The Houston Astros are set to face off against the Cleveland Indians next weekend in the ALDS. Here’s why Myles Straw needs to be on that postseason roster.
What. A. Season. After winning the World Series in 2017, the Houston Astros appeared primed for another run. However, most champion teams seem to suffer from a “World Series” hangover so, it wasn’t clear whether or not the Astros would buck the trend or fall victim to it.
However, the Astros, being so young, were able to have basically the same team take the field in 2018 as 2017, minus a few players. Plus, a full season of Justin Verlander and newly acquired Gerrit Cole. This team was just stacked from top to bottom.
Well, the 2018 season appeared to have several ups and downs that indicated that this team was simply not as good as the 2017 version. However, that perception was incorrect. This team overcame injuries to stars George Springer, Jose Altuve, and Carlos Correa to win a franchise record 103 wins.
While last year’s team was still really good, winning 101 games, they really caught fire and hit their stride in September and in the playoffs. This year’s team has done the same so far, sporting the league’s best record in the final month of the season.
Last year, the Houston Astros carried 12 pitchers and 13 batters. Those 13 batters broke down to three catchers, five infielders, and five outfielders. On Saturday, AJ Hinch noted in an in-game interview that he’s planning on carrying 11 pitchers and 14 batters and that it hasn’t all been decided yet.
I’m sure there will be surprising cuts and makes to both the pitchers and batters just as there was last year. Not carrying Collin McHugh and Jake Marisnick, in spite of injuries, was surprising. Especially considering guys like Juan Centeno, Francisco Liriano, and Derek Fisher made the cut.
Centeno could be reasoned through because of the necessity of a third catcher for the “just in case” scenarios. Liriano kind of made sense as a spot guy against lefties even though he wasn’t pitching well. Fisher might’ve been one of the most surprising but in hindsight, he was a much-needed asset.
Fisher attempted one steal in the ALDS and had countless pinch-running opportunities throughout the playoffs last year. He also scored a key run in the World Series that helped the Houston Astros become champions for the first time.
This year, I expect that Astros to make a similar decision to add a speedster to the postseason roster yet with a different player, Myles Straw. Straw is unbelievable fast, even faster than Fisher and thus could have a greater impact than Fisher.
According to Hinch, if he had to field a 4×400 track race, Straw would be his anchor. That’s how fast this kid is. In eight games and only 26 innings played, Straw had two stolen bases. Granted, this is a very small sample size but expanded over a year that’s nearly 42 stolen bases which would have been good for third in the MLB.
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Being able to put Straw on first base instead of a catcher or a guy like Tyler White or Evan Gattis in a key situation would give the Astros a huge advantage. Straw could easily swipe second or score from first on a routine play. Straw is also very good defensively and could utilize his speed, glove, and plus arm in the outfield for an inning or two if need be.
Simply put, imagine the impact that Fisher had last year with his speed. Got it? Okay, now multiply that by whatever number you want, besides zero, and that’s the kind of impact Straw can have this postseason. Will he play a lot? Probably not but that’s okay, he won’t need a lot of time in the field to have an impact.
Having Straw on the roster instead of a guy like Max Stassi or JD Davis would be a huge boon to this Houston Astros team. His speed alone is worth a roster spot. He provides what both Fisher and Cameron Maybin provided last year but better.