The Astros have clinched the AL West for the fifth straight full season. (Yes 2020 doesn't count.)
Now that we KNOW they are in, who should be on the Astros postseason roster? This article will focus on the batting lineup. Remember we said in the pitching article that the Astros would carry 12 pitchers for the ALDS and 13 pitchers for any potential series beyond that. We therefore need 14 batters for the ALDS.
We are going to consider several things and use our heat maps to guide our decisions.
- Who is Hot?- Looking at performances since 8/1 and since 9/1. This will give us an idea of who has been hot lately.
- Platoon Splits- Proposed lineup vs. RHSP and a lineup vs. LHSP.
- The possible starting pitcher matchups and who that would indicate should start
The data here can get overwhelming so I am going to break it up by covering the first topic here- "Who is Hot and Who is Not?"
Who is Hot?- Looking at performances since 8/1 and since 9/1.
We are going to reference this data as we go through the lineups.
Who's Hot - Altuve, Alvarez, and Tucker are all on fire and ready to go for a great postseason. Let's hope all three stay hot. Bregman was so hot in August that he was player of the month but has steadied in September to his good hitting self. Hensley has performed in a far too small sample size when he has been given a chance.
As we have discussed previously Jeremy Pena has had an up and down season.
- 4/7 - 6/13 before injury (Left thumb) - 129 wRC+
- 6/28 - 7/27 after no rehab moved to #2 generally - 97 wRC+
- 7/28- 8/27 (Dusty decided to put Gurriel #2) - 31 wRC+
- since 8/28/22 when moved back to #2 - 98 wRC+
Pena's issues have been injury related and then NOT being used in the spot he was delivering MLB average performance AS A ROOKIE. Keeping Pena batting in the #2 hole is the best way to lengthen this lineup.
Vazquez has struggled badly in September. Surely the learning of the pitching staff and the Astros way of calling games has had an effect.
August wRC+ 112
September wRC+ -2 (YES negative 2)
So why was August good and September horrible?
First, I will say as shown his xwOBA stats are not near as bad as the wOBA and the wRC+. (September wOBA 0.162 and xwOBA 0.257).
His launch angle is down to 7 in 09/22. From 2018-2021, his launch angle was 13 degrees. He needs more lift.
The biggest issue is luck as reflected by BABIP
Career BABIP 0.303
August BABIP 0.400
September BABIP 0.189
8/1 to current BABIP 0.299
That's good luck followed by bad luck.
I wrote in more detail about the potential effect of playing time on Vazquez here.
I would be glad to hear your ideas here too.
Gurriel has a wRC+ of 58 since 8/1 and 54 since 9/1. The 38-year old is done and no one is admitting to that yet. More on Gurriel vs. RHPs later in the part two of this series.
Maldonado had a great stretch in the middle of this season. That stretch has been bookended by HORRIBLE stretches of almost equal length
From 4/7 to 6/8 - 27 wRC+
From 6/10 to 8/11- 125 wRC+
From 8/13 to 9/28- 44 wRC+
Who is the real Maldonado? We will show later that versus RHP it is definitely the bad Maldonado.
July wRC+ 55
August wRC+ 27
September wRC+ 48
Dubon has been poor offensively almost the entire time as an Astro. His playing time is NOT justified as his OF defense is below average too.
I believe Meyers was added to the roster on 9/29 because the AAA season was over and to see if his good AAA performance could be repeated back with the Astros. If Meyers has a few good games, I suspect that Dubon will NOT be on the ALDS roster.
Mancini has had a fairly subpar September too. His 85 wRC+ is partly due to luck too
Career BABIP 0.313
August BABIP 0.213
September BABIP 0.196
8/1 to current BABIP 0.204
I know people get frustrated when I tell you slumps are luck for some players and it's not for others. You just have to trust that part of it for me is a natural skills regression due to age for the ones I don't call unlucky.
The others one might want to label as hot or not are not either or their sample size is simply too small.
Let me know what you think. Do you have any other ideas of what is causing the cold player's issues?
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