New season, new competition. The Houston Astros are looking to fill the center field position, and a pair of players are vying for the chance to be the starter on Opening Day. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at Chas McCormick and Jake Meyers, their strengths and weaknesses, and what their chances are of donning the coveted position.
Coming off a memorable postseason performance that included a game-saving catch at the wall in Philadelphia during Game 5 of the World Series, Chas McCormick arrived at spring camp this year more comfortable with his surroundings. Fellow competitor Jake Meyers, who hadn’t been right since tearing the labrum in his left shoulder crashing into the wall in Chicago during the 2021 ALDS, came to camp as healthy as he’s been in a while, setting the stage for what figures to be a race to the wire.
The Astros haven’t had a steady center fielder since losing George Springer in free agency after the 2020 season, and took Tennessee’s Drew Gilbert with their first-round pick in last year’s MLB draft. Now, with both McCormick and Meyers in the running for the position, Astros manager Dusty Baker declared that a competition would ensue, with both players expected to get plenty of at-bats during Grapefruit League play.
As Opening Day approaches, the only secured outfield spot for the Astros is in right field, where Kyle Tucker is an entrenched All-Star. Veteran left fielder Michael Brantley is still working his way back from shoulder surgery, and if he’s not ready for games in three weeks, both Meyers and McCormick could find their way into the Opening Day lineup, with one in center and one in left.
With McCormick’s postseason heroics, including go-ahead homers in the ALCS against the Yankees in Game 1 and Game 3, and Meyers’ healthy return to the lineup last June, it remains to be seen who will earn the coveted center fielder position. McCormick needs to prove he can perform better against right-handed pitching to earn his starting spot, while Meyers needs to work on his plate discipline.
In the end, it’s anyone’s guess as to who will come out on top. One thing is for sure, though – both McCormick and Meyers will continue to compete and do their best to earn a spot in the Astros’ outfield. Stay tuned to see who emerges victorious in this thrilling race to the wire.