In my mind George Springer is the most important part of the Astros's return to the playoffs. It will be huge if he can live up to his potential and turn into a middle of the order bat that can play center field. That last part is the real key. If he can play a good center field and be a 30 home run player he will give the Astros an incredible amount of freedom with the rest of the lineup. They will be able to think outside the box at several other positions if they can get that kind of production from a center fielder.
If Springer can play center field while hitting like a right or left fielder Austin Wates becomes a viable corner oufielder when normally his offensive skill set would require him to play center. I have hope that Wates can be a Brett Gardner lite. If Springer can be a middle of the order hitter while playing center, a guy like Austin Wates would be free to be a .300/.350/.400 hitter whose range makes him an above average fielder in left. But maybe we have JD Martinez to play left and someone like Domingo Santana to hold down right, both supplying good power production along with Springer. That would allow the Astros to carry a glove first player at another position. I am thinking third base here. Traditional thinking says that a thirdbaseman has to have power...even though bonifide power hitters at third are hard to find. If Springer can supply good power in center suddenly a line up with Singleton, Altuve, Lowrie, Martinez and Martinez/Santana allows for a lot of flexibility at third. Guys like Jimmy Paredes and Meyer don't look so out of place on the hot corner any more.
Paredes seems to bring batting average, speed and a little power to the table. He doesn't walk much which will lead others to say his batting average is "empty." But his "empty" average will be enough with his speed and his modest power...if he can play the position competently and if Springer can anchor the lineup while playing center. The same can be said of Meyer. If Springer can hold down center and hit like we hope he can , Meyer's defense and limited bat become enough to contribute to a good team. However, if Springer fails to stick in center it will become more important to find a more idealized third baseman that can supply middle of the order power. It looks less and less likely that we can find such a third baseman preexisting in out system.
So here's hoping that guys at premium positions turn into good hitters. I'm talking about you, Springer, Castro, Lowrie, Villar, and Meir...You guys can give us so much freedom by filling the hardest to fill hole, and Springer, you have the highest upside.