Astros Announce Intriguing Starting Lineup for Opening Day

World Series - Philadelphia Phillies v Houston Astros - Game Six
World Series - Philadelphia Phillies v Houston Astros - Game Six / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

The Astros announced their Opening Day lineup and it immediately received plenty of attention. From surprises in the order to glaring omissions, let’s break it down.

Jeremy Peña will bat leadoff with Jose Altuve unavailable, which was mostly to be expected. Peña led off eight times last season and struggled mightily, batting .129 with a .432 OPS. This did come before his key swing adjustment later in the season, so it’s likely Peña will be more successful this season. His combination of power and speed at the top of the order is as close as one can get to replacing Altuve.

Alex Bregman will bat second, which is the right call in my eyes. Bregman has the perfect swing profile for a two-hitter, and even with Altuve and Brantley back, Breggy should remain in the two-hole to work counts and balance the free swinging approach of Altuve.

Yordan Alvarez will bat third and play left, followed by José Abreu batting cleanup in his Astros debut. Kyle Tucker bats fifth. Any combination of these three works, though Tucker should be higher. Dusty tried to avoid going to back-to-back lefties, but Tucker is too good to not get the quantity of at-bats the top third of the lineup get. Once Altuve is back, no way should he bat sixth. I’d have gone Tucker third, Alvarez fourth and Abreu fifth.

Yainer Diaz gets the start at designated hitter and will bat sixth. His bat and defensive versatility earned him his place on the Opening Day roster.

That a center fielder is batting seventh isn’t a surprise, but maybe the one playing the position is. Jake Meyers gets the start over Chas McCormick. Meyers was great in his 2021 debut, but dreadful in 2022. He did look great in the spring, but Chas proved himself as an above average big league hitter last year and a great defender. He was the starting center fielder for the World Champs. After the catch he made to save the World Series, he deserved the Opening Day nod.

Don’t expect much offense out of the eighth and ninth spots. Mauricio DuBon will bat eighth and play second. That he plays second behind ground baller Framber Valdez isn’t a surprise, but one would hope Hensley gets the lion’s share of starts until Altuve is back. Martín Maldonado rounds out the lineup and bats ninth.

What would you have changed? Who would you like to see in or out of the lineup?

First pitch is scheduled for 7:08 pm EDT/6:08 CDT.