The Astros Ideal Lineup Post Trade Deadline

The Astros remain in second place in the AL West, trailing the Rangers by 3 games. If Houston is going to run down the Rangers, they need to put their best lineup on the field everyday. This is the Astros ideal lineup for the rest of the season.
Houston Astros v New York Yankees
Houston Astros v New York Yankees / Adam Hunger/GettyImages
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Kyle Tucker
Houston Astros v New York Yankees / Adam Hunger/GettyImages

Kyle Tucker, Yainer Diaz and Chas McCormick should bat 4-5-6.

Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker back-to-back? But what on earth will happen if the opposing team brings in a lefty reliever?

Oh, Like Friday night when the Yankees brought in Nick Ramirez to face the two? When Yordan worked a walk and Tucker drove in two runs with a double?

Tucker is hitting .295 with an .880 OPS this year. Against lefties, he's hitting an astounding .343 with a 1.009 OPS. Yordan is hitting .325 with a 1.022 OPS against lefties. By all means opposing teams, please bring in your lefty relievers.

Tucker is an RBI machine and your prototype clean-up hitter.

Here's a fun question: what do the names Aaron Judge, Shohei Ohtani, Corey Seager, Ronald Acuña Jr., Yordan Alvarez, Freddie Freeman, Matt Olson, Mookie Betts, and Sean Murphy have in common?

Answer: they make up nine of the top-10 spots on the Statcast xSLG leaderboard. Care to guess who's the 10th name on that list?

Yainer Diaz. His .567 xSLG is 9th best in baseball. This rookie is surrounded by MVPs, All-Stars, and future Hall-of-Famers. Yet he got one start in the four-game series against New York. Oh and he just so happened to hit fifth and hit a three-run bomb in the first.

He's hitting .276 with an .811 OPS this year. With regular playing time, he's hit .321 with a .955 OPS in the last month. Stop leaving him on the bench. If it isn't Framber Valdez or Justin Verlander on the mound, he's your catcher. Period. "Comfort" is great, but Astros pitchers have a 4.00 ERA when Maldy is behind the plate. That's including 21 starts from an AL front-runner in Framber Valdez.

Beyond him, virtually everybody else on staff, has an ERA north of 4.00 with Maldy behind the plate.

Astros pitchers have a 3.25 ERA when pitching to Yainer. Again, "comfort" and "intangibles" are nice. Wins and results are even better. Plus he's got a 1.014 OPS when catching.

Now, anybody with a pulse and an ability to count and read can see that Diaz is the better catcher. But realistically, no matter what, Maldy will still catch 70% of the innings. It's not ideal, but it's happening. So if Hunter Brown and J.P. France aren't on the hill, he's your first baseman at least twice a week. These starts would come when Yordan is at DH. Jose Abreu's performance at the plate and in the field don't justify everyday playing time. And Yainer continues to carry an OPS well north of 1.000 when he plays the field. Get him in the field. Then start him at DH twice a week.

Will it happen? Very unlikely. One of their best bats will continue to get irregular playing time. But in an ideal lineup, he's their everyday fifth-hitter.

And what more needs to be said about Chas McCormick. He's hitting .275 with an .891 OPS. He's worth four defensive runs saved. He's in the 88th percentile in defensive runs saved. And his 2.9 bWAR is fourth on the team.

Chas is hitting .319 with an 1.105 OPS in the second half. That's incredible production. And it can't continue to sit behind José Abreu's bat in the order.

If the Astros trot out a 1-6 of Altuve, Bregman, Alvarez, Tucker, Diaz and McCormick day in and day out, opposing pitchers have no hope of navigating 1-6.