Oct 28, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros designated hitter David Hensley (17) looks on before game one of the 2022 World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

Astros Player of the Day: David Hensley

Welcome to Gallery Sports’ Houston Astros Spring Training player spotlight, Astros Player of the Day. We will look at a different Astros player each day throughout spring training.

Today’s Astros Player of the Day is utility player David Hensley

Despite performing well in Double-A and winter ball, Hensley wasn’t on many radars heading into spring training last year, but with the Astros lacking position player depth in the minor leagues, Hensley was called up in August after posting an .898 OPS for Triple-A Sugar Land, and he took advantage of his opportunity.

In 16 regular season games, Hensley reached base 15 times in 34 plate appearances while slugging .586. He made the Astros’ 26-man roster for all three postseason series, found a way to reach base ahead of Yordan Alvarez’s walk-off homer in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Mariners, and even started two games during the World Series. With Aledmys Diaz now in Oakland, Hensley appears to be the favorite to serve as his replacement.

Hensley started at least 66 games at all four infield positions in the minor leagues while seeing a little bit of time in the outfield. The ability to play all over the diamond will be vital as the Astros are likely to only carry 13 position players, so the more positions you can play, the more valuable you are.

One dimension Hensley adds to the Astros roster is his speed. He stole 20 bases for Sugar Land in 2022, and his sprint speed averaged 28.4 feet/second, per Baseball Savant, behind only Jeremy Peña, Jake Meyers, and Chas McCormick.

From 2012-2018 Marwin Gonzalez was the Astros’ jack-of-all trades utility man. After he left in free agency for Minnesota, Diaz took over that role. Now with Diaz gone, it’s Hensley who looks poised to take that job. Jose Abreu is 36 years old, while Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, and Jeremy Peña just played a very long season, so having a guy who can play behind them will be crucial to the Astros repeating as World Series champions.

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