Astros: Is Josh Reddick the new cleanup hitter?
By Eric Huysman
Josh Reddick had a great night, but is he the new Astros cleanup hitter?
When the Astros made a lineup move earlier in the week, it was to generate some offense. They have done that and more since the switch, but it was really only a matter of time before it happened. This offense is legit which is why it was surprising that so many fans panicked with the early season struggles. They have now had back to back ten run outburst versus the White Sox.
With the new hitting arrangement, George Springer is still leading off. Jose Altuve moves up to bat second with Carlos Correa batting third. It’s been a revolving door at cleanup between Yuli Gurriel, Evan Gattis, and Josh Reddick. Since Tuesday, Reddick has been the cleanup hitter the most with three starts, with Gurriel and Gattis getting one chance each.
Will the Astros stick to this order, or will they eventually put Alex Bregman back hitting second? This is something that we do not know right now, but the offense has been reignited. The main question is, will Reddick hold onto the cleanup spot? With a team as deep as the Astros, it is hard to find things to write about. However, who bats cleanup is kind of a big deal.
A rotation at cleanup?
Reddick will most likely move down or sit versus a tough left-handed pitcher. Before yesterday’s game, Reddick was batting .200 versus left-handed pitchers with a .738 OPS. Last night, the Astros offense scored nine runs off Lucas Giolito, with Reddick driving in four of those runs himself on two homers. The first one came in the second inning and the second one came in the fourth inning.
Reddick is now batting .267 with six homers and 14 RBIs on the season. While he has batted cleanup before in his career, he’s only had 152 career at-bats hitting fourth. He has a career .257 batting average with two homers as the cleanup hitter. With his two homers last night, he has now doubled his career homers batting cleanup.
Reddick has had the most success in his career batting third with 53 homers in 1199 career at-bats. However, with Altuve and Correa on the roster, that’s not likely to happen. The good thing about Reddick is that he will hit no matter where you put him. He now leads the Astros in homers and is tied for second in the AL with six homers. His 14 RBI trails Correa’s 18 and the league leader 23 RBIs in Jed Lowrie.
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When Reddick is hot, he can carry the team with his Rick Flair strut. Reddick is one of the reasons that this team is successful with his personality and passion. After the game, he was interviewed wearing a Rick Flair inspired Astros robe. When Reddick is not hitting cleanup, look for Gurriel and possibly Gattis to get more at-bats at cleanup. But as always, the decisions are based on the matchups.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference and ESPN***