On Wednesday, Houston Astros Manager Dusty Baker announced that Carlos Correa has entered the lead off race with Myles Straw. As mostly a middle of the order career hitter, Correa has been on a tear this spring, while hitting .333 in 12 at bats; this is a small sample size, but the right-hander has been doing his job of getting on base.
While constructing a lineup if the Astros had signed Jackie Bradley Jr. and a lineup with Straw at lead off, it is time to develop a possible rundown of hitters if Correa were to hit first. Although having a few lefties to maneuver, this lineup could look very similar if Straw was leading off.
Here is what a lineup with Correa leading off could look like for the Astros.
While having a slightly less analytical Manager in the dugout than in recent years, Baker has been up for testing anything from trying new players at other positions or shifting the lineup. With the versatility being added this offseason, it shouldn’t be a surprise that he is testing players in different spots of the lineup. The only issue that could mess with the heart of the order is the surplus of big left-handed bats.
We saw Michael Brantley shift into the two-hole during the 2020 ALCS, and Altuve hit third for one game; this could be an easy shift we see during this season as well. More analytical teams have developed their two spot as their most “professional” hitter such as the Washington Nationals having Juan Soto hit second, but for an older manager like Baker, this might not be that common unless they want a lefty bat earlier at the plate. The two and three spots will be Altuve and Brantley and could shift depending on matchups.
More from Climbing Tal's Hill
- Just how much better is the Houston Astros playoff rotation than the rest?
- Houston Astros: A Lineup Change to Spark Offense
- Astros prospect Hunter Brown throws 6 shutout innings in debut
- Always faithful Astros World Series champion Josh Reddick defends the title
- Michael Conforto declines Astros’ 2-year, $30 million offer
Then comes the heart of the lineup, where Alex Bregman would hit clean up with Yordan Alvarez following him. While Kyle Tucker would be the sixth hitter, this helps break up the left-handed bats from not having Brantley, Alvarez and Tucker hitting three in a row. Yuli Gurriel and Martin Maldonado would round out the seven and eight spots, while having sluggish 2020 hitting campaign, they will need a bounce back this season to add strength in the back end of the lineup.
Myles Straw would conclude the lineup as the ninth hitter, and while being the fastest guy on the team, this is hit best spot, if he doesn’t lead off. The right-hander has been stellar this spring at getting on base, and you can treat this as a second lead off spot. While going through the lineup multiple times, the order might not matter later into games, although trying to balance your power and on base percentages.
This all comes down to Baker’s opinion by April, and while some players are nursing injuries, every offensive player is expected to be healthy within the next few weeks. Although George Springer is gone, this lineup is lethal at full strength.