Who Will Be Houston Astros’ Centerfielder In 2017?
Who will start in centerfield for the Houston Astros on opening day in 2017?
The Houston Astros will have a different opening day centerfielder in 2017, making him the 25th different opening day starting center fielder since 1981 for the club, including the seventh in as many years.
Carlos Gomez, the Astros' opening day centerfielder a year ago was released last year, before being signed by the Texas Rangers, and is currently a free agent.
It should be pointed out that Derek Bell started in center on opening day in 1996, and then again in 1998, and that Richard Hidalgo started in center on opening day in 1999, and then again in 2001-2002, but they do count as different players in different years, seeing that they each missed a year starting on opening day at the position.
True, centerfield is a very demanding position, but still, what is going to be 25 different starting opening day centerfielders in 37 years is an awful lot.
Steve Finley had four-consecutive starts, from 1991-1995, as did Michael Bourn, from 2008-2011. They were the only guys to have more than three opening day starts in the last 36 years, with Gerald Young and Richard Hidalgo each at three.
Finley, Bourn, and Young are three only players to have more than two-consecutive opening day starts in center.
No wonder, when putting together an all-time Astros team, Cesar Cedeno, who was arguably the best centerfielder in the National League in the 1970's, is as much of a lock as Bagwell and Biggio to be on there.
I think the fun one here is Tony Walker. The Astros won the west in 1986, and Tony Walker....Tony Walker!...was their opening day centerfielder. Injuries were part of the reason for that, but he legitimately made the club out of spring training that year, then just couldn't hit. He lasted until the All-Star break, then never appeared in the majors ever again.
It remains to be seen who will start in centerfield for the Astros in 2017 on opening day.
Will they sign a free agent, make a trade, or stay in-house?
Whoever it is, let's hope he produces, and stays there awhile.
Here are the Astros' opening day center fielders since 1981:
1984 & 1985---Jerry Mumphrey
2000 & 2001---Richard Hidalgo
2003 & 2004---Craig Biggio
2005 & 2006---Willy Taveras