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Astros Season Preview: Predicting the Infield and DH

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Third Base and Designated Hitter

Mar 30, 2015; Kissimmee, FL, USA; Houston Astros catcher Evan Gattis (11) hits a RBI single during the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Osceola County Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Third Base – Luis Valbuena

The Astros were not happy with Matt Dominguez at third base, even though his defense was solid. In order to address this need, the Astros traded Dexter Fowler to the Cubs for Luis Valbuena. Valbuena bats left-handed and has a good on-base average, despite having a low batting average. He is a contact hitter who has learned how to hit for more power as he matures. One thing that he does well is that he doesn’t belong in “Astros Generation K,” unlike most of his new slugging teammates. I wrote about “Astros Generation K” earlier in the offseason, here is Part 1 and Part 2. Last season in his breakout year with the Cubs, Valbuena had a slash line of .249/ .341/ .435/.776 with 16 home runs and 51 runs batted in.

The projection below is from FantasyPros;

The new Astros batting order has Valbuena hitting third between George Springer andChris Carter. Manager A.J. Hinch wanted a left-handed hitter in the meat of the lineup in between the right-handed sluggers. He had an impressive spring training, with a slash line of .380/ .418/ .620/ 1.038 with six doubles, two homers, and nine runs batted in. Not too many people are going to give him credit right now, he will have to earn that with solid play on the field.

My Prediction: .255/ 20 HR/ 78 RBI

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Designated Hitter – Evan Gattis

The plan entering spring training was if Jon Singleton struggles, they were going to train Evan Gattis to play first base. This outcome never happened, and he has not played much in the outfield. The Astros have come out and said that Gattis is no longer an option at first base. He will serve as the Astros designated hitter at the beginning of the 2015 season, and he should make many deposits into the “Bear Den Boxes” in left field. Last season with the Braves, Gattis hit .263/ 22 HR/ 52 RBI while receiving at bats as a catcher.

The projection below is from FantasyPros;

This prediction is close to what the Astros expect, but with a few more homers added to this prediction. Jeff Luhnow said that Gattis was the premier right-handed hitter that was available to the Astros, so the Astros are expecting a lot of power from “El Oso Blanco”. This spring, he had a slash line of .395/ .439/ .658/ 1.097 with two homers and eight RBI’s with limited playing time with various injuries.

My Projection: .265/ 30 HR/ 75 RBI.

Astros fans, enjoy the game tonight. It’s time to start coming out and supporting the Astros this year. Even if the result of tonight’s game is defeat, know that the 2015 Astros will creep back into contention.

Check out my Outfield Projections here.

Next: A Look at the Talented CC Hooks Roster

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