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…..
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
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.