Injuries are forcing the Astros to be creative in roster construction
Let’s state the obvious: Injuries suck.
Since June 25th, the Astros haven’t had George Springer, Jose Altuve, and Carlos Correa together in the same lineup. 42 days, to be exact. Correa’s absence seems much longer than that, right? This is how I feel, especially in light of recent events. Again, injuries suck.
So, let’s rundown the team’s current DL listing.
- RHP Chris Devenski
- RHP Jandel Gustave
- RHP Lance McCullers
- C Brian McCann
- 2B Jose ALtuve
- SS Carlos Correa
Overall, the Astros have multiple key players on the DL, including the 2017 AL MVP and one of the game’s top shortstops. Losing McCullers and Devenski puts additional strain on the pitching staff, and McCann’s absence has been felt by many. The list may be updated shortly as it appears that Springer is prime for a DL stint. If there is a silver lining, Correa is inching closer to a return.
The Astros, in the meantime, have been forced to utilize a variant of the Fresno lineup featuring Tyler White, J.D. Davis, Max Stassi, and Tony Kemp. For the record, I know Stassi and Kemp have spent the majority of the season with the Astros, but they were regulars with the Grizzlies last season. Heck, Jake Marisnick could likely be throw into this bunch now considering he has recently spent some time in Fresno.
And it appears that Derek Fisher will be joining this group shortly. To be honest, the Astros’ lineup the past few days has felt more and more like a Grizzlies’ one, which isn’t meant as a slight to Fresno or the team’s players. I like the Grizzlies usual lineup as it is filled with talented players. At the same time, Altuve, Correa, and Springer were all key cogs of a historic offense last year. It is simply unrealistic to expect similar production from the current lineup.
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Going forward, the Astros are likely running out a lineup similar to the one on Sunday with the inclusion of the DH. The key question is who’ll bat leadoff in Springer’s absence? Honestly, I am not sure. But expect to see an outfield of Marisnick, Kemp, and Reddick with Fisher available off the bench. The infield will likely be Yuli Gurriel at first, Marwin Gonzalez at second, and Alex Bregman at shortstop. J.D. Davis and Tyler White will likely see time at first and third base. Evan Gattis is the likely DH for most games. Incidentally, the catcher position seems to be settled for a while with Stassi and Martin Maldonado. I am curious though to see how the Astros navigate the position once McCann returns.
The latest bout of injuries have forced the Astros to become creative with their roster construction. The lineup, in particular, will be revolving door. Thankfully, it does appear that Houston can roll with a four-man starting rotation for a while with the upcoming off-days.
For the bullpen, the Astros actually seem to be in decent shape despite the loss of Devenski. Look for more of Ryan Pressly and the controversial Roberto Osuna. Hector Rondon and Collin McHugh have also emerged as key cogs in relief. With Oakland gaining ground though, the Astros have their work cut out for them until the reinforcements arrive.