Astros: Has Marwin Gonzalez’s Postseason Fate been Cemented?

(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /

The Astros are nearing October, but will Marwin Gonzalez join the postseason roster?

As the Houston Astros season draws closer to the end and the last few postseason roster spots open for the taking the question remains, is Marwin Gonzalez in or out? The picture isn’t quite clear and the needs the Astros have for bench depth.

Gonzalez hasn’t exactly been on a tear since he joined the team, so the decision will get dicey but here are a few categories we will explore further: versatility, clutch and consistency. Starting with versatility, this is a tough question especially for this years squad who has seen multiple starting players out on injured list for some kind of injury or another.

Does general manager James Click go with a million pitching options like he did last October and have versatility out of the bullpen and keep a guy like Josh James, hoping he returns to form? Or does he go with a second utility player who can step in if a key player needs to take a few days off due to a lingering flareup of a prior injury?

The 32-year-old has a leg up if versatility off the bench is something Click wants to add, as he can play around the infield or the corners in the outfield and in addition Gonzalez is a switch-hitter.  His switch hitting is a huge advantage that puts him at the top of my list to make the postseason roster, more than any other contributing factor.

Gonzalez can go in to pinch-hit for a struggling player late in the game and can stay in the game for almost any player. He can force the opposing managers hand to either leave in a struggling pitcher for one more batter or make a switch that gives him an advantage over the pitcher that can play in his favor.

Clutch hitting is what makes or brakes a postseason career and can even make a somewhat average player soar to the heights of stardom if they can come through in October. Gonzalez is currently hitting .333 this season with men on first and third and .600 with the bases loaded.

On the contrast with runners on first and second or one man on any base he is hitting between .125 and .229, while going 0-for-5 in seven plate appearances this season with an RBI with runners on second and third.

While those stats are really a mixed bag between situations, Gonzalez is hitting .200 with two outs and runners in scoring position with a homer and nine RBI in 30 plate appearances. When his team has been behind by two runs, he has four homers and 20 RBIs in 167 plate appearances.

Finally in innings seven through nine, Gonzalez is hitting .205 with three homers and 13 RBI in 83 plate appearances, far superior to his early game numbers in both average and production. With regards to clutch hitting, the switch-hitter is definitely performing decently well in the late innings.

Gonzalez has seen scattered time since he has been called up by the Astros but one thing remains true, he has done better starting games rather than jumping in pinch hitting. Now, it is true that he has only had two appearances with the Astros as a pinch hitter and is 0-for-3, but compared to Gonzalez’s 4-for-18 hitting when starting at a .222 clip with three home runs and eight RBI there is no question he is much more consistent when starting a game.

Throughout the whole season Gonzalez has three hits in a handful of appearances as a pinch hitter this season, so he certainly can put it together late in the game but has yet to show it on the Astros this season. Finally, his five strikeouts in seven games does at least show he puts the bat on the ball so you can put him in clutch situations and he will at least give his team a chance at a victory in more instances than not.

So does Gonzalez make the postseason roster, my answer is definitely changed after last game’s performance going 2-for-5 with a grand slam and five RBI.  Prior to his latest performance, his position on the postseason squad was a bit in question, however, with three home runs in seven games I would be hard pressed to leave him off the squad, especially if he can replicate that performance in a seven-game series.

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Versatility wins the postseason along with clutch hitting, and to be honest Diaz’s postseason performance remains a big question mark for me and I’m sure many peoples minds after last year, while Gonzalez has a pretty solid track record of success.

After another victory over the Los Angeles Angels, the Astros are back in action on Wednesday at 8:38 p.m. with Luis Garcia matching up against right-hander Janson Junk.