Today on Twitter, Danielle Lerner of the Houston Chronicle tweeted “Jose Siri says his pinkie feels good and that he can play with the injury.”
The question is SHOULD the Astros allocate a roster slot for Siri or use that roster slot for someone else? Let’s look at this issue from both perspectives. For those that have read my ALDS roster article you already know my answer.
Why the Astros should add Siri
Look at these stats!
Siri has great speed as anyone who has watched a September Jose Siri game knows. The Houston Astros have the fourth fewest steals in the MLB (53 steals). In his short time, Siri has stolen 3 of 4 bases for the Astros and had 24 SB in Sugar Land this year. If the Astros want a PR at any point in the ALDS, Siri would most likely be the number one option. Whether he can bat or not, Siri’s legs may be enough to warrant a spot on the ALDS roster.
Hitting with Power
Siri has continued his excellent hitting with power from Sugar Land in September. He has an OPS of 0.956 in Houston in 49 PA. Siri has been one of the best hitters in September. If he truly CAN bat, he looks to be a weapon.
Why the Astros should not add Siri
Look at these stats!
It’s been 49 PA! Teams have not had time to develop the game plan against Siri. The White Sox will have one.
BABIP and luck
In those 49 PA, Siri has a 0.400 BABIP and in Sugar Land he had a 0.436 BABIP. The MLB average BABIP is 0.292. What does this mean? Without getting too far in the BABIP details, one should expect Siri would lose 0.050 to 0.100 in average and OBP and given his power profile 0.100 to 0.200 in OPS. I wrote about this when we compared Meyers and McCormick early when Meyers’s stats were similarly elevated by a bloated BABIP.
Walks and Strikeouts
Siri must develop more plate discipline. A 2.00% walk rate is unsustainable. Siri’s 34.7% strikeout rate is worse than any qualified batter in the MLB- including Joey Gallo.
In a lot of ways Siri's stats look like Meyers’s stats in his first three weeks which came back to more normal by the end of the season. After three weeks, Astros fans thought Meyers was a guaranteed All-Star. Now the expectations are more realistic. The comp here probably frames what is likely for Siri. As a side note, Meyers was significantly better than Siri in AAA this year.
All of this to say, Siri may be an above average batter if the Astros hope for his bat to help in the ALDS. It is not realistic to expect him to perform as he did in his first 49 PA.
If the Astros only want Siri for his legs, then they must harness that energy. Fans are aware of several extremely questionable running plays by Siri in his short time in the MLB. If his role is a PR, then he needs to be a plus plus PR.
So here is the challenge. Is Siri this year’s Randy Arozarena and his bat will stun even me? Would he even play enough to make that big of a difference? Who would you rather have Siri or Jones? Personally, I would choose Jones. I believe the Astros will choose Siri.
The finger- No IL, No option
One of the things that troubled me the most in the last week was if he truly had a fractured pinky, why weren’t the Astros sending Siri to AAA and bringing up Stubbs or Jones to get them ready. I assumed that broken finger equaled out for the postseason. Why didn’t they just get someone here to give them a chance.
One, the Astros thought/ knew the finger was not debilitating and wanted him available to add to the ALDS roster.
Two, and more importantly I think, the Astros did not want to burn Siri’s one last option for a game or two of Jones or Stubbs. They are likely to want to use that option in 2022. Without the option next year, the Astros would be forced to DFA Siri to send him to the minors. This means another team could claim him.
In summary, the Astros are showing by their ACTIONS that Siri is likely to be on the ALDS roster.
Stats from Fangraphs.com