In baseball, there are no crystal balls. Even though executives try to predict the future with generational contracts nowadays, it’s just that – trying to predict the future. But that falls short of reality.
There weren’t too many hints of Yuli Gurriel possibly returning to top form after a rough 2022 season. At almost 39 years old, his 2022 general performance made us think the end was near for the Cuban legend. And after the Astros took a shoot at signing fellow countryman José Abreu to a three-year contract, Yuli’s presence in Houston was not as necessary.
However, Gurriel wasn’t expecting too much by the time he signed with the Miami Marlins. It was a minor league deal, an opportunity the Astros let go because, apparently, there was not enough room for Yuli to get enough playing time.
Gurriel has been an asset for the Marlins so far. He has not played a lot but his bat has forced his way into the lineup in the past few days. He made the Opening Day roster and has appeared in six games, hitting for a solid .381/.409/.571 slash line.
Across 21 at-bats, the former Astros first baseman collects eight hits, with a double and a home run. He registers two runs batted in and three runs scored, along with one walk and only three strikeouts. His OPS is a high .981. Also, Gurriel has recorded at least a hit in each of his six contests.
Taking into account that the Astros haven’t played their best baseball to begin the 2023 season and José Altuve and Michael Brantley are yet to make their debuts (injured), Yuli Gurriel would have been a helpful late-offseason addition to the World Series champs.
Let’s dive right into some painful numbers:
- Jeremy Peña: 11-for-53, .208 BA, 16 SO
- Alex Bregman: 9-for-49, .184 BA, 10 SO
- Martín Maldonado: 5-for-28, .179 BA, 6 SO
- Corey Julks: 8-for-30, .267 BA, 8 SO
- David Hensley: 7-for-30, .233 BA, 12 SO
- Jake Meyers: 3-for-17, .176 BA, 6 SO
- Yainer Díaz: 2-for-13, .154 BA, 5 SO
- César Salazar: 0-for-4, .000 BA, 0 SO
That’s EIGHT of the 13 hitters the Astros are carrying on their roster! Those eight men are combined for 63 strikeouts over 224 at-bats and only 45 hits – that makes it for a poor .201 batting average. Too many men, too little production – that list includes three regulars.
Obviously, the Astros didn’t expect José Altuve to suffer an injury during the World Baseball Classic or couldn’t see coming underperformances from Alex Bregman or Jeremy Peña. But signing Yuli Gurriel at the moment would have probably been a game-changer for Houston.