Astros: Comparing ALCS roster changes from 2019 to 2020
The Houston Astros roster for the ALCS in 2020 looks different than in 2019.
With the Houston Astros making their fourth ALCS in four years, there have been some huge changes to the roster over the years, but this season’s team looks a lot different than last year. The big losses all come with the pitching staff and the loss of the young power hitter Yordan Alvarez.
The Astros are standing tall as a team who had a losing record in the regular season, after being the one seed in last year’s postseason. They have seen a lot of loss to injury and free agency, but no one would have thought they would reach it this far in a year where it could have been the last run for this dynasty.
The losses from last year’s ALCS roster include Bryan Abreu (undisclosed), Gerrit Cole (free agency), Will Harris (free agency), Robert Osuna (injury), Brad Peacock (injury), Hector Rondon (free agency), Joe Smith (opt out), and Justin Verlander (injury). Eight of the 12 pitchers from last year’s ALCS roster are not playing this year, and all their reasons are provided above.
The only batters lost are Robinson Chirinos (free agency), Alvarez (injury), and Jake Marisnick (trade). So, how are the Astros in a place that they are four wins away from the World Series? Well, the rookie arms and hot, healthy bats got them here.
The additions of Chase De Jong, Luis Garcia, Cristian Javier, Lance McCullers Jr., Enoli Paredes, Brooks Raley, Andre Scrubb, Cy Sneed, Blake Taylor and Framber Valdez are the reason the Astros are in this position and will be able to move forward if they can hold onto leads. The additional batters are Abraham Toro, who is the only switch hitter on the roster, and catchers Dustin Garneau and Garrett Stubbs.
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Dusty Baker has made great moves for this playoff roster against a Tampa Bay Rays team that has a lot of lefty batters. Last season the New York Yankees were heavily right-handed hitters, so the Astros did not have a single lefty arm.
This year, out of the Astros’ 14 arms, they have three lefties — one starter and two bullpen guys, those being Valdez, Raley and Taylor. I would not bank on seeing any of these guys pitching in the same game because of there only being three and there being a heavily lefty lineup on the other side.
The increase in arms is due to the fact the Astros lost the two best pitchers in the American League from last year, Verlander and Cole. We might not see a guy like Sneed or De Jong come into a game, but they are there as a safety precaution. The issues with a rookie pen might stand out a lot this week due to lack of experience, but for all we know, we could see long games from guys like Valdez and Javier.
The only difference from the 2020 ALDS roster was the switch of Chas McCormick for Chase De Jong. This move was made to bring an extra arm to the pen. McCormick did not play a single postseason game this year while on roster. It was a move to familiarize himself with the team.
The Astros are looking to win their third ALCS in the last four years this week. The only thing they need to focus on is keeping the lead when they have it, because their postseason starters have been lights out.