A look at the Astros' left field options without Michael Brantley

Here's how the Astros could look to fill left field after Michael Brantley was declared out for the season on Friday
Photo credit Erik Williams/USA Today

HOUSTON (SportsRadio 610)- Since being acquired from the Baltimore Orioles the day before the trade deadline, Trey Mancini works out in the outfield with Gary Pettis before almost every game, and with Michael Brantley officially ruled out for the remainder of the season after undergoing shoulder surgery on Wednesday, Astros general manager James Click says Mancini is an option to replace him.

“That's part of the reason that we acquired Trey was that we felt like he could go out there in the corner outfield and help us out,” Click said Friday. “I'm optimistic that that's something that we will be able to see over the next couple of months."

Mancini started 187 games in left field as a member of the Orioles, but only three in 2022 after the team moved the fences at Camden Yards back. The Crawford Boxes provide less ground to cover, but the Astros haven’t been willing to stick Mancini out there through his first six home games with the team.

"Gary Pettis has been working with him out there quite a bit and has been really impressed with his work out there, has seen him not only do the work with Gary, but during batting practice, even when Gary's not watching," Click said. "Trey will be out there working on the nuances of playing left field here in Minute Maid Park."

The Astros have played five men in left field since Brantley landed on the IL June 27.

Chas McCormick has started 17-of-42 games, Aledmys Diaz has made 16 starts, Yordan Alvarez eight, while Mauricio Dubon has been the Astros starting left fielder twice. Astros manager Dusty Baker started Jose Siri once, but he was traded to Tampa Bay as part of the Mancini trade. Click said the Astros will likely stick with a platoon for the time being.

"One of the things we prioritized at the trade deadline was adding some depth pieces to give us different options based on who's pitching for us, who's pitching for the other team," Click said. "And so I would imagine for the time being, we're going to explore all the different options on the roster, but in my experience, a lot of times what happens is that someone separates himself. And so that may be what happens for us over the next couple of months."

Alvarez and Brantley had started a large share of the team’s games in left field, but Alvarez’s hand injury and the importance of his bat has led to Baker’s reticence to play him in the outfield the last two months.

According to Baseball Savant’s outs above average metric, McCormick is the strongest defensive option, while Diaz is currently swinging one of the team’s hottest bats. Baker said before Friday’s game he prefers to play Diaz in the field as opposed to slotting him as the team’s designated hitter due to his versatility around the diamond. Click won’t dictate how he wants Baker to handle the position and reinforced the belief he has in the club’s manager.

“We trust Dusty to put the best lineups out there every day over the long haul to make sure that we’re in a position to win a World Series," Click said.