Chatting with reporters from the Winter Meetings, Astros general manager Dana Brown indicated this evening that the team is planning to give Jake Meyers and Chas McCormick regular outfield run (relayed by Ari Alexander of KPRC 2). Meyers will get the first shot at holding down the center field job, while McCormick is expected to play primarily in left field.
It’s a more notable announcement with regard to Meyers. MLB.com’s Jon Morosi suggested a couple weeks ago that the Astros were discussing the 27-year-old in trade talks. Brown downplayed that possibility, acknowledging that while the club received some calls on Meyers, they have no interest in moving him.
Entering the season with Meyers atop the center field depth chart is a fairly risky play for a team that intends to compete for a division title. The Nebraska product hasn’t provided much offensively over parts of three big league campaigns. He’s a career .235/.296/.379 hitter. Meyers ran a similar .227/.296/.382 batting line in a personal-high 347 plate appearances last season. He hit 10 homers but posted worse than average walk (7.6%) and strikeout (25.8%) rates.
While Meyers hasn’t been much of a factor with the bat, he has played very well on the other side of the ball. Public metrics grade him as a plus defender in center field. In just under 1500 career innings at the outfield’s most demanding position, he has rated 12 to 18 runs better than average by measure of Defensive Runs Saved and Statcast.
The Astros are evidently sufficiently pleased with Meyers’ glove to pass on whatever trade overtures they’ve received. That moves McCormick to left field on most days, although Brown suggested McCormick would still see some work up the middle as needed. While the 28-year-old has yet to tally 500 plate appearances in any MLB season, he has been consistently excellent when plugged into the lineup. McCormick posted a .273/.353/.489 slash with 22 homers over 457 plate appearances a season ago.
Kyle Tucker is entrenched in right field. It seems the Astros are content with a McCormick, Meyers, Tucker outfield alignment on most days, with Yordan Alvarez rotating between left field and designated hitter. Mauricio Dubón is on hand as a utility option who can cover center field off the bench. That aligns with prior comments from Brown, who has consistently suggested he doesn’t view the outfield as a significant offseason priority.