Astros need to consider a lineup overhaul with returns and star struggles

With just a few lineup tweaks, the Astros' offense could level up in 2024.
Milwaukee Brewers v Houston Astros
Milwaukee Brewers v Houston Astros / Tim Warner/GettyImages

Coming into the 2024 season, few expected the Houston Astros' offense to be an issue. In some respects, that has proven to be correct as they are top five in MLB in position player fWAR (9.5) and top 10 in runs scored (230) in 2024. All of those things are great, but a closer look reveals some issues, especially with some expected changes coming down the pipeline.

Kyle Tucker leading the way with 3.4 fWAR shouldn't surprise anyone, as he has been on the heater to end all heaters this month. Jose Altuve being third on the team in fWAR also is to be expected. However, things start going a bit off the rails as Jeremy Peña, Jake Meyers, and Joey Loperfido have all been better at the plate than superstars Yordan Alvarez and Alex Bregman, which is pretty wild when you think about.

At this point, the Astros are on a little bit of a roll and need to maximize their chances to win given the early season hole they dug for themselves. In their case, that may mean changing up their lineup a bit.

Houston could use a lineup shake-up ... but within reason

We are going to ignore the fact that taking away playing time from Joey Loperfido, because Chas McCormick is healthy and Jose Abreu is returning, objectively stinks for now. Starting with the top third of the lineup, that can stay as is with Altuve, Tucker, and Alvarez. There is an argument for batting Tucker at leadoff and moving Altuve to the No. 2 spot to break up the lefties, but that is purely in nitpick land. Alvarez hasn't had the season the Astros expected from him yet, but he is still respected by opposing pitchers and is highly likely to get going again this season.

The cleanup spot is where the Astros may have their biggest issue. If 2024 Alex Bregman was anything like the Bregmans from years past, hitting him fourth would be fine. However, he hasn't been that guy as Bregman has struggled all year long to produce and has just three hits in his last eight games. Too many opportunities are being squandered right now with him hitting at that spot in the lineup with Joey Loperfido probably being the actual best fit, but Jeremy Peña being a surprisingly acceptable substitute since Houston seems hellbent on not playing Loperfido anymore.

As for the Jon Singleton/Jose Abreu spot, there is no way either of those guys should be hitting sixth on this team. Jake Meyers is just strictly better (again, against all odds). Sure, if Abreu comes back and rakes for a couple weeks, move him up the lineup and maybe he becomes the ideal cleanup hitter again if the Astros found a way for him to Space Jam a younger power hitter over the last couple of weeks. Until then, they should be at the literal bottom of the lineup behind Yainer Diaz.

The rest can be fluid based on who is playing and what matchups present themselves. Dubon can swap in and out and hit in that 6-8 range depending on the day and guys can be shifted if there is a particularly tough lefty or righty on the mound. Houston just can't keep doing what they are doing over and over again and assume that the results are going to improve.

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