Batting fourth in the dream 2024 Astros lineup, Shohei Ohtani at DH
Now we are talking. In a vacuum, Shohei Ohtani should be batting higher in basically any lineup. Shohei is a unicorn of a baseball player who would not only provide a huge boost to this Houston lineup that was weirdly inconsistent in 2023, but also should give the Astros' rotation a jolt once he is able to throw off the mound again.
The problem with Ohtani, of course, is his injury clouds his 2024 outlook a good bit. He had another surgical procedure on his elbow that ended his 2023 season. The word currently is that he plans on pitching in 2025 and should be ready to go at the plate from Opening Day 2024. We are willing to play Yordan in left to fit him in the lineup at DH here, but batting him higher than fourth when it isn't known what he will look like at the plate upon his return seems unwise.
Is there any chance that Ohtani could end up in Houston? Never say never, but the chances are close to zero here. Not only are some of the most deep-pocketed teams pursuing him this offseason, but the guy is probably going to get a deal that is going to guarantee him close to half a billion dollars. That isn't the Astros style whatsoever, but it is fun to think about what it would look like if it actually happened.