L.J. Hoes was acquired from the Baltimore Orioles right before the trade deadline in a deal that sent fan favorite Bud Norris away from the Houston Astros. Any time a player is called in from a trade for someone like that, there is more of a spotlight on him to succeed, but Hoes largely lived up to the bill — if not exceeding it.
Having only accumulated four MLB at-bats for the Orioles, Hoes must’ve been overjoyed to come to Houston where he would be playing in right field very frequently. It showed immediately. In his first month with the Astros, Hoes hit .301 with a home run, five RBIs and seven stolen bases. He had found a spot in the everyday lineup of the Astros.
After fading a little bit, Hoes finished strong, hitting .344 in his final 10 games.
It’s impossible to predict where he may fit into the 2014 Astros. Every player has a shot at making the club not just out of Spring Training, but on a daily basis. Hoes now has a tremendous 2013 to add to his resume, so that’s obviously in his favor.
However, the Astros have expressed a need to go get an outfield power bat. So while George Springer will no doubt be in center and Robbie Grossman deservedly in left, that means the free agent they inevitably sign will be filling right field. That leaves Hoes with something to prove, but he will be given every opportunity to do so.
As it stands, it appears that Hoes will find time as a fourth outfielder. That’s not a bad thing though. If 2013 was any hint, even the fifth and sixth (if applicable) outfielders find significant playing time on a team that is still finding its stride.