Two Lineup Changes the Astros Can Make To Boost Offense
The Astros should put Yordan Alvarez, Kyle Tucker and Jeremy Peña in the four-five-six spot.
The Astros have already started to deploy Alvarez and Tucker back-to-back at the four and five spot, so they’re headed in the right direction, ignoring the somewhat meaningless endeavor of making sure righties and lefties alternate in the lineup.
Tucker and Alvarez have shown they are not bothered by left-handed pitching. This year, Tucker has more disparity in his splits of righty vs. lefty, but in a larger sample size last year, he hit .299 against right-handed pitching with 17 home runs in 365 plate appearances and .287 with 13 home runs against left-handed pitching in 202 plate appearances.
Alvarez, this year, also has a greater disparity between his at-bats of righties vs. lefties, but again in a larger sample size last year, he had a better batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage over lefties than righties.
Plus, since a reliever has to face a minimum of three batters, a lefty that starts the inning against Alvarez and Tucker will still have to face Peña in the six spot. The final part of this move is Peña hitting six and dropping Yuli Gurriel to seventh. As much as Gurriel has contributed in the past, it’s been a rough go for him this year.
He still has plenty of time to turn his season around, but in the meantime while the Astros wait for that, they should put the hitter who makes contact and puts the ball in play in that six spot to offer protection for Alvarez and Tucker.
These lineup changes will help as when you look situationally at how these players hit with runners on base, Bregman and Gurriel are sixth and seventh on the team in batting average, on-base and slugging. You can’t have those being your third and fifth or sixth hitter on the team.
It’s also possible to consider Peña in the lead off spot as he does hit for contact but considering Bregman has a higher on-base percentage than Peña it makes sense to put the guy who may not get the big hit but has a better chance of getting to first as your lead off hitter.
These moves may or may not work, but it’s worth tinkering with as we now have a full third of the season as a sample size and we know the lineup as constructed is not performing up to the Golden Era Astros offensive standards.