Updated: Aug 29, 2022
Last night I jumped on a Twitter Space to hear the discussion. I discussed McCormick with this group and what Today's lineup SHOULD be. I have NO expectation it WILL be this but here is my suggestion (vs. a LHSP) if one wants to totally maximize run production.
Altuve- 2B - 212 wRC+
Diaz- LF- 123 wRC+
Alvarez- DH - 161 wRC+
Tucker- RF- 97 wRC+
Pena- SS- 124 wRC+
Bregman- 3B- 80 wRC+ (149 wRC+ career)
Mancini or Gurriel- 1B- 105/104 wRC+
Maldonado OR Vazquez- C - 116 /125 wRC+
When you look at that lineup you are baffled that I have McCormick where I do.
Let's discuss this team's refusal to play McCormick as an everyday starter especially vs. LHSP. Chas McCormick has started in the Astros OF 67 of their 112 games (60%) of the time and once at DH. McCormick has started. 24 of 37 games vs. LHSP (65%). I am about to show you why this is ludicrous.
To be "qualified" in the Fangraphs leader this morning one has to have about 88 PA when I filter vs. LHP. IF I change that filter from qualified to 80 PA something VERY few know appears - Chas McCormick's name.
Before I continue I need you to estimate what Chas McCormick's wRC+ vs. LHP is. I did not put it above intentionally. Remember 100 is average. Go ahead guess. I just gave you a huge clue in that I said his name appears on the MLB leader board and you see where I have him hitting in the order.
Whatever you guessed add about 30-50%, because unless you know; you will never guess this high based on the Astros playing time actions.
Even after an epically bad night last night, McCormick's wRC+ vs. LHP is 186. That is SIXTH in all of MLB for players with 80+ PA vs. LHP. Players whose wRC+ is worse than McCormick include guys named Judge, Betts, JD Martinez, Buxton, and Alvarez. His wOBA is the 8th best 0.425.
In short, unless a LHSP pitcher is a dominant curveball pitcher (>50% curveballs), there is absolutely NO reason to sit Chas McCormick vs. LHSP. EVER.
So why do the Astros ONLY start McCormick 65% of the time vs. LHSP? I have two reasons
McCormick's xwOBA is a little more normal at 0.378 (about 40th in all of MLB and would typically translate to about ~145 wRC+). Even at these lower expected numbers that would still be THIRD of the Astros hitters so this excuse is invalid.
Dusty refuses to play McCormick and his reasoning is unclear and illogical. This is not just my opinion. On Aug 9, Chandler Rome had this Tweet exchange.
As shown above THE most powerful lineup vs. LHP does have Chas in CF. Even is the Astros played McCormick in LF and sat Diaz, It needs to be done.
So here you have it. The ONLY rational thing to do vs. LHSP is to start the sixth best vs. LHSP batter Chas. McCormick and the Astros manager is not rational per their beat reporter.
8/29/22 Note. Defensive Note
OF DRS 1 UZR/150 1.7, OAA 4
CF DRS 2 UZR/150 22.9, OAA 5
OF DRS -1 UZR/150 3.9, OAA 0
CF DRS -1 UZR/150 1.9. OAA 0
Why is Dubon better defensively again?
We discussed this on Houston Sports Talk Podcast with Robert Land
You reach whatever conclusions you want.
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