The Predicted Lineups
Versus Left-Handed Pitchers
Like I said, the most interesting thing about this lineup is the swap of Springer and Altuve. I don’t think that the Astros would do it even though most of the fans would think it was a good idea. Altuve is you prototypical leadoff hitter, but the Astros want his contact rate hitting third. Gurriel is supposed to be an MLB ready player, so he will not be coddled like a regular prospect. He will bat fifth until Valbuena is ready to return.
When Valbuena is added back to the lineup, it splits the string of right-handed hitters. I like Hernandez batting ninth to be that second leadoff guy who can get on-base in front of the top five hitters. With Gattis at catcher, Gurriel or Bregman can go into the designated hitter slot.
However, expect that Castro will start losing playing time with the need for a spot in the designated hitter slot. A.J. Reed has hit better, but I see him sitting versus left-handed hitters for now.
Versus Right-Handed Pitchers
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The Astros seem to like having Castro batting ninth, so I left him there. Reed’s bat is waking up a little, so I see him getting the majority of the playing time until Valbuena comes back. To remain in the lineup, Reed must continue his recent hot hitting including last night when he hit two doubles. To get all the bats into the lineup, Bregman must show that he can handle left field.
If Gurriel is ready and hits when he comes up, this could be a dangerous lineup. But it will be a lineup that rotates daily based on who they are facing. The Astros hope to have players like Gurriel, Bregman, and Gonzalez allows them to be flexible. They did not sign Gurriel to that 4 1/2 year contract to be a bench guy.
Gurriel is only hitting .073 after last night’s hitless performance with a walk. Gurriel also drove in a run when he beat out a double play. I’m sure the Astros wanted him to perform a little better in his stint in Double-A. But they are about to have him learn on the job. It’s exciting that he is on the verge, but you are not supposed to promote until players have mastered that level.
We will talk to Booth some more about this tonight on Talking Stros. To listen, go to TuneIn and search ‘KTXF’ or follow this link live at 7 pm CST tonight.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***