On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Dodgers shockingly designated Matt Beaty for assignment, as the utility man got the short-end of the stick on the club’s 40-man roster. The Houston Astros, a team with a full 40-man roster, should at least weigh the option of claiming Beaty.
The pool of free agents left won’t replace production lost in Carlos Correa, while in-season needs can be addressed at the trade deadline or even beforehand. Beaty isn’t a player that will replace a 7-WAR All-Star, he is reliable depth from the left-side of the plate.
The Astros currently have two bats off the bench that can hit lefty — Jason Castro and Niko Goodrum. Castro, the only backup catcher on the 40-man, is not going to be burned in a game so fast to bench Martin Maldonado, and the switch-hitting Goodrum is in-line to backup infield positions.
With rosters expanding to 28 in April, the bullpen might pick up an extra arm and the bench would likely pick up another bat like Taylor Jones. But if the Astros are looking for a lefty bat and versatile player, Beaty could be claimed in the coming days.
If the Astros are looking for another lefty bat off the bench, Matt Beaty is that guy.
While playing first base and the corner outfield positions, Beaty slashed .270/.363/.402 — above the league average — in 120 games. With 44 strikeouts to 20 walks last season, the lefty had his best BB% of his career, according to Baseball Savant.
Beaty is an above average runner, and in the field, he had 1 DRS at first base, but a negative DRS in the outfield. The versatility is there, and with left fielders playing better at Minute Maid Park, Beaty offers a cushion of multiple gloves if claimed.
Beaty has more major-league time to his name compared to Jones, while also hitting opposite of the plate as him. This detail adds to a late-game replacement option, if Beaty takes over at first base for Yuli Gurriel to help avoid matchups.
The postseason experience is there too, but what could be standing out about Beaty is his drop in advanced-metric value over a longer season.
According to Baseball Savant, the lefty played in his largest sample size of games in 2021, slashing to lower percentiles compared to a similar sample size of plate appearances in 2019. Although a small drop, Beaty barreled the ball less and saw a decrease in average exit velocity.
While on his final year with minor-league options, Beaty won’t be a free agent until 2026. The 28-year-old is worth a look, but if claimed, it would require a corresponding move by either DFA of a reliever, trade or moving a player to the 60-day injured list.