The Houston Astros are entering the 2021 season with one of their most experienced catching duos in Martin Maldonado and Jason Castro in the last 10 years. Garrett Stubbs is the third catcher on the 40-man roster, and his ability to play second base and the outfield could lead to more stints in the Major Leagues this season.
The 27-year-old recently changed his diet entering his third season in MLB, as he has moved to a dairy-free and gluten-free diet. The California native is looking to fight for a 26-man roster spot, although lacking a huge bat against MLB pitching.
The Astros 26-man roster will have a few adjustments from 2020, but will Garrett Stubbs be on it?
Maldonado and Castro have locked in the catching spots for the ’21 season, but as other infielding and utility spots are closing up, Stubbs looks to diversify his game to make the roster. The left-hander has had struggles at the plate, while his bat hasn’t been his strong suit. As the highlighted utility players are in Aledmys Diaz and Abraham Toro, we saw Stubbs hold a roster spot due Diaz’s injury in 2021, but he didn’t make many contributions other than bring a late game defensive adjustment.
Through 14 games in 2020, the Astros catcher started only one game, but split his appearances in left field as well. Eight games behind the plate and three games below the Crawford Boxes led to a 1.000 fielding percentage for the right-hander. Stubbs’ defensive ability isn’t something to worry about. While only being 5’10” and a slimmed down player, his quickness, agility and movement has led to great numbers in the field. One thing he has struggled with is base runners, as he has only thrown out one of the four players stealing on him. This is a small sample sized statistic, but most of Stubbs’ numbers are, after all he has only played in a total of 33 MLB games.
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In 49 career plate appearances, the left-hander has struggled with .186/.250/.256 and eight total hits at the plate. These numbers are heavily deflated with a lack of at bats and chances to play so far in his career. His quickness and defensive versatility is seen more in games, as he is used as a defensive replacement or a pinch runner when needed.
The 27-year-old might not see a spot on the 26-man roster come April, but that doesn’t mean his Houston career is over. While being the third catcher on the 40-man roster, Stubbs will see stints at the Major League level, and since Dusty Baker has taken over as Manager, the Astros have gone extended periods of time holding three catchers rather than two when AJ Hinch was at the helm. This will be affected by the experience already on the team, but Stubbs has the skill set to play two other positions.
The sluggish bat will be something that Stubbs will need to work on this spring, but if he is finding ways to get on base two to three times a full game, then he will be valuable down the stretch. He has had success in the Minor Leagues while slashing .272/.361/.400 through five seasons, but Stubbs needs to translate these numbers to the Majors. I am projecting Stubbs to start his 2021 season in Sugar Land with the Skeeters, but one thing to watch will be his options for the Astros. While only being in the Majors for two seasons, Stubbs could be burning a few of his Minor League options in this season when the team needs his depth.
His brother, CJ, is in the Astros organization as well. The 24-year-old is a bigger version of his brother, as he stands at 6’3″, he seems to have more power than his brother with nine home runs through 55 Minor League games.