Astros: 3 reasons why Aledmys Diaz should be platooned more

Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /

The Houston Astros have shown recent success in their ability to build up utility players for a good chunk of their reign in major league baseball. With Marwin Gonzalez being the most recent to depart, Aledmys Diaz is sitting on his second to last year of arbitration eligibility. As first mentioned by Jake Kaplan of The Athletic, this thought of playing more has been brewing the last two weeks.

As the right-hander is excelling as the primary replacement in the infield, here is the case for Diaz to take more starts. Manager Dusty Baker has shown that he is looking at matchups in lineups with the starting of Martin Maldonado and Jason Castro, so it would behoove him to start that with Diaz as well.

The Houston Astros would benefit from more Aledmys Diaz starts.

The infield is set, and there is no arguing that, but rest days will come and go. As Diaz can play every position in the infield, he recently tested the waters in right field, mostly because of the short porch at Yankee Stadium.

Ability to play the outfield.

With his recent chance of playing right field, it did look like a new world for Diaz, while he struggled with balls off the wall. The right-hander has dabbled in left field as well in his career, and while he’s better in this area, he still looks shaky when tracking down balls.

All-in-all, Diaz has posted a 1.000 fielding over 70 innings in the outfield, although this is a small sample size in some eyes, the right-hander has shown he is reliable at any position. The theory that natural shortstops can transfer their abilities well to other positions is evident here.

A bat that is more reliable than the bottom half of the lineup.

As the bottom half of the lineup consisting of Kyle Tucker, Martin Maldonado and Myles Straw has shown recent plate struggles, Diaz has raked throughout the lineup. The right-hander has hit in the bottom of the frame to the three-hole, so wherever he sits, you can expect a few RBIs.

Through 68 plate appearances, the right-hander has hit .290/.353/.435. While these are slightly above the average in some cases, the right-hander has come up big with runners on base. Twelve RBIs over 18 games proves that Diaz is hitting well with runners in scoring positions, and with his recent success pinch hitting, his bat is asking for more plate appearances.

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Right-handed/Left-handed matchups.

The infield is dominated by right-handed hitters, so the platooning of at bats won’t work well in the infield but off days will. While taking Kyle Tucker or Michael Brantley‘s job for the day, the outfield can constantly shift, moving Tucker to centerfield or Brantley to right field.

Platooning these outfield hitters could benefit the Astros against either right-handed or left-handed pitching, but with Brantley being a top three hitter on the team, there is no reason to bench him other than for a needed off day. Tucker’s recent struggles could be split with Diaz, as he starts to find the outfield grass again.

This can also grant off days to Myles Straw, as Tucker shifts to centerfield or the use of Chas McCormick comes into play. These two left-handed bats could easily have their rest days used against left-handed pitchers and use Diaz to fill their void.

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