He may not be a star, but Chas McCormick has earned his right to be a contributor for the Houston Astros past the deadline and into the postseason.
No matter what happens at the trade deadline, Houston Astros outfielder Chas McCormick has proven that he deserves credit for what he has done this season.
In just over a year, McCormick has developed nicely from a fourth outfielder to a valuable and dependable piece of the Astros’ core. It has become apparent that the Astros need a long-term upgrade in center field, as well as a replacement in left field with Michael Brantley injured. Along with their surplus of starting pitchers, McCormick has been viewed as an expendable piece since he isn’t a mainstay in the outfield like Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker.
However, with the recent report that the Pirates are unlikely to trade Bryan Reynolds, there are now arguably very few options on the trade market that would be marginally better than McCormick. Even if the Astros’ front office feels differently, it will now be virtually impossible to acquire an upgrade at both left and center field, especially with Andrew Benintendi and David Peralta already having been dealt to other teams. That might not be such a bad thing, though.
McCormick went 0 for 2 in the finale of Houston’s 4-game weekend series against the Mariners, but his 2 walks in the game are demonstrative of the fact that he gets things done at the plate, even if it’s not in the prettiest way. For his career, which spans a full season plus a month’s worth of games, he has 24 home runs and a career OPS+ of 107. He also has 15 Statcast outs above average (OAA) and proved that he is proficient at all 3 outfield positions in his rookie year, with at least 3 OAA at every spot.
Out of all the Astros’ current regulars, McCormick’s OPS+ of 108 this season ranks 7th on the team. To have above-average hitters in 7 of the 9 batters in the lineup is nothing short of impressive, and that slight bit of extra length to the lineup will go a long way in the postseason, when runs are usually at a premium. McCormick’s M.O. is that he absolutely crushes fastballs and lefties: case in point, he is slugging just a hair under .700 against heaters in 2022, and against southpaws, his OPS+ is an extraordinary 175.
Depending on how this coming offseason goes, McCormick may not be a solution for the long term in the Astros outfield, but at least for the rest of this year and while Brantley is hurt, he has earned a spot in the lineup. That’s not just for his own benefit, either: as long as he plays left field, the Astros can put Yordan Alvarez at DH far more often and not worry about him getting injured. A former 21st-round pick, McCormick ascended to the big leagues in just 4 years, and he’s no savior but he’s showing why he should be considered as more than an automatic trade piece in exchange for a bigger name.
McCormick has undoubtedly attained more job security than anyone else that has played center field for the Astros ever since the departure of George Springer. If they can still find a way to upgrade in the outfield via trade, it should be a move of extremely significant proportions; otherwise it probably won’t be worth it. He isn’t a gamechanger, but Chas McCormick’s play as of late has justified the steady playing time he has been receiving – and he doesn’t deserve any less.