Tuesday, April 10, 2018

I'm not really worried about the strikeouts

Here are some facts:

1. The 2017 Astros struck out at a 17.3% clip, lowest in the Majors by 1.2%.
2. The 2017 Astros struck out 1087 times, lowest in the Majors by 66 strikeouts.
3. The 2018 Astros are striking out at a 26.4% clip, 2nd-worst in the Majors.*
4. The 2018 Astros have struck out 109 times, 2nd-highest in the Majors.*

*All 2018 stats current going into the April 10 game @ Minnesota.

The 2017 Astros didn't record their 109th strikeout until Game 16.

1. That 26.4% clip is simply not sustainable. The Brewers had the highest K% in the Majors in 2017 at 25.6% - there's no way the Astros will simply lose the ball at a pace 1% higher than the free-est swinging team over the course of the entire season.

2. J.D. Davis has essentially taken over 1B duties in Gurriel's absence. Yulieski Gurriel posted an 8.8% K-rate in 2016 and an 11.0% K-rate in 2017. J.D Davis has struck out nine times in 19 PAs, a 47.4% clip.

3. Because Marwin has also taken reps at 1B, it has opened a spot for Derek Fisher to try and do things. Derek Fisher has struck out twelve times in 26 PAs, a 46.2% K-rate.

4. And because Josh Reddick sat a couple of games early against the Rangers and their gaggle of LHPs, Jake Marisnick has seen some more playing time. He has struck out in 13 of his 28 PAs, a 46.4%.

5. Not even the Chris Carterest of players can maintain striking out in 46% of their Plate Appearances, mainly because they'd be DFA'd or sent back to Fresno if they tried to ride that lightning as long as they could. In other words: Marisnick, Fisher, and Davis aren't going to see that many PAs this season. Fisher has a longer leash, but Kyle Tucker is knocking.

6. Even Marwin has been more K-prone of late. While he struck out in 19.2% of his PAs in 2017, he has ten strikeouts through 44 PAs - a jump of 3.5% from 2017. To be fair, he hasn't struck out in his last 17 PAs, but that's just how Marwin go.

7. The 2017 Astros' K-rate, by month:
April: 19.5%
May: 16.8%
June: 15.9%
July: 17.1%
August: 17.6%
Sept/Oct: 17.4%

This is pretty much the exact same offense as 2017, save for inserting J.D. Davis in for Gurriel so far, and Derek Fisher for Carlos Beltran. To note that the highest K-rate (by calendar month) was April, well, it tells me that this is kind of what they do.

8. It was freaking cold last night in Minnesota - maybe you heard. I would happily hack at the first three pitches if it meant I could go back in the clubhouse and pour hot chocolate on my junk in an effort to warm up.

It's 11 games into the season. Please don't freak out (until further notice).