Some times in the world of sports, things do not make sense. The 2015 Astros may be a perfect example of a team that is a true team where the whole is bigger and better than the sum of its individual parts. The Astros’ winning ways and division leading results tend to cloud the fact that through the first half of the season any of these players are under performing vs. their career stats or even what they put up in 2014.
- Jason Castro. Castro is boasting a below average line of .211 BA/ .281 OBP / .648 OPS vs. career numbers of .239/.311/.707. And while his 7 HRs to date are fairly close to his career norms, his 19 RBIs in 61 games is far lagging his 59 RBIs in 162 games career average.
- Chris Carter. The cynic will say he is keeping up his K numbers (113 and leading the majors) in line with his career stats. But his .197/.309/.707 line is below his career norms of .217/.312/.761, while his 15 HRs and 41 RBIs are on pace for just below his career numbers.
- Luis Valbuena. Maybe the best example of a successful under achiever. Yes his .203 BA and .286 OBP are ugly, but his OPS is a decent .725 though trailing his very good .776 in 2014. He has played in basically 1/2 the games he did with Chicago last season and if he doubles his stats in critical categories he will blow away last season with 86 R vs. 68 R, 38 HR vs. 16 HR and 72 RBI vs. 51 RBI.
- Evan Gattis. His line this season of .246/.274/.730 is trailing his career line of .251/.295/.773. On the other hand he was brought in to knock in runs and he is running at just under the 100 RBI pace this season.
- Collin McHugh. His 4.54 ERA/1.299 WHIP and 7.1 K/9 IP are all trailing his career numbers, but more importantly are far trailing his breakout 2014 season and his 2.73 ERA/1.022 WHIP and 9.1 K/9 IP. Due to very good run support he still sports a 9-4 record.
- Scott Feldman. While his WHIP and K/9 IP numbers are in line with his career numbers, his ERA of 4.80 is both above his career ERA (4.49) and also his good 2014 ERA of 3.74. More importantly he and his 6 innings per start are missing a critical portion of the season with a knee injury.
- Chad Qualls. The rock of the 2014 bullpen has been a boulder around this bullpen’s neck as his 5.11 ERA stands out (in a bad way) from the quality the rest of the pen is showing. Surprisingly, his K/9 IP is up to 8.4, which is in line with his prime years, but he is walking batters about 3 times as often as last season and giving up home runs about 50% more often. Maybe he will come back from his pinched nerve with his old form.
Note while Jose Altuve is below his insanely good 2014 season – his numbers this year are as good or better than his career numbers .303/.348/.771 vs. .303/.341/.745. His next home run (#8) will set a new season high for him and he is on pace to knock in about 70 runs, 11 more than the 59 he knocked in last season.
This does not even get into the poor starting pitching by Roberto Hernandez, Asher Wojciechowski and Sam Deduno or the meltdown by Brett Oberholtzer, or the injury after 18 games to Jed Lowrie. Now obviously, there has been overproduction at a number of spots (Dallas Keuchel, Will Harris, Lance McCullers Jr., Carlos Correa, Josh Fields and Colby Rasmus). And there has been some addition by subtraction playing without Matt Dominguez, Paul Clemens, Jerome Williams and Anthony Bass. But there is a lot of room for improvement without changing out a part if the folks listed above do a bit more in the second half of the season.
Questions for you:
- Who do you think will improve from the so-called under achievers in the second half of the season?
- Who do you think may be gone?
- Who may regress in the second half?
- Are you more worried or heartened when you look at what has occurred in the first half of the season?