The Ultimate Houston Astros ALCS Matchup Guide

Updated: Oct 21

Haven't We Been Here Before?


Here is EVERYTHING you need to know and to get ready for the ALCS for the Houston Astros vs. the New York Yankees.


This article has a mountain of data. I am going to produce a YouTube video on the LarryTheGM YouTube channel for you to understand everything that is here for you at 1PM 10/19/22. Here is that video.


Folks, while here check out all of the MLB Postseason content here on LarryTheGM.com


Team Status/ Bullpen Availability - I am not going to update this section here

(Check the daily update of this section HERE)


Let's first talk about how these two teams enter the series.

The Astros clinched on 10/15/22 after a grueling ALDS game 3 with Seattle. They are well rested and possibly too rested for some of the players.


Here is the recent pitch usage for the Astros staff. Everyone is ready and the only real mystery for the pitching may be will the Astros add Will Smith or maybe add Seth Martinez as their 13th pitcher.

The Yankees on the other hand finished their ALDS just yesterday due to rain delays. They have played four of the last five nights. Most of the top RP have appeared in at least three of those four games and Peralta appeared in four. Cole is not likely available until game 3 and Cortes is likely not available until game 4. Here is the Yankees recent pitch usage. Players in orange would be caution to use and red means probably will not be used.


Oddly, the Yankees used only 9 of their 12 ALCS pitchers. As stated, the core of the bullpen was worked HARD and it appears they do not trust some in game situations.


I do not believe the Yankees will add Chapman to the ALCS roster but their options are limited. I assumed they add Albert Abreu.


I also created a staff status checker which essentially projects when players are good to pitch. I do not have the cumulative effect of repeated work fully built into this yet but you should get the idea.



Don't worry too much about the numbers. Green indicates recovered. Red is not available. Then there are color shades in between. Players in the black box are scheduled to start.


For Game 2 the Yanks are using this lineup. Some interesting choices here.




Here are what I project the starting matchups will be fore the rest of the series.

You will notice in the schedule of the ALCS- five games (ALCS3- ALCS7) are planned to be played in a row. Due to this it is likely both teams will need a new starter or at least someone they will open with in one of those five games. This is where the Astros have a big advantage.


I believe if the series goes to a game 7, Cole will be brought back on short rest to start that game.


Let's look at some summaries about these two teams before we dive into the matchup model results.


Overview/ Summary


The season heatmap.


The Yankees delivered the third most WAR in the MLB. From a WAR delivery standpoint the team has few weaknesses.

  • Second WAR in Batting

  • Seventh WAR in Pitching

  • Tenth in SP- hurt by injuries

  • Fifth in RP

Yankees Pitching

Here is an overview of the Yankees ALCS pitching staff.

The Yankees pitching staff is very good. The team has been hit hard by injuries and that really limited some key players and has shelved others for the season.


The RP does have some of the issue the Astros RP had in 2021 where key pitchers have significant platoon splits.

- Trivino is terrible vs. LHH

- Schmidt is hittable for LHH

- Luetge is hittable for LHH

- Peralta is far better vs. LHH than RHH

- Castro is hittable (zero IP in ALDS)

- If they add Abreu, he is hittable for RHH


Overall, the Yankees pitching looks better than I expected.


Yankees Batting

I also added DJ LeMahieu as an option here. I am not clear whether he could be available on the ALCS or not yet. (I will research or count on you all to tell me.)

This lineup looks very top heavy and EXTREMELY dependent on Judge. Carpenter had been on the 60-day IL before the ALDS and only had 2 PA in the ALDS. If we compared the starters in OPS rankings it looks like this.


The names in the Yankees lineup are scarier than their performance this year. Anthony Rizzo has the second highest OPS/ wRC+ of players that are likely to play a lot and the Astros have four players almost as good or better.


The Astros are better but not by a ton. For reference here are the same tables for the Astros batting and pitching.







Summary Table


The Astros appear to be a better team but how do these two matchup when we consider pitch mix and relative skill per pitch type.


The Matchup Guide


As a reminder to complete the matchup guide we pull the xwOBA data for the pitchers and batters BY PITCH TYPE and platoon. You can read more about this methodology in the ALDS article.


Here is the table for the Astros Pitchers. (Updated with ALCS Roster)

I try to filter out data to where the sample size is too small, but I readily admit that is a challenge in this analysis.

Here is the data table for the Astros batters. (Updated with actual ALCS Roster)

If the numbers are too much just focus on the colors. Red is good; Blue is not good.


Here is the Yankees Pitching table (Updated with actual ALCS Roster)


Here is the Yankees batting table



The magic of this process occurs when you matchup the hitting and the pitching data against each other. For example this is Verlander vs. the Yankees.

The model results data are the red font cells on the lower right.


You take that data for each pitcher vs. the opposing batters and you have the matchup grid.


Here is the Astros pitching to the Yankees hitters.(Updated with actual ALCS Roster)

Here is the grid for when the Astros are batting. (Updated with actual ALCS Roster)



The cells in yellow are where the data set is not sufficient to document. With these grids you can see who is favored and to what degree.


Both teams are very dependent on their superstars- Alvarez and Judge- for run production. It might come down to which of those two has the better series. Kyle Tucker also projects to have a very productive series.

To show the overall projected performance of each batter in the series, focus on the three columns to the right.


Yankee

Astros

Putting the two sets of batters together with the MATCHUP projections


The comparison of the two batting rosters illustrates two things

- the overall batting advantage the Astros should have. This also reflects on the great Astros pitching's ability to shut down the Yankees

- how tight scoring will be with a lot of blue for both team's hitters

- as we discussed in the Article about Yuli's GREAT ALDS performance, I think Yuli can outperform these projections in Games 1 and 3 and maybe 2. If rested, say in game 5, We might get the good Yuli for six of the seven games. Rest seems to be really important for Yuli.


Both teams are likely to carry 13 position players for this series which means I have taken off Meyers and left off Matijevic from the Astros ALCS roster. I think Hensley has proven to be more valuable


We can do the same comparison with the pitching data


From this table you can see who projects to pitch well in the series and who projects to struggle. Overall the pitching projects to be closer than I think it really is.


Will Smith has very few favorable matchups and I would not be stunned to see the Astros add Seth Martinez instead. (He was)


Javier projects to be a beast!


Final Thoughts

  • The Astros should take advantage of an exhausted Yankees team early in this series.

  • This series is pretty tight but the Astros pitching projects to shutdown the Yankees.

  • I think the Astros win in 6.


I wanted to get this out and do the YouTube video at 1PM. I will add more content as time allows.


Tell me what you think. Subscribers, PLEASE leave your comments or questions here or in the chat.


The statistics referenced here come from baseballsavant.com and Fangraphs.com.


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