Astros: How Kris Bryant Could Fit into Houston’s Lineup
The Houston Astros have made a couple free agent signings so far this offseason, landing a big fish in Justin Verlander and a significant under the radar addition to their bullpen in Hector Neris.
And while the future of Carlos Correa as an Astro remains in question, the team has made contact with another significant free agent in Kris Bryant, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network.
It’s not hard to imagine Bryant in an Astros uniform playing alongside Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve and Yuli Gurriel. It nearly was a reality for the past five years. Many fans forget (or choose to forget) that the Astros could have drafted him with the number one overall pick in 2014.
They instead went with starting pitcher Mark Appel who has yet to pitch a single major league inning for any franchise. The Chicago Cubs used the second overall pick to snag Bryant, who would become an MVP, perennial all-star and World Series champion.
As prolific as Houston’s offense has been these past five years, it still hurts to imagine what could have been with Bryant along for the ride.
It still seems like a remote possibility the Astros sign him, but how would Bryant fit into the Astros everyday plans if they were to pull the trigger?
If the Astros do sign Bryant that pretty much closes the door on Correa, so most likely Bregman moves back to his natural position of shortstop and Bryant would man third base everyday.
Bryant’s versatility would help the Astros out tremendously considering the age of Michael Brantley and Yuli Gurriel would demand they take the occasional rest.
On top of third base Bryant can handle first base and all three outfield positions so they would never take too deep a hit offensively with Aledmys Diaz able to cover third base (or shortstop if they were to move Bregman back over to third.)
Offensively he can bring comparable production to what Correa did, though he is entering the wrong side of 30 and does have a lot of swing and miss issues. He also walked 62 times last year though, which would have led all of the 2021 Astros roster.
But this is a roster built on making contact so you have to wonder if the Astros would ask him to adjust his approach to fit in with the team’s contact oriented style.
If Bryant were to sign with the Astros, here’s what the optimal Opening Day Lineup would look like.
- Jose Altuve 2B
- Michael Brantley LF
- Alex Bregman SS
- Yordan Alvarez DH
- Kris Bryant 3B
- Kyle Tucker RF
- Yuli Gurriel 1B
- Jose Siri/Chas McCormick/Jake Meyers CF
- Martin Maldonado C
There really wouldn’t be a significant drop off offensively. You’d still have the American League batting champ batting seventh so the lineup depth is still there. Defensively, the Astros clearly lose something without the platinum glove defender in Correa at short.
Overall though Bryant offensively would mitigate a huge loss should Correa sign elsewhere and his ability to play all over the field defensively could help an aging team that will need more days off as the season drags on.
He may not be Correa, but he is the next best thing on the free agent market.