Potential Solution #5 – Luis Valbuena
Astros faithful will remember Chris Carter‘s swoon in the middle of last season. Carter had just 12 hits in July and August, averaging .137 during his two-month slump. In September he woke up, blasting six home runs with an OPS of 1.222. He had the highest batting average on the team during that span and was arguably one of the biggest reasons that the Astros were able to maintain a playoff spot. We’re not talking about Chris Carter, but he did set a precedent for struggling corner infielders in Houston.
Valbuena has been a streaky player in the past, in fact, his current average (.197) is right in line with this point in the 2015 season. Last year Valbuena played his best baseball after July so it’s not inconceivable that a late-season surge might be in his future again this year. The bat will come around. In the meantime, he’s a fairly reliable defender and a left-handed bat at the back of the order.
It’s not the sexy choice, but it does seem to be the most Astro-like option in the mix. While he struggles you’ll see Colin Moran and Marwin Gonzalez spelling him, but the third base job is probably going to remain Valbuena’s this year, and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
Chances he’s the answer: 2 to 1
**Stats from Baseball-Reference and MILB.com**