Astros’ new leadoff hitter is pretty much the opposite of George Springer

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With the Houston Astros in need of a new leadoff hitter after George Springer’s departure to the Toronto Blue Jays in free agency, Myles Straw could be a blast from the past hitting first.

While MLB leadoff hitters have closely resembled the combination of power and speed like George Springer, it’s not like Springer plays for the Houston Astros any more. What Houston is trying to do to fill the void at the leadoff spot is with a blast from the past in a guy like Myles Straw.

Howard Megdal of FiveThirtyEight writes that while Straw offers next to no power, his foot speed and defensive prowess could potentially orchestrate a move to what more traditional leadoff hitters used to play like. If that is the case and Straw is a Houston success story in 2021, it could signify a return to more stolen bases and the brilliant strategy that comes from playing small ball.

Myles Straw faces a tall task of replacing George Springer batting leadoff

Houston, as well as Springer’s new team in the Toronto Blue Jays, is among the best contending teams in the American League outside of the co-favorites in the Chicago White Sox and the New York Yankees. While Toronto hopes Springer can help get the Blue Jays over the top, Houston thinks Straw’s throwback game can be a breath of fresh air on last year’s AL runner-up’s roster.

In the era of the launch angle and defensive shifts, the stolen base has been largely removed from the game of baseball. It has largely marginalized the skill set that Straw possesses. While it may not be overly efficient to swipe a bag because outs are so precious, perhaps we could see an analytics shift into the speed and base running part of the game? Frankly, it is well past time for it.

The Astros, and baseball traditionalists, are hoping Straw succeeds in his new role with the Astros.

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