Despite multiple injuries, the Astros still have a 41-20 record and are nine games up in the AL West. When the team was healthy, they did an excellent job building up a lead to lessen the blow. Typically, teams battling injuries play .500 ball, but the Astros keep winning series. After sweeping the Athletics, they won again last night behind Josh Reddick and four solid innings from Framber Valdez. Robinson Chirinos absolutely crushed a homer as well.
They are doing this without Jose Altuve, George Springer, Aledmys Diaz, and Carlos Correa. You would have thought that the Astros would have panicked and brought up Yordan Alvarez to add a power bat to the lineup missing three stars. However, that is not how Jeff Luhnow rolls. He is very deliberate and patient about things when it could affect money down the road.
Instead of bringing up Alvarez, they brought up some depth options in Jack Mayfield, Myles Straw, and Derek Fisher. We will see who goes once the boys come back to town, but most Astros fans have enjoyed watching Straw’s elite base running skills. Straw is also one of the most added players in Fantasy Baseball after his three stolen base game.
When is the Super 2 cutoff?
No one really knows when it is, but it tends to fall around Jeff Luhnow’s birthday. The Astros think long-term before short-term, which is the only reason Alvarez has not been promoted. Also, will we see Kyle Tucker in 2019? He is hitting well, but the Astros may hold him out to slow down his arbitration clock with the entire outfield becoming free agents after 2020. They will need Tucker to be part of the long-term future, but all the focus right now is on Alvarez.
Fans have been calling for Alvarez’s promotion for a while, but Luhnow has been patiently waiting. Triple-A pitchers are not even giving Alvarez anything to hit anymore. They are intentionally walking him. Opposing AAA pitchers are waiting for him to get promoted like Astros fans. During one at-bat, Alvarez knew he would be walked so he didn’t even bring a bat up to the plate. He just jogged straight to first base.
Jeff Luhnow on Yordan Alvarez: "The reality is, right now, we have Michael Brantley playing left field and (Alvarez) hasn't really shown us he can play first base ... There's no real need or urgency to bring him up, but it's only a matter of time."— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) June 2, 2019
Luhnow is probably getting annoyed by the constant questions about promoting Alvarez. This weekend he made a statement in the above Tweet concerning Alvarez. There is no rush to bring up Alvarez, with Michael Brantley playing left field. Also, Alvarez hasn’t shown them he can play first base. However, he added at the end that it was just a matter of time. How does Friday work for you?
Has the time come?
If you listen to Talking Stros, you probably have heard my co-host Brandon always tell me that Alvarez will be Luhnow’s birthday gift to himself this year. Luhnow’s birthday is Saturday, so expect Alvarez to be promoted on Friday and be in the lineup on Star Wars night. Like they did with Alex Bregman, they will find a place for him to play. Whether it’s first base, left field, or as the designated hitter, they will find a way to get his bat in the lineup.
Don’t think of Alvarez as the everyday designated hitter, but he may get a majority of his starts there. Alvarez is batting .357 with 22 homers and 65 RBI while sporting a 1.213 OPS with 43 strikeouts and 34 walks. That is a good season for a major league hitter. Prospect evaluators are also high on Alvarez, MLB Pipeline had the third-ranked Astros prospect as 44th in the top 100 list.
If the allure of the Max Stassi X-Wing Bobblehead is not enough for you to go to Friday’s game, what if Alvarez is making his debut as well? Maybe Luhnow made that statement to throw off fans and media, aka, a smokescreen. Either way, Talking Stros is staying firm about Friday. Just imagine how deep a healthy lineup with Alvarez will be. We could be wrong, when do you think Alvarez will make his debut?
Just a reminder that Luhnow got Alvarez for Josh Fields. I will have a special Locked On Astros podcast on Friday if Alvarez is called up. If it’s not Friday, his time will come soon.