Astros: Dusty Baker’s recent comments on his lineup shuffle

Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports /

Manager Dusty Baker is trying out a new lineup card on Sunday, and it’s a smart one.

The Houston Astros‘ lineup has changed mightily since Alex Bregman hit the injured list, but with manager Dusty Baker moving Yordan Alvarez into the two-hole in correlation to how Kyle Schwarber leads off for the Washington Nationals, there are bright spots to his new plan.

With this being the lineup card for Sunday’s game, Alvarez isn’t the only player finding a new spot one through nine. Michael Brantley jumped into the fourth spot, where Baker sees him as the man to clean up the bases. Which in reality makes sense, the left-hander is slashing .317/.354/.483 wit runners in scoring position.

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The best hitters should be one through four; we are in a different era of baseball, where it doesn’t matter if you are fast or not to lead off. Many teams have abandoned the more traditional lineups like the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland A’s, and while Baker’s staff has implemented the most shifts this season, he could be taking a page out of their book in analytics.

On Saturday night, Baker sent out a lineup with a more consistent right-left-right (RLR) lineup, which helps with matchups down the road. Martin Maldonado is back in the lineup today against a left-handed starter, so the abundance of right-handed hitters is expected. While it looks like the Astros could send up a different swing each at-bat, Abraham Toro will most likely swing right-handed.

The lineup will vary throughout the season due to injuries, slumps and matchups, but this is a smart move from the long-tenured manager. Steering away from traditional baseball values puts the Astros in a better position to win, and this lineup is one of the best ways to do it right now. Baker has also been a manager that stands by the phrase: “You can’t sit out a slump.” They will come and go, and for Carlos Correa and Alvarez, they are due for a big game.

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Quick hits on the farm:

Aledmys Diaz is moving up to Double-A Corpus Christi for his rehab assignment, as Pedro Baez throws again on Sunday for Low-A Fayetteville. The right-hander will be in Houston to throw a bullpen on Tuesday, and if all goes well, Sugar Land is in his near future.

In post-draft signings, the Astros reel in RHP Rhett Kouba (12th round), RHP Nic Swanson (16th), 3B Justin Williams (17th), 2B Will Wagner (18th), RHP Marshall Hunt (NDFA), RHP Bryan Perez (NDFA), RHP Walker Brockhouse (NDFA), RHP Ray Gaither (NDFA) and RHP Jacob Delabio (NDFA) on Saturday.