .254 .737
Jack Mayfield 42 5 1 0 3 2 14 .190 .239 .453
Dustin Garneau 38 4 0 1 4 6 15 .158 .273 .562
Taylor Jones 21 3 1 1 3 1 7 .190 .227 .608
Garret Stubbs 8 1 0 0 1 0 0 .125 .111 .236
2020 Astros’ Bench

Wow, that is breathtakingly bad. If you say that was limited at bats, I would reply…Thank God. Aledmys Diaz was really the only one you would want at the plate (as long as you didn’t need a walk) in any kind of crucial situation. So many things stand out – 5 of 7 with OPS under .570. All of them with OBP under .275. 17 walks vs. 93 strikeouts. Wow, that is a cow paddy sandwich of a bench.

OK – let’s look at this season’s bench

Name ABs Runs 2Bs HRs RBIs BBs Ks BA OBP OPS
Aledmys Diaz 262 27 18 7 41 13 51 .271 .327 .747
Chas McCormick 244 41 12 12 46 21 88 .250 .309 .756
Jason Castro 126 16 6 4 13 21 49 .190 .320 .653
Abraham Toro 109 17 1 6 20 9 21 .211 .287 .672
Jake Meyers 109 14 7 5 23 7 41 .284 .336 .822
Robel Garcia 117 8 3 1 8 0 8 .151 .216 .423
Taylor Jones 102 11 8 2 16 4 29 .245 .269 .670
Garrett Stubbs 34 2 2 0 3 2 7 .176 .222 .458
Jose Siri 16 5 0 2 5 0 7 .438 .471 1.283
Jacob Wilson 13 2 0 0 1 1 2 .154 .214 .599
Marwin Gonzalez 10 2 0 2 3 0 4 .200 273 1.073
2021 Astros’ Bench

Only Robel Garcia, Garrett Stubbs and Jacob Wilson have been awful, and only Robel had enough at bats to attempt to prove otherwise. Aledmys Diaz, Chas McCormick and Jake Meyers have played themselves into being semi-regulars in the lineup after getting a lot of top-notch at bats with Alex Bregman, Michael Brantley and Kyle Tucker missing time. Taylor Jones showed he was quite capable as a sub, Jose Siri had one of the tremendous first starts in the game’s history, and Marwin Gonzalez has hit two home runs in his two starts since returning to the Astros.

The bottom line is that the bench showed enough talent to allow the Astros to trade starter Myles Straw and backup Abraham Toro at the trade deadline.

The critical thing is that, unlike last season, the Astros can turn to the bench without causing their fandom to wince in 2021.

70 comments on “A top spot of improvement for the Astros

  1. I know you want harmony in the blog.
    However, another huge difference in this team from last year is that last year the Astros were 9-23 on the road.
    Maybe the bench has made some difference there, but the Astros regulars have changed everything about their road play from last year. Maybe it was having last year’s playoffs out in California that showed them who they really are. Brantley returning for some unfinished business in the face of Springer walking away might have rekindled that old flame of confidence.
    After all, this team has just plain outplayed last year’s team.
    And I’m still convinced they have put it all together, yet. They can be even better if their manager doesn’t get in the way.

    Liked by 2 people

    • No need for harmony – I’m ot saying the bench is the only reason they are better – but the numbers were so stunningly better
      Yes the road improvement was critical for this team

      Like

    • I question why Baker started Bielak instead of Javier. Javier might have given us 4 – 5 innings of a quality start instead of 2 innings and a run of pitchers after wards.

      Even the Mrs. stated that it seems that Baker is trying to manage to lose games now… We know better but…

      And Baker STILL will post our closer to pitch in the ninth inning of a tied ballgame in a home game. I believe that closer should pitch in the extra inning when there are automatic runners on already.

      Like

  2. That’s a game we should not have won. But 23 outs from the pen gave us a chance on a night the bats took off again. What’s with that? If we ever needed Lance to go seven, tomorrow night would be it. Can we get the pitching staff reorganized and rested by the time the regular season is over?

    Like

  3. Thoughts ..
    – Bumgarner had them tied in a knot, but one swing undid the no-no and undid his night. Altuve with another huge HR for the Astros.
    – Six innings of Bielak, Taylor, Raley and Javier and only one run allowed…. I’ll take it
    – Jake Meyers with another clutch hit to tie it in the 10th
    – Chas was lucky – that looked like it was headed for his noggin – he looked stunned like – “Did I just walk it off with a HBP”
    – 4’s wild for the Astros – 4 runs, 4 hits, 4 walks and 4 Ks on the night
    – D’Backs had so many more hits – 10 hits and 3 walks, but 13 Ks helped keep their run total down
    – Lance needs to go deep tonight as daveb says

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I was thinking that this was a game the Astros might have coughed up earlier in the season. In June, a red-hot Astros team came back from a road trip and an 11 game winning streak and just falls apart against the Tigers and then gets swept at home by a hapless Orioles club with an awful road record.
    The Astros bullpen held the game in check last night until the D’backs caved-in at the end.

