I have very mixed feelings about the DFA's of Ankiel and Humber. One the one hand, they very clearly were not getting the job done, and it was becoming painfully obvious that they had no future on this team. On the other hand, their absence will make finding fodder for Astros Stats much more difficult. Yes, they were awful, but they were very interestingly awful, and now they are gone. I will have to make due.
I am going to try to be very optimistic with this week's Astros Stats. So, I'm going to mostly stay in the minor leagues.
- Excluding the Mexican Leagues, George Springer is tied with Justin Upton for the home run lead in all of professional baseball with 13. To go along with the home runs, he also has 10 doubles, good for a ..655 slugging percentage and an ISO of .355. According to Fangraphs, anything above .250 is considered "excellent power." To go along with that, he also has 10 stolen bases against only 2 caught stealing. He is proving himself to be the power/speed combo we were hoping for. The major red flag, on the other hand, continues to be the strikeouts. He is currently at a 30.2% rate. Right now he is making enough contact, and walking enough, to keep his batting average over .300 and his OBP near .400. If, however, Springer becomes a Chris Carter type, but with excellent speed and defense in centerfield, will you be satisfied?
- I think its fair to say that, in some order, Cosart, Foltynewicz, McCullers, Wojciechowski and Tropeano rate as the Astros top 5 pitching prospects. Besides having a ton of consonants between them, they are also all putting up remarkable numbers. Here are their respective current ERA's: 2.08, 1.38, 1.65, 1.15, 2.23. Some of this is luck, as each of them as a FIP that ranges from a half a run (Cosart) to over two full runs (Wojciechowski, at least in AAA) higher. However, they are all posting well above average k-rates, with decent walk rates as well. (Woj has struggled in this department so far in AAA, hence the relatively high FIP of 3.33) Some of them, especially McCullers, are quite a bit away from the majors. However, with the state of the Astros major league pitching staff, its nice to see that there are potential reinforcements on their way in the minors.
- Checking in on the major league team, but still with an optimistic eye, requires looking at Altuve. His April was slightly down from last year's April numbers. He ended the month last year with a wRC of 158, by far the best month of his career. However, in May, it dropped to 103 and dropped below 100 for the remainder of the season. So far at least, he has been more consistent with a 121 wRC in April and a 120 in May. I don't think we will ever see Altuve slug .547 again, which produced that high wRC last April, as that is not really his game. However, if he can maintain this level of production all year, particularly if the defensive improvement he has shown continues, he will far exceed the 1.4 fWAR he produced last season, and could be a 4+ win player at the age of 23. That is something this team can build around.
FYI, I stupidly posted this in the middle of the Ryan press conference, and then pulled it back. So if you saw it earlier, you aren't going crazy. Well, you still might be, but that does not provide any evidence for it.