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LA Angels: Taking a look at the division rival Houston Astros

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Justin Verlander, Houston Astros (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Justin Verlander, Houston Astros (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 16: Alex Bregman #2 of the Houston Astros fields a ball hit by Hunter Renfroe #11 of the Tampa Bay Rays during the sixth inning in Game Six of the American League Championship Series at PETCO Park on October 16, 2020 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 16: Alex Bregman #2 of the Houston Astros fields a ball hit by Hunter Renfroe #11 of the Tampa Bay Rays during the sixth inning in Game Six of the American League Championship Series at PETCO Park on October 16, 2020 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Around the Diamond

Lineup

  1. Jose Altuve, 2B
  2. Kyle Tucker, RF
  3. Alex Bregman, 3B
  4. Yordan Alvarez, DH
  5. Carlos Correa, SS
  6. Yuli Gurriel, 1B
  7. Myles Straw, CF
  8. Chas McCormick, LF
  9. Martin Maldonado, C

Projected Bench

  1. Garrett Stubbs, C
  2. Abraham Toro, INF
  3. Aledmys Diaz, INF/OF
  4. Taylor Jones, INF/OF

Inside Look

The subtraction of 3 stud starting outfielders is going to greatly impact the lineup production in 2021. In 2020, Springer (14), Brantley (5), and Reddick (4) combined for 23 of the team’s 69 home runs, 33% of the teams home run total. With budding superstar Kyle Tucker being the only established player in the current projected opening day outfield, look for the Astros to make one or two moves to reinforce this ginormous question mark as opening day approaches, including the possibility of re-signing Brantley to a one or two year deal.

A healthy Yordan Alvarez will continue to be a force in the middle of the lineup for years to come, including 2021, as the 23 year old has 5 years of team control left on his contract. A dominant infield compiled of Yuli Gurriel, Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and Alex Bregman is still one of the best infields in all of baseball, and will certainly help to minimize the outfield production drop.

With Carlos Correa and Martin Maldonado both in their walk years, rumors of potential trade discussions have been circling, and it is possible that the Astros take a much larger step back than anticipated. For any team, subtracting a bat and outfield presence like George Springer is going to hurt production, but the Astros have the luxury of having multiple stars on their roster that should help to soften the blow.

Player Highlight: Kyle Tucker

2020 Statistics: .268 AVG, .325 OBP, .512 SLG, 9 HR, 42 RBIs, 58 G, 1.6 WAR

2021 Outlook: Kyle Tucker was the 5th overall pick of the Astros in 2015, and was one of the top ranked prospects from draft day until he exceeded his rookie limits in 2019. Tucker took about 150 plate appearances to get comfortable at the major league level, and has been getting better month after month since. With 3 established outfielders leaving Houston this offseason, look for Kyle Tucker to have a true breakout campaign in 2021 and carry the Astros outfield.

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