Astros: Chas McCormick’s versatility provides a huge advantage


Back in mid-July when I first wrote about Chas McCormick the focus was on his offensive contributions.  After all, back then Myles Straw was still on the Houston Astros and McCormick was the fourth outfielder that had shown remarkable power with 10 home runs in his first 140 major-league at-bats.

I spent most of that article wondering whether pitchers would adjust and throw McCormick less fastballs (they haven’t), since he was hitting them out of the park. Despite his Sunday blast that put the Astros ahead for good, McCormick’s long ball rate has slowed from one every 14 at-bats at the time of that article to now one every 20.5 at-bats.

The home runs are nice and one of the reasons I suggested a move be made in center. But this isn’t another article about home runs, this is about versatility and defense and how McCormick has made himself into an indispensable part of the Astros winning formula in 2021.

The Astros have benefitted from Chas McCormick’s defensive versatility, while his hitting has regressed to the mean.

McCormick has played all three outfield positions and played them well as evidenced in Wednesday’s victory over the Angels. He threw out Shohei Ohtani from the right field line with the bases loaded and score tied at five to complete an inning-ending double play.

McCormicks 650.2 outfield innings have been split: 235.1 innings in center, 232.1 in left and 183 in right. With Michael Brantley on the shelf, Yordan Alvarez suffering from occasional soreness and Taylor Jones in Sugar Land, one would think the Astros would be desperate for a left fielder at times.

Nope, not when McCormick can slide right into the position where he’s handled 54 chances without an error. Need a center fielder, you say? That’s where McCormick and Jake Meyers have been platooning, McCormick’s made 27 starts and committed one error in 51 chances while collecting an assist.

Right field is where 20 starts and 49 chances have yielded no errors and another assist for McCormick. The advanced stats love McCormick, too. His outfielder jump is in the 96th percentile and he has five outs above average in right, and three each in center and left. He can play any outfield position and play it well and he’s above average hitter with power.

Aledmys Diaz offers the Astros versatility in the infield having played first, second, third and short (in addition to some time in left field) and McCormick offers a similar luxury in the outfield that will provide the Astros flexibility and a huge advantage come October.

Next. Astros' Magic Number and Series Preview Versus Oakland. dark

Postseason roster spots are at a premium and by playing all three outfield positions well the rookie has made himself an indispensable piece of the Astros postseason roster.