Question 2: How does Yainer Diaz get in the game?
Yainer Diaz is hitting .284 with 22 home runs, 57 RBI, an .847 OPS and 128 OPS+, and has been worth 3.1 bWAR. Yet he spends most of his time, especially since the return of Michael Brantley, doing exactly what he is doing in the above picture--watching from the bench.
Diaz has been one of the best and most consistent hitters in the Astros lineup. He's never going to catch Valdez or Verlander, but can you justify leaving him on the bench for two entire games of a playoff series? And likely more if the series goes beyond four games? Are we sure José Abreu and his glove throwing, and not to mention -2 DRS, is a better option defensively at 1B if Framber isn't catching? After not having worked with Framber Valdez one single time all year, can he be trusted as a pinch hitter if Valdez is still on the mound?
It's almost a sure thing that Michael Brantley and Yordan Alvarez will platoon left field and designated hitter for Houston in the postseason, as they well should. But if the Astros go home early giving valuable at-bats for two aging veterans that statistically are markedly worse offensively and defensively, there will be plenty of back of the baseball card questions to answer.