Aug 26, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros designated hitter Chris Carter (23) is congratulated by left fielder Robbie Grossman (19) and second baseman Jose Altuve (27) after hitting a home run during the eighth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
The recent acquisitions of Evan Gattis, Luis Valbuena, and Colby Rasmus have drastically altered the Astros lineup from what it was projected to be just one week ago. You could have tentatively penciled in Jake Marisnick and Matt Dominguez in the lineup while Dexter Fowler was pretty much a guarantee. Now Fowler is gone, and Marisnick’s role is up in the air, as is Dominguez’ role.
This new lineup is going to have a lot more power, but could also have a lot more strikeouts. With so many power hitters in the lineup, it’s almost hard to project a legitimate lineup. 1-2 are usually your guys who can get on base; 3 is your best hitter; 4 is your power hitter; 5 is usually the next best power hitter; and then the rest of the lineup just fills out from there.
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This isn’t going to be your prototypical lineup, but we definitely can take a look at what it could potentially look like on Opening Day. I’m going to try and go by the format known to most baseball lineups, and I already know my lineup will look different than most. Trying to work around “Generation K” won’t be easy, but let’s give it a shot:
1. 2B Jose Atluve: Yes, he is the team’s best hitter, but he is also an on-base machine. The Astros will benefit by giving Altuve as many AB’s as possible, and that is why he leads off.
2. SS Jed Lowrie: Lowrie has a .330 career OBP, and he doesn’t strike out a lot, especially compared to the rest of the lineup. This is a good spot to fit in right behind Altuve.
3. RF George Springer: I’ve seen many projections having Springer in the 5-hole, but he should start off 3rd in the lineup. Springer is one of the most promising players in the Astros organization, and he should be given the opportunity to show it off in 2015.
4. DH Chris Carter: Carter is your typical cleanup hitter, and that shouldn’t change this year.
5. LF Evan Gattis: The Astros didn’t trade away a couple of top prospects for somebody who will be at the bottom of the order. Gattis can fit right into the heart of the Astros order, and while he will whiff a lot, he’s also going to wear out the Crawford Boxes. If Springer or Carter don’t clear the bases, I like Gattis the most in being able to do so.
6. 3B Luis Valbuena: Although Valbuena’s BA hasn’t been that high, his .341 OBP last season (.313 career) fits perfectly behind the trio of Springer-Carter-Gattis to start off the season. Starting off in the 6-spot could give Valbuena more pitches to see, and he could make the pitchers pay the price for it.
7. CF Colby Rasmus: The newest Astro could find himself in a platoon situation throughout the season, but I think he starts off playing more than Marisnick or any other of the remaining outfielders on the roster. Rasmus could fit in any of the last 3 spots in the lineup, but I feel this is best for him to start off the season.
8. 1B Jon Singleton: Singleton is expected to bounce back in 2015 after a pretty shaky rookie season, and I do expect for him to prove he belongs in the majors. He could very easily mash 20-30 HR’s and I’d like to see him hit 6th behind Springer-Carter-Gattis. To hit in that spot in the lineup though, Singleton needs to earn it.
9. C Jason Castro: Like Singleton, Castro is expected to bounce back, and also like Singleton, I expect him to improve. In 2013 when he was an All-Star, Castro posted a .350 OBP, and if he can get back to that form, he’d be the perfect guy to fill the nine spot, before the lineup turns over to Altuve and the rest of the mashers.
I know there are a lot of different options for the Astros lineup, but this particular lineup could be very successful. If Singleton and Castro can turn it around, they’d be on base quite a bit for the 2014 AL Batting Champion, and I like the Astros chances of scoring runs in that situation.
If they struggle, there are plenty of options for them to get replaced by other players who can get on base and produce. For the first time in years, the Astros have created a problem for roster space, and whoever doesn’t produce will be replaced.
What do you think the Astros lineup should be? Do you think my proposed lineup could put them in better situations compared to other variations? Sound off below, and make sure to check out even more on the Astros potential “Generation K.”