Monday, July 15, 2013

One way to fix the Astros right now

Astros shortstops are hitting .222/.249/.389. The .580 OPS is the 2nd-worst by position (somehow, Astros center fielders have a .577 OPS) on the team, and they - between Marwin Gonzalez and Ronny Cedeno - have 100 total bases in 94 games. Since Marwin Gonzalez got optioned to OKC on June 24, Cedeno has responded by going 3x27 - all singles - with 11K:3BB. In the seven games he has started at shortstop, the Astros are 1-6. And when he hasn't been starting at SS, he's been the DH, which is a slap in the face to Almighty Baseball.

Ronny Cedeno has got to go. The Astros were probably hoping for even a small regression from his career-high .741 OPS in 78 games for the Mets in 2012. What they got instead was a .223/.264/.302 line and a 56 OPS+. The Astros are 13-29 when he starts, which is actually a worse winning percentage than what they've put up through 94 games as a team. I know there are other factors to consider blah blah blah, but look at this:

His -0.6 WAR is the second-worst among shortstops with a minimum of 150 plate appearances, mainly because he's striking out in 26.8% of his plate appearances, the highest among SS with the 150 PA minimum. And he's sucking this much with a .306 BABIP - so it's not like you can even say he's been unlucky. Oh yeah, his -3.6 Fld rating from FanGraphs is the 6th-worst among shortstops. He just sucks.

Solution: For God's sake, bring up Jonathan Villar. He's in the middle of a career-high .788 OPS season, with 31 of his 92 hits going for extra-bases (he has as many triples - 8 - as he has homers.) And this is his first season at Triple-A. Since June 1, he's hit .305/.372/.492 (assisted by a .372 BABIP). He's 22 years old. There is absolutely no reason not to give him a shot. He hasn't played since July 6, so...that might be a reason, because I don't know why he hasn't played in a week. No transactions listed, nothing. So someone find Jonathan Villar before he drifts out to Weiland Island.