Astros’ rookie outfield has stepped up mightily in response to absences

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The Houston Astros‘ outfield has seen new faces in the last two months following the trade deadline and the expanded roster in September. Now, the rookies are consistently starting across all outfield positions due to recent injuries.

Michael Brantley remains on the injured list with knee soreness, as the left-hander was eligible to be activated on Wednesday. As he remains on the shelf, Brantley is “not quite ready” to return to the active roster.

Yordan Alvarez will be out of the lineup on Thursday due to soreness, which leads to more starts from the rookie cast. Kyle Tucker (shoulder soreness) has continued to hit in the DH spot, while Thursday might come with three starting rookie outfielders.

Due to recent injuries, the Astros’ rookie cast has seen more starts, which is where they have excelled.

Jose Siri

While taking the majors by storm, Jose Siri has slashed .333/.375/.733 through 32 plate appearances. Plate discipline was a concern in Triple-A for Siri, as he struck out 122 times in 397 plate appearances.

Siri has 10 hits since his debut, four of those being home runs. The right-hander has yet to strike his first extra-base hit that isn’t a home run, while his flash of power and also speed have been his most notable tools. With half of his at-bats resulting in either a strike out (11) or a home run, pitchers have yet to diminish his power.

The right-hander has taken most of his innings in right field (33), while his speed and range can be assets at all three positions.

Jake Meyers and Chas McCormick

While both Jake Meyers and Chas McCormick hit right-handed and throw left-handed, there isn’t a viable platoon evident, unless you look more into their splits. Against left-handed pitchers, Meyers is slashing .311/.326/.556 with seven extra-base hits.

For McCormick, the righty is hitting to an OPS of .781, compared to Meyers’ .882. Both hitters are better against left-handed hurlers, but McCormick is immensely more effective against right-handed pitching.

McCormick has a .763 against righties this season, which is higher than Meyers’ .686 (below the league average). This is where we could see a platoon form heading into the postseason, when the discussion of ‘who gets more innings?’ is brought up.

Both can play centerfield, and with Tucker possibly at DH on Thursday night, an outfield of McCormick in left, Meyers in center and Siri in right could likely be the best layout for the rookies. Aledmys Diaz taking more innings in left field would also behoove the Astros to close out the season.

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After a 12-inning victory on Wednesday, the Astros return to action looking to sweep the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday at 8:38 p.m. Lance McCullers Jr. will battle the hill with right-hander Alex Cobb. In the bullpen, Ryan Pressly reached his vesting threshold for 2022 with his appearance Wednesday night.