Astros: Jose Siri is seriously fun to watch

Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports /

The statistics are unsustainable, the holes obvious, but watching Jose Siri play baseball is fun.

On the day the Myles Straw was traded to the Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros fans were incredulous that a team contending for the American League West title and World Series would trade their starting center fielder for a middle reliever and a low level catcher.

Though I had proposed an upgrade in center, I didn’t necessarily think Straw would be part of the package as I believed he had value to a team that seemed to be a tad short in the outfield, with only rookie Chas McCormick to fill Straws shoes.

Six weeks later the move smacks of genius and the Astros seem to have had multiple young outfielders in Sugar Land that were major league ready, with speed, power and defense to burn.

McCormick had established himself in the first half of the season as a good outfielder with surprising power and Jake Meyers quickly became a fan favorite once selected to replace Straw on the roster. The latest rookie on the scene is Jose Siri, a 26-year-old native of the Dominican Republic and former Cincinnati Red minor leaguer who began his pro career as a 17-year-old in 2013.

Siri’s journey to the Show might be the most remarkable of the three Astro rookie outfielders. He spent multiple years at both the Rookie and Double-A levels before bottoming out in Triple-A in 2019 with Cincinnati batting .186 in 112 plate appearances for Louisville.

The Cincinnati Reds waived Siri and he was picked up by the Seattle Mariners, promptly waived six weeks later, only to be picked up by the Giants before being granted free agency in November of 2020 and signing with the Astros last December.  Like all minor leaguers Siri played 0 games in 2020, but he was technically with four organizations in one calendar year.

The Astros placed Siri in Triple-A with the Sugar Land Skeeters where he flourished, batting .318 with 16 home runs and 72 RBI in 362 at bats before he got the call. Still, it was a tall order to believe that a mid-twenties outfielder who had batted well below the Mendoza line as recently as 2019 was going to contribute for the AL West leader and World Series hopeful Astros.

Contribute is exactly what Siri has done with his legs (3 of 4 SB), defense (first outfield assist September 16), power (two home runs on September 13) and energy.

I’m not a believer in small sample sizes, even for players with sustained minor league success, which Siri does not possess.  His career has been up and down and you don’t see four organizations in 10 months by being a can’t miss prospect.

Siri strikes out. A lot. Like 797 times in 2,595 minor league at bats and so far 35% (seven strikeouts in 20 at plate appearances, with one walk) of the time with the Astros. No, Siri will not bat .444, slug .824 and finish with a wRC+ of 243.

On the other hand, there I go, doubting the guy that so many others have doubted, doubting the guy multiple organizations said “no thanks” to, the guy that so many thought would never make it.

Next. Tyler Ivey returns to mound for first time since his debut. dark

And there he goes, enjoying every swing, every throw, every slide and every moment of being a Major Leaguer and proving guys like me wrong.

After a 4-3 walk-off hit by pitch on Friday, the Astros are back in action against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday at 6:10 p.m. Lance McCullers Jr. looks to battle an recent Astro in right-hander Humberto Castellanos. In farm news, Robel Garcia cleared waivers and was sent outright to Triple-A Sugar Land.