The Astros don’t have a storied past like the Yankees of New York, the Cubs of Chicago, or even the Dodgers of Los Angeles.
What the Astros do have is time and a golden opportunity to set in motion one of the best teams ever assembled. No matter who steps up on any particular day, the roster is littered with players who can play the role of the “hero”.
This team isn’t made of one or two players that change the game, but from top to bottom, andy given day they have players that can step up and play hero. I’m not talking about Jose Altuve, George Springer or even Alex Bregman. I am talking about the many role players who have contributed and continued to come up big in clutch situations. Let’s look at players who look to have a significant impact no matter if they are starting, pinch-hitting or running.
The “Wooooo” champion is off to a solid start this postseason with a .400 batting average and four hits in three games. Outside of his big hit in Boston in last year’s ALDS, he didn’t provide much help in the lineup as an offensive player during the remainder of the postseason. The Astros are simply a better team when he provides a spark with his bat.
Although your average fan may not think Kemp plays a “central role,” his contributions have come up big in key situations. “Kempin’ Ain’t Easy” can play three positions as well as the infield. Kemp’s glove has come up big along with key hits in games that sparked this offense when not hitting on all cylinders.
After bouncing back and forth between AAA and the majors, the “Great White Shark” has created a need when it comes to his bat in this lineup, as well his glove at 1B. Late in the season, he hit a walk-off home run against the A’s and has provided key hits on multiple occasions for this team. He has mashed the ball at every level, and while most expected Kyle Tucker to have a breakout year, White is clearly making his mark on this team.
Gonzalez had a banner year last season and didn’t exactly light it up in 2018. At moments, though, he has come through not only with his bat but with his glove and his versatility in the field. In Game 2 of the ALDS when he went 4-for-4, it is easy to say that he was the reason they won that matchup 3 to 1. With a hot bat, he has helped absorb the negative impact of a mostly non-existent bat from Carlos Correa.
While this is not an exhaustive list of contributors, I recognize there are others Brian McCann, Martin Maldonado, Myles Straw, Evan Gattis, and even Jake Marisnick. I write this article as the roster is yet to be revealed, so I chose to play it safe with the players I featured.
With the offense being the focus of this article, it doesn’t discount the pitching staff. From starters to relievers this team has a hero inserted daily. Houston displays true grit and determination, in an unselfish manner that lifts every man on this roster. The media and fans expect the big names to contribute, but what real Houston Astros fans know is that any player can contribute on any given day. This is their strength and should continue to dominate in this ALCS, and even further.