Astros Position Notes: Colin Moran, Tony Kemp, Evan Gattis
By Eric Huysman
The Houston Astros called up three players from the minors over the past few days to shake up things on the roster.
We all knew that Evan Gattis would be returning follow his time with the Hooks getting back into catching. According to Brian McTaggart, we will get to see Gattis behind the plate Thursday. Talked to Alex Bregman about how Gattis looked behind the plate, he said that he was a stud.
It appears, for now, that A.J. Hinch is not afraid to have Jason Castro start the game and start Gattis as the designated hitter. If an emergency arises, they can do without a DH should Gattis have to enter the game as a catcher due to an injury to Castro. Gattis will still be in the lineup for most games, but on games that he catches, I suspect Castro not to play in case they need to switch later.
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Astros fans were probably disappointed that their new players were not in the starting lineup last night, but they are both left-handed hitters versus the talented Carlos Rodon. It would have been a tough matchup to make their debut against. Hinch said that both would be in the lineup today versus Matt Latos.
According to McTaggart, Colin Moran will get the start games at third base versus right-handed pitchers and will get some turns as the designated hitter. I think that he will be the designated hitter when Gattis starts at catcher against right-handed pitchers as well. When Moran plays third base, look for Luis Valbuena to switch to first base over Tyler White sometimes.
If White keeps on hitting like he did last night when he hit two homers and a double, it will be hard to take him out of the lineup. He has recently shown signs of breaking out of his extended slump, but he will be at first base against left-handed with Valbuena switching back to third base. Hinch will have to spread the playing time evenly.
Moran will probably play more often that Kemp could, but having Carlos Gomez on the DL will give him some more playing time. Kemp has mostly played center and left field in the minors as well as second base, so look for him to alternate between those two spots.
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When Kemp is not in the lineup, he will make an impact in the game with his speed as a pinch runner for some of the slower Astros late in the games as he did last night. Kemp pinch ran for White and scored the go-ahead run at the time. Moran will also be used similarly to how Preston Tucker was used as the power left-hand hitter off the bench.
**Stats from Baseball-Reference**