The Houston Astros have been dealt a major blow with the news that Michael Brantley will be shut down indefinitely. The veteran outfielder has been a key piece in the Astros lineup over the past two seasons, hitting .309 with a .854 OPS in 2019 and .300 with a .840 OPS in 2020. Now, the team will have to find a way to compensate for his absence.
The Astros are fortunate to have a deep and talented roster, but replacing Brantley’s production will still be a challenge. One option for the team is to turn to their other outfielders, including Kyle Tucker, Myles Straw, and Chas McCormick. Tucker had a breakout season in 2020, hitting .268 with nine home runs and a .837 OPS. Straw is a speedster who stole 13 bases in just 56 games last season, while McCormick is a promising prospect who hit .269 with 18 home runs and 71 RBI across three levels in the minor leagues in 2019.
In addition to their outfield depth, the Astros could also turn to their bench players for help. Utility players Aledmys Diaz and Abraham Toro both have experience in the outfield and could see increased playing time, while veteran infielder Yuli Gurriel could also see time in left field if needed.
Another potential solution for the Astros is to make a trade for an outfielder. While it’s still early in the season and trades are rare this early, the team could explore the trade market if they feel the need to add more depth to their outfield. As defending American League champions, the Astros are certainly in win-now mode, which could lead to them making a move to bolster their roster.
While losing Brantley is a setback for the Astros, the team is still well-positioned to compete in the American League. With a deep and talented roster, the team will be able to compensate for his absence and continue to push for a playoff spot. Of course, Brantley’s health is the top priority, and the team will be monitoring his progress over the coming weeks to determine when he will be able to return to the field.