    Like

  5. A bit of concern about Graveman…

    Many pundits have stated that the Astros have continued the club’s custom of taking a pitcher and changing his pitch usage to accent the pitcher’s strength and that all of the newly obtained pitchers, this season, have continued the practice.

    In my opinion, regarding Graveman,

    Graveman’s stats have shockingly increased, in the wrong way, since coming to the Astros. I feel that the club needs to just change their ideas on Graveman, and tell him to go back to what he was doing while with Seattle. Considering that his era is almost three runs higher than it was with Seattle, what does the club have to lose?

    Liked by 1 person

    • As a player, nothing frustrated me more than a new coach telling me to do something differently. In the business world, it’s really similar to when you get a new manager. Instead of looking at what works, too often people want to make their mark or have things done their way. With pitchers who had an obvious strength that was being underutilized it makes sense to make them use it more. Otherwise, change for change’s sake will be unpredictable. Ultimately, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

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  6. GOOD NEWS! Astros recalled Peter Solomon this afternoon! He’s had an awesome season in AAA…and optioned Brandon Bielak because he pitched yesterday and by the way ALL of us need to give that kid a standing ovation for his performance last night!! Keeping my fingers crossed for McCullers tonight that he can go AT LEAST 6 inning.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I know these guys are professionals. But can you imagine how boring it has to be as a fielder and have to play out of position with a slap hitting opponent and watch almost 40 pitches in one inning. It must be all they can do to not fall asleep out there.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I should not have turned the game on tonight to begin the top of the 4th. I’m thinking Lance is on pace to give us 7. Instead, things go south quick. But he got a break on a ball 4 pitch that was called a strike. Then balls found holes. Balls were hit hard. Yuli made an error. A passed ball. Next thing you know, 3 runs score and a bunch of pitches get used up. Darn, Lance sure does succumb to adversity too often.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. The sacrifice fly with Gurriel, the appeal play, Tucker breaking for home – sequence. I have never seen nor heard. Gurriel was bailed out by someone on the Astros that really knows the rules of baseball.

    Like

  10. Why Dusty, why??

    Pressley should have pitched the 10th not the 9th!

    And why pitch to Astros killer Cole Calhoun at all?

    Baker was asleep in the dugout. A fan rushed the field and Baker work up afterwards, walked away from the railing and towards the far end of the dugout, then held his arms out like he was saying “what happened?”

    Like

  11. Once again we played a 100 loss team like a 100 loss team. What’s
    the name of that stat that tells us how many games we are supposed to have won? I think we’re at -10 or more right now. This remains a very talented, terribly underperforming club. Any team in baseball can beat the Astros at anytime and that goes for the first round of the playoffs too.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Today’s game is going to present some major challenges. First of all, it is a day game; we have been terrible at day games ( at least since the ASB). Secondly, Zack Grienke is our starter. He has struggled badly since the ASB and was really, really bad last outing when he apparently tried to come back from COVID too soon. The chances of him going deep into this game are minimal. That brings us to the third challenge – our already overtaxed bullpen. Those guys are all pretty well gassed. The best scenario may be to follow Zack with Peter Solomon. The fourth challenge is our offense. Our guys seem to have a hard time getting an ‘edge’ any time the opposing starter is a notorious gas can (remember Jordan Lyles’ sudden seeming brilliance last series?). Can we meet these challenges?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Of course it won’t and didn’t. Zach just doesn’t have it right now. One thing I do know is we better go get a bonifide Ace for next year. Over all the pitching isn’t bad but it could be a lot better.

      Liked by 2 people

    • You called it, Becky! Those DBacks were pesky.

      Great come-from-behind win for the Boys!

      Pete Solomon was so impressive in 2018. There was the looong road after Tommy John’s, then the trade deadline acquisitions blocked him in August … it’s been worth the wait, though. He’s not going to blow anyone away sitting 92 mph, but he relies on solid breaking pitches and change-up.

      Lots of good pitching still left on the farm too with Conine, Brown, Bermudez, Ivey and others projectible next season. Plus, we’ll have Greinke and JV’s money freed up to perhaps go after Scherzer, Cobb, or even Kershaw, who knows?

      Awesome team win, and youth has definitely been served this season.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Anyone else thinking it would be amusing to see the (spit) Yankees only come fourth in their division and get pipped to the last wildcats spot by our friendly rivals the As or the Mariners?!

