The Houston Astros have a projected lineup in 2017 that fans can be confident in. This team has a young and talented core. Of all the clubs in the American League West, the Astros look to be the most offensively sound. The division will be tough this season, and the Astros have fielded a lineup that is built to compete.
- Alex Bregman, 3B
At the young age of 22, Alex Bregman was all but guaranteed to be one of the best shortstops in the game. His talent was transitioned to third base, as the Houston Astros already have a solid SS in Carlos Correa. Bregman was drafted right after Dansby Swanson, in 2015. Last year he posted a .264 average, a .313 OBP and slammed 8 homers. All of this was in a span of 49 games and 201 at-bats. I like the idea of having Bregman hit lead-off. He has a solid on-base percentage and is quick. He had two stolen bases in his 49 games and wasn’t caught stealing one time.
- George Springer, OF
George Springer is on most projections as the lead-off hitter. Batting second serves the team better, in my opinion. His overall 2016 OBP was higher than Bregman (.359 vs. .313), but he played over three times the amount of games. Springer is quick and even quicker than Bregman. However, he had nine stolen bases and was caught stealing 10 times in his 162 games. The fact that he was caught so many times is troubling for me. That’s definitely something that gets under control for the coming season.
- Jose Altuve, 2B
When we talk about speed on the Houston Astros lineup, Jose Altuve steals the show. Literally. Altuve had 30 stolen bases in 2016 and was only caught 10 times. This occurred over a 161 game, 640 at-bats, period. He had a .338 average and a .396 OBP. Altuve also managed to rack up 24 home runs and 216 hits. At 26 years old, Altuve is one young, bright star on the team. There is no one I’d rather see batting No. 3 for the Houston Astros.
- Carlos Correa, SS
Carlos Correa is the third best shortstop in the entire game (I’d give No. 1 and No. 2 to Corey Seager and Francisco Lindor, respectively). The kid is a beast. And he’s just that, a kid. Correa is 22 years old and looks to dominate the game of baseball for a very long time. Last season, he had a .274 average and a .361 on-base percentage. Correa strikes out more often than I’d like to see, 139 times in his 577 at-bats. That’s a little over 24% of the time. He should work to draw more walks as well, only getting 75 in the same number of at-bats. That’s just under 13%.
- Carlos Beltran, DH
As the oldest player in this lineup, Beltran still has solid power. He hit 29 home runs in his 151 games. In the same number of games, Beltran had a .295 batting average and a .337 OBP. He’s a reliable option at the DH position and still has potential in 2017 to make an impact there. Look for him to really focus on his swing and contact. At No. 5 in the lineup, he’s not giving pitchers a “free pass” after the top four hitters.
- Brian McCann, C
Brian McCann has an eye for the ball, both behind the plate and standing at it. He is more than a reliable everyday catcher and isn’t terrible swinging the bat. Last season, he had a slightly lower average batting average, at .242. He had an OBP of .335, showing he is still a threat to end up on the bag somewhere. That could be from his 20 home runs and 104 hits, in 130 games. It could also be from his 6/11 BB/K ratio. McCann is productive, that’s for sure.
- Josh Reddick, OF
Struggling to be the consistent hitter he was in 2012, Josh Reddick raises a lot of questions for the Houston Astros. They spent a lot of money on him, and really can’t afford for him not to produce. In his breakout season of 2012, Reddick hit 32 bombs. He has only reached the 20 home run mark once since then. Last year, he only managed 10. That put him 29th out of 33 right-fielders. Despite the struggle to find the long ball regularly, he has been a better than average hitter along the way. In 2016, he had a .281 average. Most certainly nothing to scoff at. He fits towards the end of the lineup as a potential threat, preventing a pitcher from getting any “breaks” throughout the hitting order.
- Yulieski Gurriel, 1B
Yulieski Gurriel has retained his rookie status going into 2017, at the fine age of 32. He finished one at-bat shy of exceeding the MLB limits for a rookie. Do I see a sleeper candidate for Rookie of the Year? No. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The Houston Astros promoted Gurriel from minor league ball last July and found the bigs a little trying. He ended up going 7-for-46 in his last 12 games of the 2016 season. Overall, in a small sample size of 36 games, Gurriel had a .262 average. It wasn’t terrible, but his cold streak at the end of the season causes concerns. Will he be a reliable, everyday hitter and first baseman in 2017?
- Nori Aoki, OF
The Houston Astros claimed Nori Aoki off waivers in November. In 2016, Aoki hit 283/.349/.388 (104 OPS+) over 118 games for the Seattle Mariners. 2017 will be his age 35 season and Aoki will probably not play in many more, if any at all, than the 118 games he did last year. While a decent outfielder, he’s essentially here to fill the void of Colby Rasmus.