The Astros Five Biggest Questions Before the Playoffs

The Astros have some questions to answer heading into October. Let's look at those questions here.
Houston Astros v Kansas City Royals
Houston Astros v Kansas City Royals / Jamie Squire/GettyImages
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Mauricio Dubon
Baltimore Orioles v Houston Astros / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

Question 3: Who plays center field?

That this is even a question is hysterical. Since the return of JV, the return of the "personal center fielder" has come back as well.

Mauricio Dubón was incredibly valuable the first two months of the season when Jose Altuve was out with injury. He's been a great utility player. But he is not an everyday starter in center. Since JV returned, Dubón has made 17 starts in center field after making only one all season before JV.

Why? His "arm?" Even if his arm is slightly stronger than Chas McCormick's, he's a worse center fielder. This is Chas McCormick making a five-star catch last night, in left field no less because of the ridiculousness of the personal center fielder, and this is the route Dubón took on a ball with an identical catch probability that brought home two runs. While last night's play was difficult regardless of the route he took, he cost Verlander a run again last week with an even worse route on this fly ball to center from Seth Brown.

McCormick is worth five outs above average this year and three DRS in center. Dubón is worth two outs above average and has zero five-star catches as opposed to McCormick's two. He's also worth zero defensive runs saved in center.

If McCormick is the better defender, the offensive differences should end the discussion right there.

Player A is hitting .284 with 20 home runs, 19 stolen bases, an .868 OPS and 137 OPS+. Player B is hitting .278 with nine home runs, seven stolen bases, a .720 OPS and a 97 OPS+.

If you've not been living under a rock, you know that not only is McCormick a better defender, but he's also Player A above.

He's been an all-star caliber center fielder all year, but because Dusty Baker doesn't like him, his playing time is erratic.

Last year Baker swallowed his pride and started McCormick in center in the postseason. Will he do the same this year? Or will he let the fact that Dubón is closer to a league average hitter than last season swing his decision.