Astros: The Outfield Corps Shaping Up for 2017
One year ago, the Astros outfield was thought to be a solid unit on a playoff contender.
George Springer, Colby Rasmus, Carlos Gomez, Jake Marisnick, and Preston Tucker. All of these outfielders were presumed to be part of a successful outfield equation in 2016.
Unfortunately, outside of Springer, that was not the outcome. Between injuries (Rasmus, Tucker) and general ineffectiveness (Gomez, Marisnick), the Astros were behind the eight-ball in the outfield.
For example, only Springer had an OPS+ over 100 this past season. The Astros resorted to playing Tony Kemp and Teoscar Hernandez, two prospects, to find a possible solution.
In response, the front office decided to address the outfield issue this offseason. And the first step in the plan was to sign former division rival, Josh Reddick.
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The former Athletics outfielder has been a consistent force in the majors for quite some time. In the past three seasons, Reddick has posted an 116, 116, and 107 OPS+. That will slide in nicely in Houston’s lineup.
As far as the outfield configuration is concerned, the Astros have options.
With Reddick in the fold, Springer will likely be moved to center field. Reddick will probably the right fielder going forward. Left field on the other hand is still a mystery. The team could go with a combination of Kemp, Hernandez, and Tucker. Marisnick will likely be part of the mix. Yuliekski Gurriel could even figure into the left field equation.
Or, the team could sign another outfielder like Carlos Beltran.
In theory, Beltran would play left with Springer in center and Reddick in right. But Beltran may only be a part-time outfielder. The veteran slugger was the designated hitter in 73 games this year. However, there is enough roster flexibility to where the team can shape their lineup more to certain match-ups.
Next: Houston Astros: A.J. Reed on the trading block for an ace?
As of now, the outfield is in better shape than it was a week ago. And as along as Houston doesn’t pull anything foolish, like trade Springer, then the team should be sitting pretty going forward.
**Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference**