In light of the latest Beyond the Diamond episode, the question was asked, which Astro will graduate from dude to DUDE in 2023?
The answers on the podcast (spoiler alert) ranged from Hunter Brown (duh), Seth Martinez, David Hensley, and Jeremy Peña (2022 World Series MVP, uhhhh you think?). Brown seems like a slam dunk answer for this question, and Peña can become one of the best shortstops in the game so I can see the reasoning behind that answer.
Hensley is going to get more at-bats early in the year due to the Jose Altuve injury, and Seth Martinez has the potential to be one of the staples in the Astros’ bullpen. The answers were all warranted, but I’ve got two names that I believe will graduate from dude to DUDE in 2023. Bryan Abreu and Yainer Diaz.
We’ll start with this strikeout of Giancarlo Stanton in the ALCS last season. A pressure packed at-bat with a runner in scoring position. The Astros only have a 1-0 lead in the series over the Yankees at this point, so obviously this is a crazy pivotal point in the game and series.
Abreu is facing a giant and someone that can get the ball out in a hurry. That’s no problem at all for the big guy as he dots up one of the biggest bats in the game. Painting corners in one of the biggest spots of his life, and he struck him out nonchalantly.
I believe we might get to a point in the season where starting pitching depth is lessened, and Abreu will have to step into a semi Cristian Javier or Luis Garcia type of role in the last few years. Come in and throw 50+ pitches to get us through the fourth inning to set us up for success. Abreu has the stuff, he has the velocity, and he’s got that dawg in him. Abrue will graduate from dude to DUDE in 2023.
Yainer Diaz will eventually become an every day player in the coming seasons for the Houston Astros. It’s only a matter of time. He can play catcher, first base, and also has a big enough bat to be a designated hitter when Yordan Alvarez or Michael Brantley are in the field or need an off day.
Diaz should be a bat that’s available most days this season off the bench, and can relieve Martín Maldonado or Korey Lee behind the plate a day or two a week. As Astros fans, we’re going to get a better look at him and he’ll have a chance to earn the spot of backup catcher throughout the season.
He’s got pop in the bat, and has versatility in the field. He’s basically an Astros front office dream player. I expect him to be in the lineup whenever someone needs rest, or there’s some injuries later on in the season. With Brantley and Tuve on the shelf to start the season, we might get some big Diaz at-bats earlier than we all expected. Diaz is going to graduate from dude to DUDE this season, you can book it.
The Houston Astros will begin their season Thursday evening against the Chicago White Sox. So the question remains, which Astro do you think will graduate from dude to DUDE this season?