Houston Astros: Jake Marisnick is making a case for more playing time


In a year where balls have been flying out of Minute Maid Park, there has been some power from some expected sources. We expected Chris Carter, Evan Gattis, George Springer, Colby Rasmus, and Luis Valbuena to be in the double-digit home run club. Surprise production from Jason Castro, Hank Conger, and Preston Tucker have also added to the overall power of the organization. Then you had Carlos Correa and Carlos Gomez, who have at least ten homers on the season. But one player who nobody thought could reach double digit home runs is on the brink of doing exactly that. That player is the elite defensive outfielder Jake Marisnick.

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The other day, Aric wrote about how the Houston Astros have ten players with ten homers or more, you can read it here: The 2015 Houston Astros Offense Has a Chance to Reach an MLB HR Record. He mentioned that the Astros could break the MLB record by having 12 players reach the double-digit home run club.

For that to happen, Marisnick (7 homers) and Marwin Gonzalez (9 homers) would have to step up the pace. Marisnick has and has hit two big home runs in the past few days to get him to nine homers.  Jed Lowrie has also broken out of a slump and hit a few home runs to get up to eight homers himself. Yesterday I wrote about Lowrie’s most recent home run which was a grand slam here: Houston Astros: Jed Lowrie is now deep in the hearts of Astros’ fans.

I wanted to focus on Marisnick, because while he has always been great defensively, he has struggled with the bat after a hot April this year. With Springer returning to the lineup and the suddenly hot Gomez in centerfield, will Marisnick find some playing time in left field? I know that sounds weird, put your elite defensive player in left field, but the Astros also have Springer, who is naturally a center fielder in right field. Rasmus is also a centerfielder, which explains why the outfield defense has been a strength all season. Along these lines, Tucker would be the weakest link and infielder Gonzalez has seen some time in left as well.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch has an embarrassment of riches in the outfield and has done a great job splitting starts between the players. I wonder, who will get the bulk of the playing time if the final week of the season and playoffs? Has Marisnick shown enough to play those critical innings, or will he be designated the late inning defensive replacement or not even make the playoff roster.

These above stats were from ESPN last seven-day stats plus yesterday’s game. Rasmus has been getting the bulk of the playing time, but since Springer returned from the disabled list, he has not played as often. If only four outfielders could make a playoff roster, which players will they be?

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    The Astros could use Gonzalez in the outfield, he has shown an amazing ability to play the outfield like he was in the infield with his hustle. If Marisnick can provide the pop in the bat he has shown since he cut his hair, he is good enough to be in the top four. Can Tucker make it, it depends on how many pitchers they want to carry and what happens at first base?

    The Astros are a much better team when Marisnick is in the lineup and hitting. When he is out there, there are three above average defenders in the outfield who are centerfielders. The next few weeks will weed out some of the decisions that Hinch will have to make, it’s going to be a blast!

    Next: Houston Astros Farm Report: Fresno Grizzlies are gearing up for a championship

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