    I am watching Tronno and those two teams in our division quite closely now!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Yesterday was up with my mom celebrating her 86th birthday (tomorrow).
    Watched some of the highlights….
    – My gosh Siri golfed that one – a little more than ankle high and he got all of it over the train tracks
    – Love it when Chas bends those knees and gets down to barrel up a ball – really hit the heck out of his homer
    – Correa did what he is so good at, which is knock the snot out of one the other way and into the right field stands. Nicely done
    – Pressly was pumped on those 3 Ks in the ninth
    – I have to confess I did not watch Greinke pitch. He’s running out of time to get his sea legs under him before the playoffs
    – Sure don’t want to see red hot Tucker miss any time with shoulder discomfort
    – Tucker made the latest baserunning booboo yesterday – was out at home by about 20 feet. I didn’t see – did our base coach send him even though he had no shot?
    – Sure hope the team is up for this Angels series – need to keep the pressure on and see if out pitching staff of Framber and 3 TBDs can hold them off

    Liked by 1 person

    • Concerning Tucker, all I could see was he went back to the bag on the grounder to 3rd baseman. When the throw was made to 2nd, he broke for home. Unless Lopez yelled at him, he didn’t appear to be watching the coach, but watching the play. I think it was just the 589th mental error made on the bases this year by the team.

      He was on third with no outs. Even the double play keeps him at third with 2 outs.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Apparently, the Low A, High A, and AA seasons are over for the Astros, as none of our teams made the tiny playoffs involved there.
    The Skeeters will continue to play thru October the 4th, to mirror the major leagues and supply players to be needed.
    Pedro Lean is headed back to Sugarland from his rehab and Korey Lee has been promoted from Corpus to Sugarland.
    Maybe more to come today? Who knows.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Saw where Anthony Gose is being brought up to the majors by the Indians as a pitcher.
    He was the pass through who was traded to the Astros in the Roy Oswalt trade but immediately flipped for ol’ Moon Pie – Brett Wallace. He struggled as an outfielder and flipped over to being a high octane, don’t know where it is headed pitcher. The Astros took him in the Rule 5 draft from the Rangers, but returned him before the season a while back.
    A long road back for Gose….

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  17. Chas McCormick has 3 options left.
    Jake Meyers has 3 options left.
    Jose Siri has 1 option left.
    Kyle Tucker is hurting and was taken out of yesterday’s game.
    Michael Brantley is due back from the IL in a couple of days.
    It will be interesting to see how the Astros outfield looks in the next few days.

    Like

  18. On the Crawfish Boxes page…

    A Tyler White reference, the comments section, where a commentator suggested White could pitch better than Greinke right now.

    Like

    • I would push for Charlie Culberson over Tyler – he was throwing pretty good as a position player when they brought him in against us.
      Can I say that we are a bit spoiled on starting pitching? Greinke is not pitching that great, but it is not like 5 runs in 4 innings is the end of the world. He gave up the solo home run and then the other rally was 4 singles wrapped around a walk. We are so used to top line starting pitching that below average starts stick out like a sore thumb.
      Thank goodness the bullpen held the line, Peter Solomon kept them in it and the youngsters hit clutch dingers in the 8th.

      Like

  19. I wanted to point out something in case Dusty checks in with the blog some time along the way.
    Aledmys Diaz was red hot when he came off the IL. However, in the last 28 days he is slashing .158 BA/ .273 OBP/ .466 OPS. There is no reason in the world to have him hitting second (or third, fourth, fifth, sixth or maybe even seventh).
    Kyle Tucker who has been one of the best hitters in the game for the season, especially the last 4 months should not be hanging around 6th in the lineup. I know you don’t want him back to back with Yordan, but maybe put him at 2nd with Yordan 4th or move Yordan to third and put him fifth.
    Just in case you check in Dusty.

    Like

  20. THIS:
    Ryne Stanek went on paternity leave
    Astros selected RHP Seth, Martinez from Sugarland
    Optioned Solomon to the Taxi squad
    Placed Freudis, Nova to 60 day IL with a left knee ACL tear.
    Recalled Brandon Bielak.
    AND…NO ALTUVE IN THE LINEUP.
    WHEW! That was a LOT of information!!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. WOW!! What a bunch of great homeruns! Siri leading off with another homerun, Maldonaldo with a 3 run dingers and Marwin with a *GRANDSLAM*!! That doesn’t happen often against the Angels, but I’ll TAKE IT!! Good to see Seth Martinez get his MLB debut, his family made it to the game to see him pitch…lots of pictures after the game❤. Best of all the bullpen got a much needed night off! Magic number is down to *6*!!

    Like

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