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What is Plan B for Astros if Jose Altuve Needs DL Stint?

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The Astros should be All-Star representative, if it weren’t for the Kansas City Royals fans voting “Royal Blue” this year, Jose Altuve is not right after trying to rest his hamstring recently. Altuve sat on the bench for three games and worked on his cup stacking skills. The coaches said that he was amped up ready to go and was running at full speed, so he played in Tuesday’s day game against the Rockies. He reaggravated his hamstring injury in last night’s game, so the Astros have some decisions to make. I know that after the game, Brian McTaggart tweeted, “Astros not tempted to put Altuve on DL at this point.”

As he was rounding third base to score on a single to leftfield in Tuesday’s game, you can tell that he couldn’t go max speed. In last night game, he had a hard time getting up the first base line. After that at-bat, the Astros took Altuve out. He might get a few days off, and Marwin Gonzalez will get the nod at second base. However, this may not be the best thing to do right now for the Astros.

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Jose Altuve is the leader of the team, and we need his presence for a possible playoff run. To have success later this season, it wouldn’t hurt just to shut him down for 15-days or so. The question is can you shut Altuve down, he always has to be doing something. I don’t want Altuve on the DL as much as anyone else, but I would rather be without him for 15-days now versus a month or so later in the season.

Even though A.J. Hinch says the Astros are not willing to give away two weeks of Jose Altuve, here are some reasons I can think of,  and none of them will justify this move for Fantasy Baseball owners.

Jun 12, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (27) limps off the field after a play during the first inning against the Seattle Mariners at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Astros are currently carrying 13 pitchers and 12 hitters, with the only extra infielder on the roster is Marwin Gonzalez. In today’s game, the Astros will not have a DH so Evan Gattis will be on the bench, but they will only have three players including Gattis on the bench. So keeping Altuve on the bench will keep them short on the bench in the Seattle Mariners series. Yes, the Astros have done some unconventional things this season, but not having a backup infielder could be a disaster of the likes of Gattis playing second base. So put Altuve on the DL just to recover from this, because you know he wants to play hurt or not.

The Astros have a potentially elite lead-off hitter at Triple-A in Tony Kemp. Kemp was drafted in the 2013 MLB draft, and his play has moved him up quickly through the Astros organization. Why is he a perfect fit for the lead-off position, because he hits for average and has good speed. However, his best quality is his ability to score runs, which he did 121 times in 2014 in the minors. Let’s look at Tony Kemp’s stats the past two years in the minors.

Stats from Baseball Reference

While the power game is not part of the definition of who Kemp is as a player, but getting on base is. Any player with an OBP over .400 is good in my book. The question is if the Astros would go this route, or will they go the safer route by bringing up fan favorite Jonathan Villar. Yes, that was sarcasm there, but that may be the way the Astros go should Altuve hit the DL.

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The Astros have already broken the seal this year in terms of bringing up young talents to help the club win now. If Altuve is forced to the DL, the Astros need someone to fill in his shoes. Tony Kemp has proved he’s ready, with his constant production in the minors. What harm would it do to bring him up for a couple of weeks, give him the keys to the car, and see what happens? This would push George Springer and Carlos Correa back one spot, so this would be my potential top three if Altuve is out.

Tony Kemp

George Springer

Carlos Correa

The one hitch for Hinch and Luhnow would be who would go off the 40-man roster to activate Kemp? There are a couple of pitchers that they can maybe move to the 60-day DL in Brad Peacock or Sam Deduno. They can make a decision to part ways with Roberto Hernandez, but he may have just saved his roster spot with that solid outing the other day. They could finally decide to part ways with Villar, but someone will scoop him up.

I’m not the GM of the Astros, Jeff Luhnow is, and 99.9% of the time I think he is doing the right thing for the team. It’s not an easy thing to decide as a GM, to DL your best hitter, but we need to consider Altuve’s health for later this season. Maybe with the success of Luhnow’s recent draft picks with the Astros, they will be tempted to make the move. Lance McCullers, Preston Tucker, and Carlos Correa are Luhnow’s draft choices to make an impact this season. The only negative is that the team will be losing a valuable leader on the field for a little while, but will have perfectly evenly stacked cups for a while.

“I don’t always want Jose Altuve on the DL, but when I do, I prefer Tony Kemp.” – The Most Interesting Astros fan.

Keeping up With the Prospects: Tony Kemp (Interview)

Vote for Jose Altuve for All-Star Game Here.

Next: Houston Astros continue to roll, defeat the Rockies 8-4

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