Astros: Position player depth helps with Aledmys Diaz on IL
The Houston Astros should be fine while Aledmys Diaz is on the Injured List.
We’ve written ad nauseum about the lack of pitching depth the Houston Astros have this season. One thing they don’t have any problem with, though, is position player depth. This will allow them to manage without infielder Aledmys Diaz while he’s on the Injured List.
The Astros placed Diaz on the IL following Friday’s season opener after he was pulled from the game due to a groin strain. He was limited to just 69 games last season due to a pair of IL stints, but he was effective when healthy. Diaz hit .271/.356/.467 with nine homers and 40 RBIs in his debut season in Houston.
Diaz will turn 30 on Aug. 1, so he’ll spend his birthday on the shelf. There’s no timetable for how long he’ll be out, so the team will just continue to monitor him and he’ll be ready when he’s ready. The good news for the team, though, is they should have no trouble filling his role.
Plenty of Depth
The Astros called up infielder Taylor Jones to take Diaz’s spot on the roster. A first baseman who can also play third, the 6’7″ Jones is an intriguing player. He’s been largely an unheralded prospect since the team drafted him in the 19th round in 2016 out of Gonzaga, but he’s got plenty of upside. He put up an .889 OPS at Triple-A last year and is solid defensively.
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Infielder Abraham Toro was already on the major league roster, and he’ll compete with Jones for occasional starts at the corner infield positions and DH. He’s the more notable prospect and has some major league experience to his credit, so the switch hitter could be relied on as well.
Jack Mayfield is also on the roster and will serve as the backup middle infielder in Diaz’s absence. He’s a solid defender but isn’t much with the bat, so don’t expect him to make any starts unless Carlos Correa or Jose Altuve needs a day off.
The Astros also have additional options on the alternate site squad. Nick Tanielu and Alex De Goti both have a good amount of experience at Triple-A and could probably serve as utility infielders on teams with less substantial depth. In other words, it would take several injuries for depth to become an issue here.
As for the DH at-bats, Kyle Tucker was always going to get most of them against right-handed pitching. With Diaz out, the starts against lefties will probably be divvied up between Tucker and Michael Brantley (with Myles Straw playing outfield when Brantley DHs). Toro and Jones could manage a start or two as well, which is something we’d enjoy seeing.