Astros: Yuli Gurriel fills longtime first base void
Yuli Gurriel is providing offensive production that’s been lacking for the Astros at first base.
For the better part of two decades, the Astros enjoyed excellent production from the first base position courtesy of Jeff Bagwell and Lance Berkman. While that’s been missing since Berkman’s departure, Yuli Gurriel has stepped up this season.
Gurriel has already eclipsed 30 homers and 100 RBIs this season, making him the first Astros first baseman to do that since Berkman in 2007. If he can keep his batting average above .300, he’ll put up the first .300/30 HR/100 RBI season by an Astros first baseman since 2006.
First base, more than any other position, demands offense. Power and run production from that position is key, with teams often willing to stash subpar defenders there in exchange for getting their bats in the lineup.
The Astros, however, have had difficulty finding a difference maker there prior to this season. The list of failed attempts is long, but worth looking at to see just how it took a breakout season from a 35-year-old to give the lineup that needed punch.