Houston Astros: Options to fill out a currently barren outfield

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 16: Michael Brantley #23 celebrates with teammate Jose Altuve #27 of the Houston Astros after scoring a run on a Kyle Tucker #30 sacrifice fly during the seventh inning against Shane McClanahan #62 of the Tampa Bay Rays in Game Six of the American League Championship Series at PETCO Park on October 16, 2020 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 16: Michael Brantley #23 celebrates with teammate Jose Altuve #27 of the Houston Astros after scoring a run on a Kyle Tucker #30 sacrifice fly during the seventh inning against Shane McClanahan #62 of the Tampa Bay Rays in Game Six of the American League Championship Series at PETCO Park on October 16, 2020 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Jackie Bradley Jr
(Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /

Jackie Bradley Jr is the top center field option available in free agency and a perfect fit for the Houston Astros.

That still leaves one more outfield spot to fill for the Houston Astros, center field. They won’t be able to replace George Springer’s offensive production, but they can fill the void in center field with a strong defensive option, something the Astros should invest in if the plan is to bring back Michael Brantley and play him in left field on a full-time basis.

The top option available is without a doubt former Boston Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. The two seem like a match made in heaven.

Bradley put together an impressive offensive campaign in 2020, but there might have been a bit of luck involved.

In 55 games, Bradley slashed .283/.364/.450 with 18 extra-base hits, a near 11% walk rate, and a 119 wRC+. The slash line and wRC+ were well-above his career average, possibly due to his .343 BABIP. But Bradley can still be depended on to hit double-digit home runs and be a league-average hitter.

Luckily, teams like the Houston Astros aren’t signing Jackie Bradley for his offense. If he’s a league-average bat, as he normally is, that’s fine and anything else at the plate is a bonus.

His real value comes from his glove. Bradley recorded 7 Outs Above Average in a shortened 2020 season and has accumulated 39 Outs Above Average in total out in center field from 2016-2018.

According to Baseball Savant, Bradley ranks in the 99th percentile in Outs Above Average, 62nd percentile in sprint speed, and 78th in outfield jump. He’s handled the expansive outfield of Fenway Park very well throughout his career and should be able to do the same in Houston with ease.

Forrest Whitley needs an opportunity. dark. Next

The Houston Astros will have to find another way to make up for the lost offense, but re-signing Michael Brantley and bringing in Jackie Bradley Jr.to patrol center field  and slot next to Kyle Tucker in right field is a solid fix to a pressing problem.